No ‘carry’ for Warren Buffett

Aug 16, 2011

Does Warren Buffett benefit from the tax break he decried?

Warren Buffett got lots of attention yesterday by calling for the federal government to “stop coddling the super-rich” on taxes. Among those being treated with kid-gloves, he argued, are hedge fund and private equity fund managers who pay ordinary income tax rates on portfolio profits (i.e., carried interest):

Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate.

Buffett clearly was asking for himself to be taxed more, but was he including himself among those who collect carried interest? Or was “some of us” just a reference to mega-rich folk?

A colleague checked into it, and found that Buffett does not currently have any carried interests. He once did via Buffett Partnership, which was shut down once Buffett began to run Berkshire Hathaway as an investment vehicle. So consider this a call from the outside, rather than from an insider...

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