Taxes of the rich and famous, a NewsChannel 5 special report

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - For pictures of the home of several rich and famous South Florida residents as well as the taxes they paid, click the map at the bottom of the page. (no access mobile)

Seen from the sky, their houses shine.

Giant swimming pools with water slides.

Towers fit for a king.  

Some practically touch the ocean.
 
The founder of the Oxbow Group refinery giant, William Koch, is worth around $4 billion.
 
Palm Beach County property tax records show he pays around $469,000 a year to own his $25 million home on South Ocean Boulevard on Palm Beach.
 
Someone who makes Palm Beach County's median salary of almost $50,000 would have to contribute all of their salary for nine-and-a-half years just to pay Koch's annual property tax bill.
 
"It's just a different realm of reality, really," said Palm Beach County school teacher Sandy Zarbuchen.
 
Take the great golfer Jack Nicklaus.
 
He pays $96,000 on a home assessed at $8.1 million on Old Harbour Road in North Palm Beach.
 
Or the Pro Football Hall of Fame player Joe Namath.
 
For his Tequesta House on Bay Harbor Road, he pays $34,000 a year in taxes for his $1.6 million home.
 
Boston Red Sox owner John Henry, who Forbes says is worth more than $1 billion, pays $144,000 thousand on his $7.8 million dollar home on Le Lac Road in Boca Raton.
 
"They're just like everybody else," said Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon.
 
Certainly in the sense that their bill is a bill, and that they put their pants on one leg at a time.
 
But we found that many celebrities pay their taxes early, and wind up getting four percent discounts, which for a taxpayer like Bill Koch can amount to almost $20,000.

"It means that they did participate in funding county government services for all the people in our county," said Gannon.

Teacher Sandy Zarbuchen's records show that she also got a similar discount on her $2,000 yearly bill for her home in Palm Beach Gardens.
 
But the divorced mother of two says that keeping up has made it impossible to take her kids on a vacation in more than five years.
 
"There's just no room, there's just no extra money," said Zarbuchen.
 
Though she has no ill will, for Zarbuchen, it's still hard to believe that a few have so much.
 
In Martin County the singer Celine Dion pays more than $300,000 a year on her home assessed at $17 million on Jupiter Island.
 
And maybe the biggest name of all in South Florida, Tiger Woods, has perhaps the biggest bill.
 
The golfing great pays $960,000 a year on his Jupiter Island layout, which has its own area for him to practice his game.
 
The home is worth $57 million.

For pictures of the home of several rich and famous South Florida residents as well as the taxes they paid, click the map below.   Bitly link: http://bit.ly/wr6246


View Taxes of the Rich and Famous in a larger map

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