Twitter poll shouldn't decide whether Tesla CEO Elon Musk pays 'any taxes at all' - US politician

Business Insider US
Musk in Germany in October.
  • Sen. Wyden, leader of the push for a billionaires tax, slammed Tesla CEO Elon Musk's Twitter poll.
  • Musk on Saturday asked Twitter to decide whether he should sell 10% of his Tesla holdings.
  • Twitter polls shouldn't decide whether billionaires should pay "any taxes at all," Wyden said.
  • For more stories visit Business Insider.

Sen. Ron Wyden on Saturday took aim at Tesla CEO Elon Musk's decision to ask Twitter users whether he should sell 10% of his stock in the EV maker, a move that would likely lead to an outsized tax payment.

"Whether or not the world's wealthiest man pays any taxes at all shouldn't depend on the results of a Twitter poll," the Senate Democrat said on Twitter. "It's time for the Billionaires Income Tax."

Musk had posted the poll earlier on Saturday, saying, "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?"

By early Sunday, Musk's poll had about 2.9 million votes, about 57% of which called for him to sell. The poll had about 7 hours remaining.

Musk was America's highest-paid chief executive last year for the third year in a row, according to Bloomberg News. He's the world's wealthiest individual, but the lion's share of that wealth is company stock. He hasn't accepted his Tesla salary in years.

He holds about 170.5 million Tesla shares, valued at about $208.3 billion at Friday's close, CNN reported. A 10% sale would amount to around $21 billion.

Wyden, of Oregon, is leading the charge on a proposed Billionaires Income Tax. When he rolled out the plan in October, he said it would increase taxes for about 700 of America's wealthiest taxpayers.

His proposal would impose taxes on those "with more than $100 million in annual income or more than $1 billion in assets for three consecutive years," according to a one-pager published by his office.

Musk said he would abide by the Twitter poll. But he also previously said he planned to sell "a huge block" of his options this quarter, CNBC reported.

Get the best of our site emailed to you every weekday.

Go to the Business Insider front page for more stories.