The issue goes back to a proposed bill to tax unrealized gains, which is what they call stock holdings. Someone like Musk, for instance, has a lot of the reported “wealth” tied up in various stock and it can’t be taxed until he sells the stocks – meaning, until he realizes the gains. The bill would target some 700 billionaires and Musk has been a vocal critic of it, Reuters notes.
Still, he wants everyone know he’s ready to do the right thing, but only if Twitter says so. As of the moment of press, he’s running a poll on whether he should sell 10% of his Tesla stock and pay taxes on the gains, or hold on to it. He will “abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes,” he promises, adding that he’s not taking a salary from anywhere, so the only way for him to pay taxes is by selling stock.
The poll will still be live for a few hours and, based on the current showing, it might decide that Musk should sell. However, before you think that Musk is being very cavalier about parting with more than $24 billion in stock, know this: chances are he would have had to do it either way. The same media outlet notes that “a large number of options” will expire in early 2022, so unloading stock was probably on the table from the start.
Still, the fact that Musk is taking stock market cues and even directions from a social media platform is unlikely to sit well with Tesla investors. Tesla stock could see a drop after recent record-breaking valuation, on the heels of the Hertz deal announcement.
I will abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 6, 2021
Note, I do not take a cash salary or bonus from anywhere. I only have stock, thus the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stock.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 6, 2021