After Twitter poll, Elon Musk sells $1.1 billion in Tesla shares to pay taxes

After conducting a poll on Twitter last Saturday asking users whether he should sell 10 percent of his stocks, Elon Musk sold on Wednesday 900,000 shares of Tela’s stock, earning over $1.1 billion.

This move was done to pay tax obligations for stock options. The company that is managing his businesses sold earlier in the week nearly 3.6 million shares in Tesla, worth around $4 billion.

As such, Musk is selling these shares, especially after facing increased inquiry over his wealth from elected officials. He has been criticized for not paying income taxes, since he doesn’t take a salary from Tesla, rather compensated in stock awards something he hasn’t done in a few years.

Instead, Musk borrows a sufficient amount of money using his holdings as collateral.

“I have a bunch of [stock] options that are expiring early next year, so that’s a huge block of options we’ll sell in Q4,” he said.

Musk had been a critic of a proposal to tax unrealized gains on publicly traded assets for some of the wealthiest Americans.

“I only have stock, thus the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stock,” said Musk.

Following the poll, Tesla’s share price fell on Monday, in other words, Musk sold the stock at a lower price than he could have done last week, therefore losing millions of dollars that went to waste.

However, some controversy was shown since the documents disclosed were filed on Wednesday showed the sale was put into action on September 14, indicating that it was not dependent on the poll’s outcome.

Meanwhile, the Tesla chief executive still owns 170 million Tesla shares after the transactions.

It is worth mentioning that he sold 3.6 million Tesla shares, worth around $4bn, and a further 934,000 shares worth $1.1bn, in his first sale since 2016.