Mark Zuckerberg did not donate $45 billion to charity. You may have heard that, but that was wrong. Here’s what happened instead: Mr. Zuckerberg created an investment vehicle.
Mr. Zuckerberg didn’t create [US] tax laws and cannot be criticized for minimizing his tax bills. If he had created a foundation, he would have accrued similar tax benefits. But what this means is that he amassed one of the greatest fortunes in the world — and is likely never to pay any taxes on it. Any time a superwealthy plutocrat makes a charitable donation, the public ought to be reminded that this is how our tax system works. The superwealthy buy great public relations and adulation for donations that minimize their taxes.