Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos Files Plan to Sell $5 Billion Worth of Shares


Billionaire and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has notified the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission of his intention to sell 25 million shares of the company’s stock, currently valued at around $5 billion. This latest move comes as Bezos is set to make a significant windfall, but one that he won’t be able to enjoy fully due to Washington state’s capital gains tax.

Under the current law, Washington residents who sell shares of their portfolio are subject to a 7% tax on any long-term capital gains, which kicks in when assets appreciate in value by $250,000 or more in a given year. However, Bezos is planning to avoid paying this tax by moving his residence to Florida, where there is no state capital gains tax.

If Bezos had sold these shares while still living in Washington state, he would have been required to pay an estimated $343 million in capital gains tax. Instead, he will pocket the entire $4.9 billion without any state taxes being deducted.

Bezos’ plan to sell a significant portion of his Amazon shares is just the latest in a series of high-profile transactions he has undertaken in recent months. He has already sold approximately $13.5 billion worth of shares in 2024 alone, with many of these transactions also avoiding the capital gains tax by taking advantage of his Florida residence.

The tax, which was enacted in 2021, has been the subject of controversy and litigation. Critics, such as Washington state Rep. Jim Walsh, argue that it is bad policy that drives capital to other states with more favorable tax environments. With the capital gains tax set to generate significantly less revenue than anticipated, advocates for its repeal are renewing their efforts to pass Initiative 2109, which would abolish the tax.

Peter Cordi
Peter Cordi
Homepage Editor.

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