NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- George Soros, a self-made billionaire investor who has made calls in the past for higher taxes on wealthy Americans, may soon be getting his wish. According to Bloomberg, years of deferred income could leave him owing $6.7 billion in taxes.
It appears that Soros has put to use a loophole that has allowed him to defer taxes on fees paid by his clients and reinvest them in his fund. Irish regulatory filings reveal that the investor, through his firm Soros Fund Management, has amassed $13.3 billion using this mechanism.
How? In 2008, George W. Bush signed U.S. legislation closing a loophole that allowed hedge fund managers to set up parallel offshore funds as a way to defer taxes. The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimated in 2008 that the new rules would generate roughly $25 billion in revenue, including $8 billion in 2017 -- the deadline for managers to pay accumulated taxes.
Just before all of this took place, Soros incorporated a new company in Ireland called Quantum Endowment Ireland. His Quantum Endowment transferred delayed fees and certain other assets to the new company.
Quantum Endowment Ireland is subject to a 25% corporate tax, in theory; however, its status as an Irish Section 110 company allows it to issue profit participation note and pay out earnings as distributions to note holders. In other words, it hasn't had to pay much.
Bloomberg reports that from October 2008 through the end of 2013, Quantum Ireland paid taxes of $962 on $3,851 of net income. It allocated $7.2 billion of operating income to investors as distributions on profit participation notes, most of which were held by Soros' tax-exempt Open Society foundations. In 2014, Soros shut down Quantum Ireland and moved deferred fees to a new entity in the Cayman Islands.
This revelation is in contrast with Soros' public stance on taxes for the wealthy.
In December 2012, Soros joined a group of more than 20 wealthy individuals, including Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, that issued a joint statement asking Congress to lower the U.S. estate tax's per-person exemption to $2 million from $5.12 million and raise the top rate to more than 45%.
Earlier the same year, Soros told CNN's Fareed Zakaria that he thought he should pay more in taxes. When asked whether he supported President Barack Obama's proposal to increase taxes on the wealthy, he said, "Yes, I very much do so, because it's the big boom, the super-bubble that resulted in a great increase in inequality. Not only do we have the after effect where we have slow growth one way or the other, but if you have better distribution of income, the average American will be better off."
When it comes to building wealth, Soros is about as self-made as it gets. He was born in Budapest and studied in London before moving to New York and heading to Wall Street. Soros started his own hedge fund with about $12 million and has transformed it into the multi-billion-dollar operation it is today.
The billionaire is perhaps best known for "breaking the bank of England," a moniker he earned in 1992 after netting over one billion dollars on the devaluation of the British pound. He is currently ranked 29th on the Forbes billionaire list and with an estimated net worth of $24.2 billion.
Soros stopped managing clients' money in 2011, however, Soros Fund Management is still alive and well. According to data from iBillionaire, the fund's public equity portfolio posted a 9.45% gain in 2014 alone. As of its latest regulatory holdings disclosure, Soros Fund Management's top holdings are Alibaba (BABA) - Get Report, YPF (YPF) - Get Report and Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA) - Get Report. Its portfolio has an average market cap of $31 billion and 1.1% yield.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.