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The top fiscal cliff tax dodgers

These company founders and heirs could collectively dodge more than $1 billion in post fiscal cliff taxes because of special dividends and a company sale.

May the lower taxes be with you

gallery fiscal cliff tax dodgers
  • Deal: Lucasfilm's $4.05 billion sale to Disney
  • Ticker: N/A
  • Beneficiary: Lucasfilm's founder George Lucas
  • Potential tax savings : $352 million

Star Wars creator George Lucas may have avoided the dark side of the fiscal cliff by selling Lucasfilm to Disney (DIS) in 2012.

By closing the sale this year, Lucas, as sole owner, could avoid up to $352 million in capital gains taxes.

With capital gains taxed at 15% this year, Lucas would pay $600 million to the US government on his $4 billion in proceeds from the sale. Next year, if the capital gains tax rate rises to 23.8%, he would have had to pay $952 million in capital gains taxes on the same sale.

While Lucas' timing may cause the U.S. government to lose out on hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues, Lucas has said he'll donate the majority of the sale proceeds to educational philanthropy.

Source: Getty
  @maureenmfarrell - Last updated December 21 2012 10:54 AM ET

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