Billionaire Jeff Yass Games The U.S. Tax System, Funds GOP Bets
Jeff Yass, the founder of Susquehanna International Group (SIG) and a TikTok investor, has avoided paying $1 billion in taxes while mostly avoiding public scrutiny. He's now putting his money towards tax-cutting efforts and supporting election deniers, Justin Elliott, Jesse Eisinger, Paul Kiel, Jeff Ernsthausen and Doris Burke reported for ProPublica.
Photo Insert: Jeff Yass is the founder of Susquehanna International Group (SIG) and a TikTok investor.
In 1985, Yass and his associates outwitted racetrack bookies by betting $160,000 on the exact order of seven horses in three different races. They won $760,000, the biggest payout in American racing history at the time.
However, their large list of bets was rejected in July of the same year. Yass, who was only 27 at the time, then sued for the right to place the bets. The track's lawyer complained to a federal judge that the men were attempting to corner the betting market "through the use of their statistics and numbers."
Four decades later, the company he and his pals built, Susquehanna International Group, is a sprawling multinational conglomerate worth billions of dollars. Yass and his colleagues leveraged their numerical ability to execute rapid-fire computer-driven deals in options and other assets, eventually becoming a massive middleman in the stock and other securities markets.
However, one critical part of his ascension to stratospheric fortune has occurred behind closed doors. Yass has turned his attention away from racetracks and options markets and toward another target: his tax bill. There, too, the rewards have been enormous: at least $1 billion in tax savings in the last six years, according to ProPublica's review of IRS data.
During that time, Yass paid an average federal income tax rate of only 19%, significantly lower than comparable Wall Street traders, who pay 40% of their earnings. Yass has invented trading tactics that decrease his tax burden while pushing the legal envelope.
He has spent over $100 million on Republican electoral campaigns. The funds have gone to causes ranging from anti-tax lobbying and charter schools to campaigns opposing so-called critical race theory and candidates who erroneously claim the 2020 election was stolen and seek to outlaw abortion.