Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez walk the Paddock before final practice before the Formula 1 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 benefit: no government 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 launch his rocket on Blue Origin. The timing also pointed to another reason: taxes.
In 2022, Washington state introduced a new 7% capital gains tax on sales of stocks or bonds worth more than $250,000. Washington state does not levy a personal income tax, so the new tax marks the first time Bezos faces state taxes on his stock sales.
Beginning in 1998, Bezos sold billions of dollars' worth of Amazon stock nearly every year for more than two decades to fund his philanthropy, his space company Blue Origin, and more recently his $500 million megayacht and a growing collection of mansions he purchased with his fiancée. Lauren Sanchez.
In 2022, when the tax took effect, Bezos stopped selling. He did not sell any Amazon shares in 2022 or 2023, and only gave $200 million worth of stock at the end of last year.
After moving to Miami, Bezos made up for lost time. Last week, a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed that Bezos launched a pre-scheduled stock sale plan to unload 50 million shares before January 31, 2025. At today's price, that would total more than $8.7 billion.
Florida has no state income tax or capital gains tax. So, in last week's $2 billion sale, he saved $140 million he would have paid to Washington state. By selling all 50 million shares over the next year, he will save at least $610 million. This is assuming that Amazon shares remain steady. If they continue to rise, the value of his stocks – and his tax savings – will be higher.
In other words, he's overpaying for his 417-foot yacht, Kuro, with just his Florida tax savings.
For his new digs, Bezos has purchased two mansions on Indian Creek for $147 million, and is reportedly looking at three more properties on the island, which also include Tom Brady and Carl Icahn as residents. Brokers in Miami say Bezos is likely to tear down the homes and build a new one, and the total costs for the new property are likely to exceed $200 million.
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