Elon Musk is known for his unconventional, surprising, and at times, humorous, tweets, but this one might just be the one that stands out the most. The Tesla CEO had made a poll, asking his followers whether he should sell 10% of his Tesla shares, and on Sunday, the results showed that a majority had voted “yes.”
Musk, who is undoubtedly the richest man on the planet, had tweeted, “Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock.” ON Sunday, the results showed that no less than 57.9% of people who had voted on his poll voted “yes.” Should Musk follow through with his promise to abide by the result, we will see him selling 10% of his stock in Tesla.
“I was prepared to accept either outcome,” Musk said after the voting ended. The poll had garnered more than 3.5 million votes. However, it is not specified how Musk will be selling the shares. Musk added that he does not take a cash salary or bonus from anywhere. “I only have stock, thus the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell the stock,” he said.
Currently, Musk has a stake of nearly 23% in Tesla. Reuters calculates that the sale of 10% would, theoretically, earn Musk nearly $21 billion, based on Friday’s closing. The “Technoking of Tesla” had said earlier that he would have to exercise a large number of stock options in the next three months, which would create a big tax bill.
This also comes amidst a proposal by US Congressional Democrats which will have 700 billionaires, including Musk, pay taxes on unrealized gains from their assets such as stocks and other tradeable assets in order to fund the President’s social spending agenda and prevent them from deferring capital gains taxes. Musk had strongly criticized this proposal, saying, “Eventually, they run out of other people’s money and then they come for you.”
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden did not take kindly to the poll, saying that a Twitter poll should not decide whether the wealthiest man in the world should pay any taxes at all.