It was the attraction of the weekend: Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, offered his Twitter followers to sell 10% of his Tesla shares, the only way for him to pay taxes since he does not receive any salary from the electric vehicle firm. Three and a half million votes later, 59% of tweetos asked the leader to sell his shares, to which he committed.
First, there is a clever maneuver: Mr. Musk pretends to have his hand forced, in the name of fiscal virtue. The largest shareholder of Tesla (17% of shares valued at 200 billion dollars, or 173 billion euros) is preparing above all to sell securities whose value has increased fourteen times since the start of the Covid pandemic. -19, in March 2020, and has grown by half in one month.
It is not absurd if one needs money (possibly to raise stock options). Moreover, this is what his brother Kimbal did just before the weekend, collecting nearly $ 110 million. In addition, the long-term capital gains tax is now 23.8% in the United States, but that is not expected to last as Congress prepares to raise it, with immediate effect, perhaps. before the Thanksgiving holidays, at the end of November.
Permanent overheating policy
The case is timely. Except that it brought down Tesla stock, which suffered a 15% drop in two days, with the market fearing an influx of Elon Musk shares. The latter expected it; its subliminal message is political: tax billionaires, and the crowd of small investors will lose. A snub to the Democratic project fought by Mr. Musk – and now buried – to tax the unrealized capital gains of billionaires, which would have led them to sell part of their shares.
The problem remains major. According to the revelations of the ProPublica site, in June, the fortune of the CEO of Tesla increased by 13.9 billion dollars between 2014 and 2018, but he declared, during this period, only 1.5 billion in income. and paid 455 million in taxes, mainly in 2016, the year in which he exercised stock options. In 2018, he paid … zero federal tax. In the meantime, the situation has changed dimension: its wealth has increased from 20 billion to 270 billion dollars (as of Tuesday, November 9). Certainly, the success of Tesla – but also of its unlisted aerospace company SpaceX – has something to do with it, but how can we justify that the company is worth $ 1,170 billion, or 330 times its profits? “Do you have Tesla shares?” Do like Elon Musk and sell! “, urge him Wall Street Journal.
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