With Miami Move, Jeff Bezos Proves Zip Codes Do Matter
Three years later, a new Amazon SEC filing reveals how much zip codes can matter, even to Bezos, the third richest person in the world. GeekWire reports: “A new Amazon [SEC] filing, detailing Jeff Bezos’ plan to sell a slice of his stake in the company, sheds fresh light on his move from Seattle to Miami — and his ability to avoid Washington state’s capital gains tax [ironically, earmarked to be funneled into early-childhood education programs and school construction] in the process. The filing reveals that the Amazon founder and executive chairman adopted a trading plan Nov. 8 to sell up to 50 million Amazon shares during a period ending in January 2025. It would be the first time he has sold Amazon stock since 2021. The plan was adopted less than a week after Bezos announced on Instagram, on Nov. 2, that he was leaving his longtime home of Seattle for sunnier skies in Miami. In his Instagram post, Bezos said he wanted to be closer to his parents and Blue Origin space venture in Florida. He did not mention taxes.”
“Given Bezos’ recent move out of Washington — where he founded and built Amazon into a global behemoth — he will also be saving around $600 million in tax expense if he ends up selling the maximum of 50 million shares under the plan, based on the company’s current stock price. That’s around $600 million in what would have otherwise been tax revenue for his former home state, as The Center Square reported Monday. The capital gains tax, passed in 2021, imposes a 7% tax on any gains of more than $250,000 from the sale of stocks and bonds, with some exceptions. It was challenged in court but ultimately ruled constitutional by the state Supreme Court last year. The tax brought in nearly $900 million in its first year of collection. Revenue goes toward early education and childcare programs, as well as school construction projects.”
It’s of course no secret that Bezos is no fan of taxes — he explored founding Amazon on an Indian reservation near San Francisco to avoid taxes, ponied up $100,000 to defeat a proposed WA state income tax aimed at improving WA state public education (joined in the fight by Microsoft and Steve Ballmer), characterized as unconstitutional attempts to make Amazon collect and pay sales taxes, and came under fire by ProPublica for paying no income tax in some years.
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