Twitter users have voted that Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of Tesla Inc., should sell 10 percent of his stake in the electric car company to pay tax.
Musk is currently the world’s richest person — and at the current share price of $1,222 each, 10 percent of Musk’s Tesla stock would convert to roughly $21 billion.
In a poll on his Twitter account over the weekend, Musk asked his followers to vote if he should sell a 10 percent stake in his Tesla stock or not.
The poll garnered more than 3.5 million votes, with about 57.9 percent of respondents voting yes to his proposal.
Musk said that selling his stock would be the only way to pay tax under the current system.
He added that he would abide by the results of the poll.
Before now, Musk and other billionaires had been accused of paying little or no federal income taxes.
In 2018, a report by ProPublica said the Tesla CEO paid zero federal income taxes.
“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?” he tweeted.
“I will abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes,” he added.
“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.”
Musk doesn’t receive a salary — his compensation as Tesla CEO is paid entirely in share options.
Should Musk go ahead with the sale, he would incur a huge tax bill — as much as $15 billion, according to CNBC.
Musk shared the poll after US senate democrats unveiled a proposal to tax billionaires’ stocks and other tradeable assets to help finance President Joe Biden’s social spending agenda.
The goal, according to the US government, is to fill a loophole that allowed billionaires to defer capital gains taxes indefinitely.
Musk had criticised the proposal, saying: “Eventually, they run out of other people’s money, and then they come for you.”
Ron Wyden, chairman of the senate finance committee, who floated the tax proposal, said on Saturday: “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.”