Paulson May Move To Puerto Rico To Dodge Taxes

Mar 11 2013 | 10:01am ET

Billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson is mulling a move to Puerto Rico, which could save him hundreds of millions of dollars.

Paulson recently looked at possible residences in San Juan's exclusive Condado neighborhood, according to published reports. It's not clear whether Paulson, a lifelong New Yorker, will actually make the move, but if he did, he would be taking advantage of a year-old Puerto Rican law waiving local and federal capital gains taxes for new residents; by contrast, New York residents pay some of the highest marginal tax rates in the country.

Paulson has $9.5 billion invested in his own funds.

Paulson & Co. would remain headquartered in New York even if Paulson moves to Puerto Rico. The firm, which invests in the U.S. territory's largest bank and which runs a $300 million real-estate fund, suggested that the firm was merely looking at investments on the Caribbean island.

"While we have looked at real-estate investments in Puerto Rico, we have not made any investments," the firm said.

Ten Americans have already moved to Puerto Rico to save on taxes, the territory's government said.

Paulson and his firm's executives have already moved to shelter some of their assets from taxes, investing about $450 million in a reinsurer that invests in Paulson hedge funds. Paulson's PaCRE has one of the lowest coverage-to-asset ratio of all Bermuda-based reinsurers.

A move could also subject Paulson to accusations of hypocrisy. When Occupy Wall Street protesters targeted his Manhattan home, Paulson shot back, "the top 1% of New Yorkers pay over 40% of all income taxes, providing huge benefits to everyone in our city and state. Paulson & Co. and its employees have paid hundreds of millions of dollars in New York City and New York State taxes in recent years and have created over 100 high-paying jobs in New York City since its formation."

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