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Bezos isn't known for being dumb with his money. So, I am curious about his motivation in this case. What is the deep reptilian part of his tycoon brain telling him? Is he buying positive press after yesterday's show? Does he care about the cause? Or is he buying a 1990 Cutlass Supreme from Jones on the down-low?

Bezos has been obsessed with space since middle school, he's a huge Star Trek fan and originally wanted to study astrophysics.

It's a tax write-off.

I'll explain why that comment almost never makes sense.

Let's say your tax rate is 50% and your taxable income is $1,000,000, so you'll owe $500,000 in taxes. If you donate $100,000 to charity as a "tax write-off", now your taxable income is only $900,000 and you'll only owe $450,000 in taxes, but you lost $100,000 to save that $50,000. At the end of the day, you'll have $50,000 less than if you didn't donate anything.

Before anyone starts with "but what if it drops you into a lower tax bracket!": a) that's not how marginal taxes work, and b) the top tax bracket starts at $518,400 in the US in 2021, and I'm pretty sure Bezos made many times that amount.

"It's a tax write-off" doesn't make sense mathematically. It's not a thing. There's not a plausible way where giving away money can improve your bottom line over not giving it away without having tax rates above 100%, which we don't have.

Also it's a gift to an individual not a non-profit, which you can't write off at all.

Is it direct from him or did he setup a foundation that he can donate to that disperses the funds?

It’s a write off if they donate that money to a foundation which they lead and can use the resources of. I agree though, that write-off is often used to mean some magical tax loophole though. The former case is very interesting for a lot of rich people though. You can even leave your children in charge to pass the budget to them to use.

well it does make sense in the case where Mr X "donates" to the X Foundation, chaired by X. Then, X has saved 50k and still has the same amount of funds at their disposal to distribute to cronies/use as marketing.

Bezos' taxable income isn't $1,000,000. Only an idiot billionaire would structure their day to day processes in ways that were taxable. He likely operates like other extremely wealthy people do[1]: take a small salary to cover the interest on extremely low-interest loans made possible with his massive stock holdings as collateral.

1. https://www.propublica.org/article/the-secret-irs-files-trov...

Your own article literally says Jeff Bezos paid almost a billion dollars in federal income tax on $4.2 billion in income last year. Nothing about crazy schemes to minimize or offshore tax liability.

>In 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a multibillionaire and now the world’s richest man, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes. He achieved the feat again in 2011.

From 2014 to 2018 his wealth grew by 99B, and he paid under 1B in taxes. Would love a sub 1% effective tax rate.

It's a real curiosity how not having any income will result in not paying any income tax. Jeff Bezos did not sell any Amazon shares in 2007 or 2011.



And a stock you own going up in value is not income. It does not trigger tax liability. If he doesn't sell shares right now, he is simply deferring tax liability to a future date. He is not cheating the tax man. His tax rate is not less than 1%.

Such a curiosity that poor people without an income starve to death or are made homeless but rich people without an income can take vanity rocket trips!

Increase in value of assets isn't taxable until you sell them -- this applies for the value of your house just the same as Bezos's Amazon stock.

What do you imagine that means exactly?

Kramer: It's a write off for them.

Jerry: How is it a write off?

Kramer: They just write it off.

Jerry: Write it off of what?

Kramer: They just write it off!

Jerry: You don't even know what a write off is, do you?

Kramer: No. Do you?

Jerry: No I don't!!


Ah so tempted to post the punch line which is the best part of the bit. But I won't be the spoiler.

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