Musk donated over $5.7 billion in Tesla stock to charity in November

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk speaks alongside the company’s latest Model S during the Model S Beta event held at Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California, October 1, 2011. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo

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SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 14 (Reuters) – Tesla CEO Elon Musk donated a total of 5,044,000 shares in the world’s most valuable automaker to charity from November 19 to November 29 last year. ) on Monday afternoon.

The donation was valued at $5.74 billion, based on the closing prices of Tesla stock in the five days he donated the shares.

The filing did not reveal the name of the charity.

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Late last year, the billionaire sold $16.4 billion worth of stock after polling Twitter users about offloading 10% of his stake in the electric car maker.

He tweeted last year that he will pay more than $11 billion in taxes in 2021 due to his exercise of stock options that are set to expire this year.

He also exchanged barbs with politicians Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who called on the wealthy to pay more taxes.

Analysts said there would be a tax benefit on gifting the Tesla stock holder. This is because shares that are donated to charities are not subject to capital gains tax, as if they were sold.

“His tax benefit would be huge. He would have saved between 40% and 50% of $5.7 billion in taxes, depending on whether he could take the deduction from his California income and that he would avoid the dividend tax he would have to pay,” said Bob Lord, Associate Fellow at the Institute of Policy studies who studies tax policy, if he sells a stock.

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He said Musk may have contributed stock to brokers such as “donor-advised funds,” not directly to charitable groups.

Tesla was not immediately available for comment.

musk foundation

Musk’s public philanthropic initiatives have so far trailed other billionaires. Musk and Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, have donated less than 1% of their net worth, while Warren Buffett and George Soros have donated more than 20% of their net worth as of early September, according to Forbes magazine.

In 2001, he founded the Musk Foundation, which provides grants for “the development of safe artificial intelligence for the benefit of humanity” among other causes, according to its website. The Musk Foundation has more than $200 million in assets.

Earlier last year, Musk and his foundation offered to award $100 million in prizes to whoever could devise technology to help remove carbon from the atmosphere. And last year he said he donated $20 million to schools in Cameron County, Texas where the SpaceX launch site is located, and $10 million to the city of Brownsville.

Musk was also courting more ambitious charitable goals. He tweeted last year, “If (the UN World Food Program) could describe…exactly how you would solve $6 billion in world hunger, I would sell Tesla stock now and do it.”

Musk was responding to a plea for donations from David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Program.

In January of last year, he asked Twitter users about “the ways to donate money that really make a difference (in a way that’s harder than it sounds).”

(Additional reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco.) Editing by Kim Kogel and Raju Gopalakrishnan

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