Bezos Would Pay $2 Billion in Taxes Under New Law in Washington State

Mandatory Credit: Photo by AHMET SEL/SIPA/Shutterstock (10436139g)Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos attends a commemoration ceremony held in front of Saudi consulate on the first anniversary of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder in IstanbulAnniversary of the assassination of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Istanbul, Turkey - 02 Oct 2019.
AHMET SEL/SIPA/Shutterstock / AHMET SEL/SIPA/Shutterstock

Washington State lawmakers are proposing a 1% wealth tax on assets exceeding $1 billion, which would make soon-to-be former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, for example, owe $2 billion a year in state taxes.

See: As Jeff Bezos Prepares to Step Down as CEO, How Much Is the Iconic Billionaire Worth?
Find: What Kind of Taxes Do Top Company Execs Pay? From Tesla, Amazon, Walmart — and Beyond

The bill is to improve “the equity of Washington state’s tax code by creating the Washington state wealth tax and taxing extraordinary financial assets” and calls the state’s tax system “the most upside down and regressive in the nation.”

As a percentage of household income, low-income families pay nearly 18% in taxes, middle-income families pay 11%, and the state’s highest income households pay 3% or less.

The bill, citing Forbes data, says that nine of the world’s wealthiest people reside in Washington state, and their individual wealth ranges from $2.7 billion to $179 billion.

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See: Billionaires vs. the Middle Class Across America — Who Pays More in Taxes?
Find: 20 Richest Women in America Right Now

“The Washington state department of revenue estimates that there are 100 taxpayers with wealth in excess of $1 billion who reside in Washington state,” according to the bill. “By comparison, median household wealth, or net worth, in the United States is $64,000. The disparity between white households and Black and Latino households shows an even wider wealth gap. Whereas the median wealth for white families is $116,800, it is just $1,700 for Black families and $2,000 for Latino families. Wealth has shifted dramatically in the United States, and we now have the biggest wealth gap in 50 years.”

Only about a dozen people would be liable for the tax, and four of them — Jeff Bezos, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and philanthropist and Bezos-ex Mackenzie Scott — would account for 97% of the tax’s revenue, according to the Tax Foundation. Bezos is worth $192.7 billion, Gates $123.8 billion, Ballmer $81.3 billion and Scott $58.5 billion, according to Forbes data.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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