Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s Twitter poll ended on Sunday with voters soundly calling on the billionaire to sell some of his Tesla stock as a means of forcing him to pay taxes.
The poll ended Sunday afternoon with just under 58 per cent of voters agreeing that Mr Musk should sell 10 per cent of his stock.
Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 6, 2021
Do you support this?
Mr Musk came under criticism after he revealed that he takes no salary and therefore doesn’t pay income tax; progressives have argued that the loophole illustrates the need for a wealth tax in the US.
On Saturday afternoon, he posted the Twitter poll with the accompanying promise: “I will abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes.”
“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,” he added.
CEOs of large corporations are frequently criticised for using similar loopholes to shield their wealth from US taxes; Companies such as Amazon also have faced criticism for not paying federal income taxes, which Amazon did in 2019 for the first time in years. The company has also deferred more than $900 million in income tax debt, according to CNBC.
Despite the poll’s results trending in the direction of Mr Musk supposedly paying his taxes, the arbitrary nature of the arrangement did not sit well with proponents of closing tax loopholes including Sen Ron Wyden, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
“Whether or not the world’s wealthiest man pays any taxes at all shouldn’t depend on the results of a Twitter poll. It’s time for the Billionaires Income Tax,” he tweeted.
Mr Musk previously pledged to donated the money from a stock sale to the UN if the organisation would use it to end or significantly dent world hunger. His pledge was a response to a request from David Beasley, head of the UN’s World Food Programme.
He then added a caveat: If he does so, the UN would have to first commit to “open source accounting, so the public sees precisely how the money is spent.”
The Tesla founder added: “Please publish your current & proposed spending in detail so people can see exactly where (the) money goes. Sunlight is a wonderful thing.”
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