Musk donated over US$5.7b in Tesla shares to charity in Nov
Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk donated a total of 5,044,000 shares in the world's most valuable automaker to a charity from November 19 to November 29 last year, its filing with US Securities and Exchange Commission showed on Monday.
The donation was worth US$5.74 billion, based on the closing prices of Tesla shares on the five days that he donated the stocks.
The filing did not disclose the name of the charity.
Late last year, the billionaire sold US$16.4 billion worth of shares after polling Twitter users about offloading 10 percent of his stake in the electric carmaker.
He tweeted last year that he would pay more than US$11 billion in taxes in 2021 due to his exercise of stock options set to expire this year.
He also traded barbs with politicians Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren who called on wealthy people to pay more taxes.
Analysts have said there would be a tax benefit for Musk potentially gifting Tesla stock. This is because shares that are donated to charity are not subject to capital gains tax, as they would be if they were sold.
"His tax benefit would be huge. He'd save between 40 percent and 50 percent of the US$5.7 billion in tax, depending on whether he could take the deduction against his California income and he'd avoid the gains tax he would have to pay if he sold the stock," Bob Lord, an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies who studies tax policy, said.
He said Musk might have contributed the stock to intermediaries such as "donor-advised funds," not outright to charitable groups.
Tesla was not immediately available for comment.
Musk's public philanthropy gestures have so far trailed
other billionaires. Musk and Amazon.com Inc founder
Jeff Bezos have donated less than 1 percent of their net worth, whereas
Warren Buffett and George Soros had given away more than 20 percent of
their net worth as of early September, according to Forbes.
In 2001, he set up the Musk Foundation, offering grants for the "development of safe artificial intelligence to benefit humanity" among other causes, according to its website. Musk's foundation has over US$200 million in assets.
Earlier last year, Musk and his foundation offered to give US$100 million prizes to those who can come up with a technology to help remove carbon from the atmosphere. He said last year he was donating US$20 million to schools in Cameron County, Texas where a Space X rocket launch site is located and US$10 million to the city of Brownsville.