World’s richest man and tech magnate Elon Musk said on Wednesday that he was “almost done” with his stock sale. The statement came after selling more than $15 billion worth of stock. The statement which is covered in a lot of mystery might mean that the Tesla boss might not be done with selling his stock after he first mentioned that he was selling 10 percent of his Tesla shares, thanks to a Twitter poll from his followers.
In a Tuesday interview with conservative satirical website Babylon Bee, the billionaire said that “I sold enough stock to get around 10 percent plus the option exercise stuff and I tried to be extremely literal here”. A Wednesday tweet from Elon Musk read “This assumes completion of the 10b sale”, referring to his prearranged sales plan related to his options.
Later he tweeted that “There are still a few trenches left, but almost done”.
According to Tesla filings, under the Rule 10b5-1 trading plan set up in September, he has exercised stock options that expire next year and sold a portion of the stocks to pay taxes.
About 48 hours ago, Elon Musk revealed that he’d be paying $11 billion in taxes, in what could be the biggest tax ever paid in American history. The stock options the billionaire received in 2012 are set to expire by August 2022 and to be able to exercise them, he’d have to pay income tax on the gain. The CEO mentioned in older tweets that his wealth comes from stock rewards and gains in Tesla share price instead of taking a salary or cash bonus. When the billionaire wants cash, all he needs to do is borrow money using his company’s stock as collateral. However, this practice has been criticized by some politicians as a tax loophole for the super-rich like Elon Musk. According to an investigation by ProPublica, Elon Musk alongside quite a long list of other billionaires paid no federal income tax in 2018. Between 2014 and 2018, Musk paid $455 million in taxes on $1.52 billion of income, according to ProPublica, despite his wealth growing by $13.9 billion over that period.
Elon Musk still has about 1.5 million stock options that’ll expire in August next year, even after a series of recent sales.