Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez walk in the Paddock prior to final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Miami at Miami International Autodrome on May 06, 2023 in Miami, Florida.
Clive Mason | Formula 1 | Getty Images
Jeff Bezos’ $2 billion stock sale last week came with an added perk: no state taxes.
Last year, Bezos announced on Instagram that he was leaving Seattle after nearly 30 years to move to Miami. He said the move was to be closer to his parents and his rocket launches at Blue Origin. The timing also suggested another reason: taxes.
In 2022 Washington state imposed a new, 7% capital gains tax on sales of stocks or bonds of more than $250,000. Washington state doesn’t have a personal income tax, so the new levy marked the first time Bezos would face state taxes on his stock sales.
Starting in 1998 Bezos sold billions of dollars worth of Amazon shares almost every year for more than two decades to fund his philanthropy, his space company Blue Origin, and more recently his $500 million mega yacht and a growing collection of mansions purchased with his fiancé Lauren Sanchez.
In 2022, when the tax took effect, Bezos stopped selling. He didn’t sell any Amazon stock in 2022 or 2023, gifting only $200 million of shares at the end of last year.
After his move to Miami, Bezos made up for lost time. Last week, a filing with the SEC revealed that Bezos launched a pre-scheduled stock-selling plan to unload 50 million shares before Jan. 31, 2025. At today’s price, that would total more than $8.7 billion.
Florida has no state income tax or a tax on capital gains. So on the $2 billion sale last week, he saved $140 million that he would have paid to Washington state. On the entire sale of 50 million shares over the next year, he will save at least $610 million. And that’s assuming Amazon shares remain flat. If they continue to rise, the value of his shares — and his tax savings — will be even higher.
Put another way, he’s more than paid for his 417-foot yacht, Koru, with just his Florida tax savings.
For his new digs, Bezos purchased two mansions in Indian Creek for $147 million and is reportedly looking at three other properties on the island, which also counts Tom Brady and Carl Icahn as residents. Miami brokers say Bezos is likely to tear down the homes and build a new one, with the total costs of the new estate likely topping $200 million.
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