Amazon Exec Moved to Texas Ahead of Capital Gains Tax

(The Center Square) Dave Clark, Amazon’s worldwide consumer CEO, moved from the Seattle area to Dallas last fall, according to several media reports.

The move came a few months before a new capital gains tax in Washington state took effect. The new law, which is being fought in court, began Jan. 1. If allowed to stand, the measure would levy a 7% capital gains tax on income above $250,000 per year from the sale of stocks and bonds.

Clark and his wife sold their 8,500-square-foot home in Medina, a Seattle suburb, for $14.5 million last September, according to Business Insider. That is more than twice the amount they paid for it four years ago.

Clark has about $42 million worth of Amazon stock.

Joan Eleazer, a Dallas real estate agent, told Business Insider that Clark and his wife looked at several expensive homes she had listed before purchasing one in the Highland Park neighborhood of Dallas.

Realtor.com reports that the median home price in Highland Park is $2.3 million.

This is not the first such action by a wealthy executive.

Amazon founder and executive chairman Jeff Bezos sold nearly $8.6 billion of the company’s stock last year over several transactions. He also owns a home and a 30,000-acre ranch in Van Horn, Texas, southeast of El Paso, near his space company Blue Origin.

In 2020, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk moved from California to Texas, which reports say saved him billions of dollars under California’s capital gains tax.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sold a little more than half of his shares in the company, worth nearly $285 million, late last November, a month before Washington’s capital gains tax began. He still owns some 830,000 shares worth about $280 million.

A Microsoft spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal at the time that Nadella made the sale “for personal financial planning and diversification reasons.”

A decision on the lawsuit against Washington’s tax is expected late next week, according to Douglas County Superior Court Judge Brian Huber.

Opponents say the tax is unconstitutional because it does not tax income at a flat, uniform rate, and is essentially a graduated income tax since it charges one group of people with high incomes while exempting others.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, arguing in defense of the law, says it is an excise tax.

No matter Huber’s decision, the suit is expected to be appealed to the Washington State Supreme Court.