It all started with a Twitter survey.
A billionaire CEO now has to pay his taxes
Elon Musk asked a question of the users on social media platforms Saturday, November 6. Musk, co-founder and CEO at Tesla's electric car company, should sell 10 percent of his Tesla stock.
This wasn't a useless 24-hour Twitter poll to gauge public opinion. Musk stated upfront that this poll had consequences. Musk, a billionaire, had pledged to "abide by this poll's results, regardless of how it turns out."
We now have the answer to the question: 57.9% of more than three and half million Twitter users who voted for the referendum said "yes" after the poll closed 24 hours later.
According to Musk, the reason for the poll was due to a proposal to "tax unrealized profits." It was brought up by Senator Ron Wyden (D–OR) after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen discussed it.
Musk has voiced his opposition to plans to tax unrealized profits. This proposal would tax extremely wealthy people on the increase in stock value, even if the assets are not sold off.
Unrealized gains could be taxed to close the loophole billionaires use to avoid income taxes. Instead of selling stocks and paying taxes they borrow against their assets to build their wealth.
ProPublica's Jesse Eisinger points out that Musk actually confirms it in one of his tweets related to the poll.
Musk tweeted, "Note: I don't take any cash salary or bonus from anyone." Musk tweeted, "I only own stock. Therefore, the only way I can pay taxes personally is to trade stock."
Senator Wyden, who is the Congressperson behind Billionaires Income Tax Proposal, was not sold on Musk’s Twitter stunt.
The senator tweeted, "Whether or not the richest man in the world pays any taxes should not depend on the results from a Twitter poll." "It's time to tax the income of billionaires."
The Verge also points out that this is possible. Musk had previously suggested that he sell some of his Tesla stock due to the expiration of stock options. Musk may actually sell 10 percent of Tesla stock. However, the Twitter poll might not be as helpful.
What is fascinating is Musk's question. Musk, whether he meant it or not, ended up asking if he should tax his income.
The Twitter masses responded with a unanimous "yes"
Now that the poll is over, we will update this post to include Elon Musk's response.