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Musk to sell $21bn of Tesla stock based on results of Twitter poll


Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. Photo: Reuters

Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. Photo: Reuters

Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. Photo: Reuters

Elon Musk is poised to sell $21bn (€18.2bn) worth of Tesla stock after he put the decision to his Twitter followers in a poll, who decided he should.

The world’s richest man responded to criticism for not paying enough tax by tweeting: “Much is made lately of unrealised gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10pc of my Tesla stock. Do you support this?” Some 3,519,252 votes were cast, with the result of 57.9pc of people saying that they supported the sale.

Mr Musk has promised to abide by the result, which would result in a multi-billion-dollar tax bill that would be “at least in the 20pc range for capital gains”, according to Forbes.

The Tesla and SpaceX founder is worth $300bn (€259bn) but does not take home a salary or bonuses and paid no federal income tax in 2018. But his actions have been condemned by US senator Ron Wyden, who said: “Whether or not the world’s wealthiest man pays any taxes at all shouldn’t depend on the results of a Twitter poll.”

Mr Wyden, a Democrat, has been pushing for billionaires to pay taxes when stock prices go up even if they do not sell shares – a concept called “unrealised gains”.

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