Regarding social security tax, there would be no reason for him to keep a low salary if your theory was true. You stop paying social security taxes beyond your first $106,800 of income anyway, so it doesn't really matter if he earns more than that.
Regarding medicare tax, it's roughly the same story as the federal income tax. Your taxable income for medicare is just your AGI from your income tax, minus certain deductions and exemptions. You still have to pay medicare tax on stock compensation that you receive in exchange for your labor.
Dividends are paid out to shareholders; it is impossible "take income in the form of dividends." He receives stock (which is taxed at the normal income rate), and then that stock produces dividends depending on the company's performance (which is taxed as income just like for every other shareholder).He takes his income from Berkshire Hathaway in the form of dividends rather than salary, thus avoiding payroll taxes on the bulk of his earnings.
This is a very odd criticism, because it is generally considered a GOOD thing when CEOs take their compensation in the form of stock rather than salary (because it shows they are more invested in the success of the company, and because it shows that they are compensated based on their actual performance). Furthermore, the information Buffett released explicitly contradicts your claims. His taxable income was nearly $63 million, so clearly it includes more than just his $100,000 salary.The average CEO of a Fortune 500 company in the U.S. is $1.09 million. Buffett's? $100,000. Berkshire Hathaway ranks #19 in The Global 500 (largest companies in the world) and its CEO earns $100,000. Talk about playing the system!
At first glance there doesn't appear to be anything unusual in the information he released. Still, I would agree that it was probably not a good idea for him to release it simply because any wealthy person is going to have some stuff that his critics will attack him for. Which is exactly why the Republicans wanted him to release his tax information in the first place; not because they were actually interested in examining the problem with the tax code, but because they wanted to nickel-and-dime his deductions in order to discredit him.Suggested New Buffett Rule:
Actually, the IRS should be on this guy in a New York Minute. The IRS has rules against paying yourself a pittance like this to avoid payroll taxes. I think the code reads something like "usual and customary." I wouldn't be surprised that they begin an investigation....just because they are embarrassed. That $15,000 number on $100,000? Social Security alone would be $6,200. So he's paying [U]income tax[U] of $8,800 on $100,000. I'd say a full audit of his personal return is coming down the road...