After making history as the first person to ever exceed a net worth of $300 billion, the richest man on the planet put the fate of his finances in the hands of his social media following. On Saturday, Elon Musk posted a Twitter poll, asking his audience whether or not he should sell ten percent of his stock in Tesla. The CEO of the electric car manufacturer received a mixed response, but the majority of voters said that he should.
While it may have seemed like a spur-of-the-moment survey, there’s actually much more to it. In referencing a newly proposed plan by the Democratic Party, his query regarding his stocks was clearly provoked by an amending tax bill that will cost him tens of billions.
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On Saturday, Musk tweeted out, “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?”
Over 3 billion of the business magnate’s 62.8 billion followers took part in the poll. While 42.1 percent of the survey opposed the idea, those who supported his plan took the winning results with 57.9 percent of the vote.
Musk assured that he is a man of his word by tweeting, “I will abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes.”
To put Musk’s poll into perspective, ten percent of his stock in Tesla is worth $21 billion. The totality of his stake exceeds $200 billion. Although, in light of a recent proposal spearheaded by Sen. Ron Wyden, his stake in Tesla is may possibly be getting sold in the future – regardless of the results of the poll.
Around twenty minutes after the survey went live, Musk explained that, because of his compensation plan with Tesla, selling socks is the only option in which he could pay taxes.
“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,” the Tesla CEO states.
His poll certainly garnered its fair share of criticism, most notably from Senator Wyden himself. The Senator took particular umbrage with the overall premise of the survey.
“Whether or not the world’s wealthiest man pays any taxes at all shouldn’t depend on the results of a Twitter poll,” the Senator responds to the original poll thread, “It’s time for the Billionaires Income Tax.”
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Sources: USA Today, BBC News, Business Insider
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