Elon Musk and Tesla
Instagram: @elonmusk, Google Street View

Elon Musk, the Tesla CEO, recently took to Twitter to poll his audience of 62.7 million followers, whether he should sell 10% of his stock in Tesla, with 57.9% of the people voting “yes”.

Elon Musk facing $15 billion tax bill

Musk polled his audience on his personal Twitter account: “Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock. Do you support this?”

The CEO of Tesla said that he would abide by the poll results.

However, major news media have since reported that Elon Musk is facing a tax bill of more than $15 billion, which means the sale of his Tesla stock was going to go through anyway, regardless of the poll results on his Twitter.

Wealth from stocks and share price gains

Musk isn’t salaried and doesn’t take a cash bonus, his wealth comes primarily from stock awards and the gains in his Tesla share price, which closed at $1,222.09 on Friday, effectively meaning that his gain amounts to a little under $28 billion, he was awarded options back in 2012 for 22.8 million shares at about $6.24 each.

Tesla recently revealed that Musk took out loans using his shares and with the sales of the said shares, he plans to repay some of the loans that he took with the money.

In their 3rd quarter filing for their Securities and Exchange Commission, Tesla noted that if the price of their common stock were to drop by a substantial amount, Musk could be forced to sell his common stock shares of the company to pay off his loans if he can’t do so by other avenues.

However, the sales of the common stock could cause the price to plummet even further.

Issue of tax bill

Musk’s options expire next April, but in order to exercise them, he has to pay income tax of 37%, excluding the 3.8% net investment tax,

There is also the small matter of the 13.3% tax rate in California because Musk was granted the options while he was a California resident; with the total state and federal tax rate amounting to about 54.1%, which takes his total taxes due to $15 billion.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin has risen through the roof!

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