Elon Musk Asked Twitter If He Should Sell Stock to Pay Taxes

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is a well-known Twitter addict. He thought it would be great to allow the public to decide whether or not he should pay taxes. So he created a poll. Musk asked Twitter whether 10% of his Tesla stock should be sold. He said he was open to honoring the results.


In light of recent legislation, Musk launched the poll Saturday to gauge opinion. Some have suggested that it would allow billionaires to avoid taxes by not taxing unrealized gains or profits that exist only on paper. Musk said that he receives only stock payments from his companies and does not take a salary or bonus. Musk stated that the only way to pay taxes is to sell stock.

According to Wall Street Journal, Musk holds more than 17% stock in Tesla stock. It is worth more than $200 billion. At current prices, selling 10% would bring in about $21 billion.

Musk tweeted that he proposed selling 10% of his Tesla stock because it was a way to avoid tax.

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Musks poll surveyed 3.5 million people. 57.9% voted for him to sell, and 42.1% voted against.

Musk has not spoken to the Twitterverse about the topic since the poll closed. Musk replied to a question asking whether the poll was conducted the way he desired.


Musk criticized a proposal from Ron Wyden (Democrat of Oregon), to tax unrealized gains on publicly-traded assets. He stated that it would eventually reach less well-off taxpayers, saying (on twitter) that they will soon run out of money, and then they will come after you.

Wyden's proposal was almost eviscerated as soon as it was presented, but it sparked a significant debate that Musk chose to enter.


Musk claimed that this was a way for people to decide what Musk does with their money. However, CNBC notes that even if Twitter did not pull a Palpatine to tell him to, it is likely that Musk would have sold stock.

Musk faces a $1 billion tax bill for 22.8 million shares that he received as stock options in 2012. Musk must pay income tax on the gains he made on these shares at their current prices to be able to exercise his options. This amounts to approximately $28 billion. CNBC reports that Musk will have to pay $15 billion due to the combined federal and state tax rates of 54.1% if he exercises the options.


Musk declared in September that he would sell some of his options during the fourth quarter because they were about to expire. Although Musk is not a typical Tesla CEO, he does sell stock that he already owns to help pay taxes.

The results of Musks' poll created a lot of buzz on Twitter. Wyden even responded to the poll.


A Twitter poll doesn't have to decide whether the world's richest man pays any taxes. The senator tweeted that it was time for the Billionaires Income Tax.

This is why it's important to remember that Musk spent $0 on income tax in 2018, according to a report. Musk is making a small contribution to humanity by paying income tax.


Update 11/7/2021 at 10:39 p.m. ET: This post was to clarify that Musk would be eligible for $15 billion if his stock options are exercised.