Bill Gates
Microsoft founder Bill Gates said that mega-rich people like him should be made to pay higher taxes Mike Segar/ Reuters

Microsoft founder Bill Gates said that ultra-wealthy people like him should be made to pay "significantly" higher taxes.

The IT pioneer said: "I need to pay higher taxes. I've paid more taxes, over $10bn, than anyone else, but the government should require the people in my position to pay significantly higher taxes."

Gates, who has a fortune of around $90bn, was in an interview on CNN's Fareed Zakaria on Sunday (18 February).

The billionaire slammed Donald Trump's recent tax reforms passed in December, which cuts corporate and inheritance taxes for the wealthy, but does little for those on moderate or low incomes.

He said: "It was not a progressive tax bill. It was a regressive tax bill.

Gates added: "People who are wealthier tended to get dramatically more benefits than the middle class or those who are poor, and so it runs counter to the general trend you'd like to see, where the safety net is getting stronger and those at the top are paying higher taxes."

Gates is the second richest person in the world, with a fortune of $90.1bn, behind Amazon founder Jeff Bezos who is worth 90.6bn, according to Forbes. The Microsoft man has donated $40bn of his personal wealth to charitable causes, notably fighting diseases such malaria and polio as well as installing clean water wells and standpipes across Africa.

Last November, more than 400 American millionaires and billionaires, including George Soros, Steven Rockefeller and Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, wrote an open letter urging Congress not to cut taxes for the rich.