This article on The Motley Fool claims that Warren Buffett would pay 20% on a $1 billion long-term capital gain. But perhaps they mean Buffett personally rather than Berkshire Hathaway.

This article on Forbes lists a variety of ways to reduce taxes on trading, and I presume a huge company like Berkshire would utilize all those ways and more. Do they?

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    Yes, they mean Buffet personally. Long term capital gains for high-income individuals are taxed at 20%. Companies are taxed at the corporate tax rate. Yes I'm certain BH uses whatever tax-saving measures they can without sacrificing returns.
    – D Stanley
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 13:50
  • Also note that the Forbes article is just a list of things not to do that will increase your taxes, there's very little there on reducing the taxes you actually owe. It's like saying you can "make money" by not buying $6 coffees every day.
    – D Stanley
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 13:52

1 Answer 1


The first article you link clearly refers to Warren Buffet and doesn't, in regard to taxes, refer in any way to Berkshire Hathaway.

The second article you link is titled, "Ways Professional Traders Can Save Big At Tax Time." Berkshire Hathaway is not a firm primarily engaged in trading. It is engaged in investing in companies that it feels offer long-term growth and appreciation. In some cases, their investment is in the entire company; in others, a very large percentage of its total capitalization.

Trading, on the other hand, involves buying stocks, bonds, futures, etc. for near-term resale, ideally at a profit. Stock speculation is a risky and complex occupation because the direction of the markets are generally unpredictable and lack transparency.

As has been mentioned above, we are confident that Berkshire Hathaway use every technique at its disposal to reduce its tax burden. I am confident, as well, that they spend considerable effort and expense to be certain that they are never discovered making errors in their tax returns.

  • Long term gains tax for high net worth individuals is 20%. But what about for Berkshire or Blackstone? Do they even need to worry about long term vs short term for tax purposes? Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 17:46
  • As Berkshire Hathaway are investors (long term) and not traders (short term) relatively little of their income is short-term capital gains. If they have any at all, they are taxed at the corporations ordinary income tax rate.
    – chili555
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 19:53
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    Yes but there's a difference between BRK common stock holders and their gains vs. Berkshire Hathaway the company and its accounting of its investment gains. I know that Berkshire usually has very long holding period. But I wonder how they are taxed. Perhaps I will dig into their SEC filings. Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 1:37
  • @ButtleButkus and maybe you won't!
    – user12515
    Commented Jan 14, 2021 at 21:41
  • @Michael and I didn't. And yet somehow I've still managed to make about 1200% total return in the last 5 years! I am still curious about whether Berkshire would pay capital gains taxes in the same way as regular people do, but I'm not going to spend time on that. Commented Jan 17, 2021 at 2:36

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