Moving to Florida is already saving Amazon founder Jeff Bezos a cool $600 million.
According to a regulatory filing reported by The Center Square, Bezos put in place a trading plan last November that will allow him to sell up to 50 million Amazon shares over a period until the end of January next year.
Bezos moved to Florida last year, ostensibly because he says he wanted to be closer to his family. However, the lack of capital gains tax will save him a small fortune, as the outlet reports:
Unlike Washington, Florida does not have a capital gains tax. In January 2022, Washington enacted the 7% tax on the sale of financial assets despite a legal challenge. Earlier in 2023, the state Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the capital gains tax.
During his residency in the Evergreen State, Bezos was subjected to owing the state $70 million for every $1 billion of Amazon stock he sells.
The Center Square notes that Bezos’s move will come as a financial blow to the state of Washington, which would have significantly benefited from his exorbitant tax liabilities:
Amazon’s stock is currently at approximately $169 per share, meaning Bezos’ 50 million shares could be worth about $8.5 billion in total. In turn, Washington state is going to lose out on approximately $595 million in capital gains tax revenue from the Amazon founder alone.Prior to the capital gains income tax being implemented in 2022, Bezos sold over $8.8 billion worth of Amazon stock in 2021, according to Forbes. That would have raked in $616 million in capital gains tax revenue.
The Center Square previously reported on the tax generating over $889 million in revenue in its first year. The $596 million that Bezos would have owed to Washington if he sold his shares while living in the state are 67% of the tax’s total generated revenue.
Washington State approved its capital gains tax levy back in 2021, although the law has faced considerable legal challenges since then. Nevertheless, courts have repeatedly found it constitutional and the challenges now appear to have been fully exhausted after the Supreme Court confirmed last month it would not hear the case.
Although not an overtly political figure, Bezos’s political positions and donations have traditionally been far more aligned with left-wing causes, particularly with regard to funding climate change initiatives and scholarships for illegal immigrants. Then there is also his ownership of The Washington Post, which despite losing around $100 million a year remains a stalwart of the liberal media and all it represents.
Yet regardless of his political views, it now appears that Bezos is enjoying the benefits of living in Florida, particularly with its strong economy and low tax regime.
However, there may still be hope for Bezos, who has occasionally called out the excesses of the Biden presidency and left-wing Democratic policies. There are also reports that he is seeking to offload The Washington Post, perhaps for financial reasons or maybe even because he no longer appreciates what the paper represents.
Whatever his motivations, given his net worth of circa $200 billion, there can be little doubt that Ron DeSantis and the great state of Florida are very happy to have him.