Musk donated more than $5.7 billion worth of Tesla stock to charity in November

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 14 (Reuters) – Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk donated a total of 5,044,000 shares of the world’s most valuable automaker to charity from Nov. 19-29. last year, its filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) showed on Monday.

The donation was worth $5.74 billion, based on Tesla’s closing stock prices on the five days he donated the shares. The filing did not reveal the name of the charity.

The donation came as the billionaire sold $16.4 billion worth of shares after quizzing Twitter users about offloading his 10% stake in the electric carmaker in early November.

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He said on Twitter that he will pay more than $11 billion in taxes in 2021 due to his exercise of stock options that expire this year.

He also traded barbs with politicians Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren who called on the wealthy to pay more taxes.

Analysts said there would be a tax advantage for Musk who could gift Tesla shares, since shares donated to charity are not subject to capital gains tax, as they would be if they were sold.

“Its tax advantage would be huge,” said Bob Lord, a research fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies who studies tax policy.

“He would save between 40% and 50% of the $5.7 billion in taxes, depending on whether or not he could qualify for the deduction on his California income and he would avoid the tax on the gains he would have to pay s he was selling the stock.”

Lord added that Musk may have paid the shares to intermediaries such as “donor-advised funds”, not directly to charitable groups.

Tesla was not immediately available for comment.

MUSK FOUNDATION

The donation ranks Musk as the second-highest U.S. donor after Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates last year, according to data from the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Musk’s public philanthropic gestures have so far trailed other billionaires. Musk and Amazon.com Inc founder Jeff Bezos gave less than 1% of their net worth, while Warren Buffett and George Soros had given more than 20% in early September, according to business magazine Forbes.

Musk is chairman of the Musk Foundation, providing grants for the “development of safe artificial intelligence for the benefit of mankind” among other causes, according to its website.

Last year, Musk and the foundation offered $100 million prizes to those who can come up with technology to help remove carbon from the atmosphere.

Last year, he said he was donating $20 million to schools in Cameron County, Texas, home to a Space X rocket launch site, and $10 million to the city of Brownsville.

Musk has also flirted with more ambitious philanthropic goals.

On Twitter last year, he said: “If (the UN World Food Programme) can describe…exactly how $6 billion will solve world hunger, I’ll sell Tesla stock right now and I’ll do it. .”

He was responding to a donation request from David Beasley, the executive director of the World Food Programme.

In January last year, he asked Twitter users “for ways to donate money that really make a difference (much harder than it looks.)”

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Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco, additional reporting by Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Clarence Fernandez

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