Elon Musk gave $5.7bn of Tesla shares to charity

Founder of electric car maker becomes America’s second-biggest donor after Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates

Elon Musk donated more than 5 million shares in the world’s most valuable car maker to a charity. AFP
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Tesla founder and chief executive Elon Musk has donated more than 5 million shares in the world’s most valuable car maker to a charity.

The gift came weeks after he pledged to sell some of his shares in the company to end world hunger if the United Nations could provide evidence it could solve the crisis and how the money will be spent.

The donation of shares made from November 19 to November 29 last year was worth $5.74 billion, based on the average closing prices of Tesla shares on the five days that he donated the stock, the company’s filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday said.

An unidentified trust was involved in the transaction and the filing did not disclose the name of the charity.

The donation ranks Mr Musk as America’s second-biggest donor after Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates last year, data from the Chronicle of Philanthropy shows.

The world’s richest man, who has a net worth of $227bn, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index says, sold $16.4bn worth of shares after polling Twitter users about offloading 10 per cent of his stake in Tesla, the electric car maker, in early November.

The billionaire businessman revealed that he intended to sell a large portion of his stock in the fourth quarter at the 2021 Code Conference in September.

In the same month, he established a pre-arranged trading plan to carry out “an orderly sale of shares related to the exercise of stock options”, filings reveal, but the Twitter poll on November 6 did not disclose the existence of that plan.

On December 20, Mr Musk tweeted that he would pay more than $11bn in taxes in 2021 amid criticism that the world’s wealthiest person was not paying enough.

Analysts interviewed by Reuters and Bloomberg said there would be a tax benefit for Mr Musk potentially donating Tesla stock since shares donated to charity are not subject to capital gains tax, as they would be if sold.

Mr Musk could owe more than $10bn to the US Internal Revenue Service, triggered by his exercise of an unusually large number of options in 2021, Bloomberg calculated in December.

Updated: February 15, 2022, 11:21 AM
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