Jeff Bezos’s recent move from Seattle to Miami is already paying off. When the billionaire sold $2 billion worth of Amazon shares last week, he saved around $140 million in taxes, thanks to Florida’s billionaire-friendly tax code.
In that context, it’s no surprise Bezos, one of the richest men in the world, relocated from Washington state, his home for three decades and where he founded Amazon, last year. While Washington has no state income tax, in 2022 the state imposed a 7% capital gains tax on sales of certain assets including stocks or bonds of more than $250,000 (the tax brought in a reported $890 million last year). Not only does Florida not have state income tax, it doesn’t tax capital gains.
That likely won’t be his only sale this year. According to another filing with Securities and Exchange Commission, Bezos plans to sell 50 million Amazon shares total before Jan. 31, 2025, worth an estimated $8.5 billion (this initial sale was around 12 million shares). If all goes to plan—and assuming Amazon’s stock price stays the same—he will save around $600 million in taxes.
And that’s all short term. Bezos’s move to Florida also will save him significantly because the state doesn’t have an estate tax, says John Pantekidis, managing partner and general counsel at TwinFocus, which manages over $7 billion for ultrahigh-net-worth (UHNW) families. These benefits combined make the sunshine state an increasingly attractive place for high-net-worth and UHNW families to establish residence.
“For someone with that much wealth, just the estate tax savings alone can be $10 billion, never mind the income tax savings, which is ongoing,” Pantekidis says. “Florida is very, very favorable for someone like Jeff Bezos. They make it very cost effective for folks like Jeff to live down there. It’s ideal, it’s nirvana.”
To do so, Bezos will have to establish that Florida really is his new home, Pantekidis says—a potentially difficult maneuver for a man with private planes and yachts who’s frequently pictured in different places around the world. That means spending lots of time there—especially in the next few years, when the spotlight is on him for his stock sales—and doing things like registering to vote. Pantekidis says he tells clients making similar planning decisions to make the move, wait a full year, and then start selling stock, similar to what Bezos did. That looks better when they’re inevitably audited.
“There’s a big bullseye on people like Jeff,” he says.
Bezos buying up properties in Miami
While Bezos still owns many properties in Seattle, he announced in a November Instagram post that he’d be relocating to Miami with his fiancée, Lauren Sanchez. Bezos said the move was part personal and part business: His parents live in Miami, and Blue Origin, his aerospace company, has operations in Cape Canaveral.
“I’ve lived in Seattle longer than I’ve lived anywhere else and have so many amazing memories here,” he wrote. “As exciting as the move is, it’s an emotional decision for me. Seattle, you will always have a piece of my heart.”
The Amazon founder bought two mansions last year in what is known as the “billionaire bunker” of Indian Creek Village, an island near Miami that’s accessible only via a guarded bridge. The ultra-exclusive location is home to only around 40 lots, with owners including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, Carl Ichann, and Tom Brady.
Bezos paid $68 million and $78 million for the two homes, Bloomberg reported, which are next door to each other. Since stepping down from Amazon in 2021, he’s also shelled out a reported $500 million for the world’s largest sailing yacht. He’s worth an estimated $200 billion, according to Bloomberg.
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