Elon Musk says he will pay more than $ 11 billion in taxes this year

Elon Musk expects to pay more than $ 11 billion in taxes in 2021, says Tesla CEO said in a tweet. The figure roughly matches a CNBC report last week that said Musk has already paid $ 7 billion in federal and state taxes this year, and will pay an additional $ 5 billion by January 1. CNBC said the numbers could represent “the biggest tax bill of all time.”

The disclosure comes as Musk and other billionaires are increasingly scrutinized by the amount of taxes they pay. Like CNBC explains, Musk doesn’t take a salary or cash bonus in his role as CEO of Tesla, and instead is paid in stocks. When he needs money, he can borrow it using his shares as collateral, which does not entail the same tax obligations.

The big difference this year is that in early November Musk started selling billions of Tesla shares, which means paying a combined tax rate of over 53% according to CNBC. The decision was clearly the result of a Twitter poll conducted in November, in which users voted for Musk to sell 10% of his Tesla shares.

But observers have noted that Musk should have paid a big tax bill on stock options expiring next year anyway. And by choosing to exercise stock options now rather than wait until August 2022, Musk could avoid higher tax rates introduced as part of the Democratic Build Back Better bill.

Earlier this year, ProPublica reported that Musk paid no federal income taxes in 2018 and paid just $ 455 million in taxes in the previous four years despite growing his wealth by $ 13.9 billion. Speaking at this year’s Code conference, Musk said his taxes were zero in 2018 because he overpaid the year before.

While Musk seems to go along with his claim that he will pay “more taxes than any American in history”In 2021, that shouldn’t be so surprising considering he would be by far the richest person in the world. Musk’s net wealth is currently estimated to be around $ 243 billion, according to Bloomberg‘s Billionaires Index, nearly $ 50 billion more than Amazon founder Jeff Bezos with a report of $ 195 billion.

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