Jeff Bezos Spent $237 Million On Florida Mansions — Billionaires Flock To 'Upside Down' Tax Haven Where Rich Pay Less Than Poor

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The Sunshine State has become a magnet for billionaires seeking tax relief. Among the latest to join the trend is Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who has recently expanded his real estate holdings in Miami’s exclusive Billionaire Bunker area. Bezos’ acquisitions include three properties, bringing his total investment in the neighborhood to $237 million.

Bezos’ purchases include a $90 million deal in 2024 and a $79 million mansion bought in October 2023. The mansion, which spans 19,000 square feet, sits adjacent to his first property in Indian Creek, acquired for $68 million. According to Bloomberg, Bezos has saved nearly $600 million by relocating and selling his Amazon stock in Florida.

"Going to Florida will obviously eliminate your individual tax burden, and many of these billionaires clearly have that flexibility," explained Jared Walczak, vice president of the National Tax Foundation, as reported by the New York Post.

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Florida’s tax system, often described as "upside-down," is the most regressive in the United States. Wealthy households pay a smaller share of their income in taxes compared to low- and middle-income families. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), the bottom 20% of Florida taxpayers face an effective state and local tax rate nearly five times higher than the top 1%.

The ITEP’s latest report, "Who Pays?", highlights that the average effective tax rate is 13.2% for the lowest-income families, 9.1% for the middle 20%, and just 2.7% for the top-earning 1%. This disparity means income inequality in Florida increases after state and local taxes are applied.

The regressive nature of Florida’s tax system, which ranks it among the least fair in the U.S., stems from several key features. The absence of a personal income tax means the state must rely more heavily on other forms of taxation, such as sales taxes, which disproportionately affect lower-income individuals. Sales taxes are considered regressive because they take a larger percentage of income from lower earners than from higher earners.

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The regressive nature of Florida’s tax system stems from its reliance on sales taxes, which disproportionately affect lower-income individuals. Although the state’s property tax rate averages 0.80%, below the national average, it does not compensate for the lack of income tax revenue. This system places a greater financial burden on lower-income families, who pay a higher proportion of their income in taxes.

While Florida’s tax policies lure billionaires, the consequences extend beyond mere tax fairness. The state’s reliance on sales and property taxes can strain public services and infrastructure, as the growing population of wealthy residents demands more. Meanwhile, lower-income families may struggle to keep up with rising costs of living and limited access to resources.

Florida’s tax system attracts the wealthy, but it raises questions about fairness and the economic pressures on the state’s less affluent residents. As billionaires like Bezos continue to flock to Florida, the debate over tax equity remains pressing.

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Posted In: Real EstateJeff BezosReal Estate Access
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