© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk speaks on stage during the handover ceremony of Chinese-made Model 3 cars at its factory in Shanghai, China, Jan. 7, 2020.
Written by Annemaria Shibo and Hyunjoo Jin
(Reuters) – Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Saturday asked his 62.5 million Twitter followers (NYSE 🙂 in a poll whether he should sell 10% of his shares in Tesla (Nasdaq:).
The world’s richest person had previously said he could face a “huge” tax bill this year as he has to exercise a large number of stock options maturing next year.
“Note, I don’t get a cash salary or bonus from anywhere. I only have stock, so the only way for me to pay taxes in person is to sell the stock,” Musk said https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/ 1457064697782489088 on Twitter on Saturday.
“A lot of unrealized gains have been made lately as a way to avoid taxes, so I’m proposing to sell 10% of my Tesla stock,” he said, referring to the Democrats’ proposed “billionaire tax.”
Musk criticized the proposal, which would affect 700 billionaires and tax long-term capital gains on tradable assets, whether they are sold or not.
Musk said he would stick to the poll’s results in any way.
The survey garnered nearly two million responses within seven hours after it was published, with 55% of respondents agreeing to the stock sale proposal. The poll is due to end at around 3 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT) on Sunday.
Musk’s stake in Tesla has reached about 170.5 million shares as of June 30, and a sale of 10% of his shares would amount to nearly $21 billion based on Friday’s close, according to Reuters calculations.
“stocks go down”
Musk has an option to purchase 22.86 million shares at $6.24 per share, which expires on August 13 next year, according to a Tesla filing. Tesla’s closing price was $1222.09 on Friday.
In September, Musk said he would likely pay in taxes more than half of the gains he would make from exercising options. He also dismissed the possibility of him taking loans from his Tesla stock as collateral. “Stocks don’t always go up,” he said at the crypto conference. “They go down.”
Some members of Tesla’s board of directors, including his brother Kimbal Musk, dumped large numbers of shares after Tesla stock hit a record high in late October.
Musk recently said on Twitter that he would sell $6 billion of Tesla stock and donate it to the World Food Program (WFP), provided the organization discloses more information about how its money is being spent.
His tweet raised some eyebrows in the financial world.
“We are seeing Twitter fans decide the outcome of a $25 billion coin swap,” Venture investor Chamath Palihapitiya wrote on Twitter.
“I’m looking forward to the day when the world’s richest person who pays some taxes doesn’t count on a Twitter poll,” Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman wrote on Twitter.
Musk had trouble with a tweet about making Tesla private in 2018.
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