A handful of billionaires received stimulus checks during the height of the pandemic: analysis

The nonprofit newsroom ProPublica released records from the IRS that revealed that 18 billionaires, alongside 250 other immensely-wealthy Americans, received federal aid that was set to go out to help middle-class and lower class Americans. 

ProPublica reported that the ultra-wealthy taxpayers who were recipients of the stimulus checks received them because they fell under the government's income bracket for the stimulus checks—as these wealthy Americans reported a much lower taxable income than their gross amounts after writing off money to businesses in order to wipe out their gains. 

Two-hundred seventy taxpayers disclosed a total of $5.7 billion in income altogether as shown on their tax return, however, they were able to deduct such enormous amounts, which in turn, qualified them for stimulus checks alongside everyday Americans, reports ProPublica. 

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Some of the notable, affluent, stimulus-recipients include: Ira Rennerrt—worth $3.7 billlion—George Soros, the famous hedge fund manager and philanthropist worth $8.6 billion, and Timothy Headington, an oil mogul and executive producer of major films such as "Argo" and "World War Z"—reports ProPulica. 

Many of these extremely well-to-do figures are able to write off millions and millions of dollars. ProPublica reports that Headington had $62 million in income in 2018, but he wrote off a total of $342 million—far higher than his initial income—and came in negative $280 million in income. 

ProPublica reports that the amount of stimulus aid that wound up being received by the ultra-wealthy was a small piece of the trillions that went towards the CARES Act—the bill that was passed in 2020 to dole out stimulus checks to Americans in need during the beginning of the pandemic, alongside other financial aid assistance.

However, ProPublica states, that the mere fact that billionaires were capable of qualifying through write-offs indicates that when legislators do rely on tax returns via income to determine aid eligibility the results can be unexpected. 

A George Soros' spokesperson told ProPublica,  “George returned his stimulus check. He certainly didn’t request one!” ProPublica also notes that the Soros-funded Open Society Foundations have made donations to ProPublica. 

The Hill has reached out to Ira Rennet's and Timothy Headington's teams who have not immediately replied.