Musk asks Twitter followers if he should sell 10% of Tesla’s shares | Top news

By Ann Maria Shibu and Hyunjoo Jin

(Reuters) – Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk asked his 62.5 million Twitter followers on Saturday in a poll whether he should sell 10% of his Tesla shares.

The richest person in the world had previously said he could face a “massive” tax bill this year because he has to exercise a large number of stock options maturing next year.

“Note, I don’t take any cash wages or bonuses from anywhere. I only have stocks, so the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stocks,” Musk said https: / / 1457064697782489088 on Twitter Saturday.

“There has been a lot of talk lately about unrealized gains being a means of tax evasion, so I am proposing to sell 10% of my Tesla shares,” he said, referring to a proposed “billionaires tax”. by Democrats.

Musk criticized the proposal, which would affect 700 billionaires and impose long-term capital gains taxes on marketable assets whether or not they have been sold.

Musk said he would respect the poll results no matter what.

The poll received nearly 2 million responses in seven hours after its publication, with 55% of those polled approving the proposal to sell the shares. Voting is expected to end around 3 p.m. ET (2000 GMT) on Sunday.

Musk’s stake in Tesla stands at around 170.5 million shares as of June 30, and the sale of 10% of his shares would amount to nearly $ 21 billion based on Friday’s close, according to Reuters calculations.

Musk has an option to buy 22.86 million shares at $ 6.24 each, which expires August 13 next year, according to a Tesla filing. Tesla’s closing price was $ 1,222.09 on Friday.

In September, Musk said he would likely pay taxes on more than half of any earnings he made from exercising options. He also ruled out the possibility that he would take out loans with his Tesla shares as collateral. “Stocks don’t always go up. They go down,” he told the code conference.

Some members of Tesla’s board of directors, including his brother Kimbal Musk, offloaded a large number of shares after Tesla stock hit an all-time high in late October.

Musk recently said on Twitter that he would sell $ 6 billion in Tesla stock and donate it to the World Food Program (WFP), provided the organization discloses more information on how it is spending its money.

His tweet raised eyebrows in the financial world.

“We are seeing the masses of Twitter deciding the outcome of a $ 25 billion raffle,” venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya wrote on Twitter.

“I look forward to the day when the richest person in the world paying taxes won’t depend on a Twitter poll,” Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman tweeted.

Musk got into trouble with a tweet about the privatization of Tesla in 2018.

(Reporting by Ann Maria Shibu in Bangalore and Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco; Editing by Alistair Bell, David Gregorio and William Mallard)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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