Elon Musk, SpaceX founder, and Tesla CEO, holds a helmet while he visits the Gruenheide construction site for Tesla's gigafactory near Berlin on May 17, 2021.
Elon Musk asked his millions of Twitter followers Saturday to help him decide the future of a portion of his Tesla holdings.
Tesla CEO, in response to criticisms that he has not paid his fair share of taxes. He asked his users to vote on whether he should sell or hold 10%.
"Much has been made recently of unrealized gains as a way of tax avoidance. So I propose selling 10% my Tesla stock. Would you agree to this? He said. Musk also added a poll function so that users could vote "Yes", or "No".
Musk, who is one of the richest people in the world, said that he would abide by the poll's results, "no matter what the outcome." It was not immediately clear how much the proposed sale would cost or what the tax rate would. According to The Wall Street Journal, Musk held 22.4% of outstanding shares of the company as of December 2013.
Billionaires have the opportunity to benefit from tax-avoidance strategies that are not available to those whose income comes from traditional wage income. Extreme wealth often comes from the increasing value of stock and real property, which is not considered taxable unless they are sold. This is where Musk's 10% unrealized gain comes into play: If Musk sells, he will be taxed.
ProPublica, an investigative media site, published Musk's tax bill earlier this summer as part of its massive analysis of billionaires' finances. According to the outlet, Musk's 2018 income tax bill was zero. Musk later retorted, claiming that the reporting was misleading and confusing. Musk explained that the number was low because he doesn't draw a salary so his cash compensation is almost zero.
"Note: I don't take any cash bonus or salary from anyone. He said that he only has stock and that the only way to pay taxes is to sell it.
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