Sunday, 3 March 2024

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Jeff Bezos’s Amazon 50m share sale gets $600m saving after move from Seattle to Miami

Jeff Bezos's Amazon 50m share sale gets $600m saving after move from Seattle to Miami

It seems Jeff Bezos is reaping more benefits than being closer to family by moving from Seattle to Miami—it could save him $600 million or more this year alone.

Last year the founder of online giant Amazon announced he was moving from his longtime home of Seattle back to Miami, where his parents live and where a base for his rocket company, Blue Origin, is also stationed.

But the move also comes with a lucrative silver lining: no state taxes.

In 2022, Washington state announced it would be introducing a 7% capital gains tax on sales of stocks or bonds of more than $250,000—a step-change for the state which doesn’t have any personal income tax.

For years Bezos had enjoyed selling some of his Amazon shares to fund various philanthropic efforts, new business ventures or to make large personal purchases. But when the new tax levy came into play two years ago, Bezos paused his habit of selling Amazon shares—selling none in 2022 or 2023 according to CNBC calculations.

Although the capital gains tax didn’t stop Bezos gifting—he offloaded $200 million in shares as donations at the end of last year—he hasn’t simply sold stock for a number of years, until now.

In an SEC filing posted last week, Bezos revealed a scheduled stock selling plan of 50 million Amazon shares, with Morgan Stanley acting as broker. According to the filing, the value of the stocks sits at $8.45 billion.

That came after an initial sale of 12 million shares worth an estimated $2 billion. On the first sale alone—where the shares were grouped into five blocks ranging between one million and 3.2 million—Bezos 7% tax cut (by moving out of Washington) would have saved him $140 million.

Looking at the wider sale, had Bezos stayed in Seattle he would have been on the hook for 7% of $8.45 billion, a figure of $591,500,000. Of course now Bezos and his fiancee Lauren Sanchez have moved to sunnier climes, that near-$600 million stays clear of the tax man.

That figure is subject to change, as a portion of the 50 million shares will be offloaded at some point in the future. That means Bezos’s payout—and associated savings—could go up or down. If the market is anything to go by, Bezos will only see the figures increase—after all, Amazon’s stock is up 73% over the past 12 months and 15% for the year to date.

What to spend it on?

Amazon could not immediately be reached when approached by Fortune for comment on whether the funds would…

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