Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk on Sunday said that he will pay more than $11 billion in taxes this year after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called on him to stop “freeloading off everyone else.”
“For those wondering, I will pay over $11 billion in taxes this year,” Musk wrote on Twitter.
Musk’s post came after Warren earlier this week said that the businessman should pay taxes and stop “freeloading off everyone else” after Time magazine named him its “person of the year.”
“Let’s change the rigged tax code so The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else,” Warren, who on Sunday announced she had tested positive for COVID-19, wrote on Twitter on Dec. 13.
The Tesla CEO responded to Warren with, “And if you opened your eyes for 2 seconds, you would realize I will pay more taxes than any American in history this year.”
“Don’t spend it all at once … oh wait you did already,” he added.
Musk is the world’s richest person with an estimated net worth of $244.2 billion, according to Forbes’ real-time billionaire’s list, placing him ahead of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos who is at second place with a net worth of $195.9 billion.
Musk has sold nearly $14 billion worth of Tesla stock since November and the electric vehicle maker is worth about $1 trillion.
The stock sales came after the Tesla CEO conducted a poll among his Twitter followers on Nov. 6, asking them whether he should sell 10 percent in an effort to cover tax withholding obligations, also known as the “billionaires’ tax”.
Musk does not receive a salary and is compensated through a stock options plan, which he was awarded in 2012, and thus faces a tax bill in the billions.
“I will abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes,” Musk said, before informing his Twitter followers: “I do not take a cash salary or bonus from anywhere. I only have stock, thus the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stock.”
The response to that poll was a resounding “yes” from his followers, although it was reported that the plan to sell off the stocks had been set in motion months before the poll was held.
Last week, Forbes estimated that Musk likely owes the federal government at least $8.3 billion for this year.
According to a ProPublica investigation published in June that cited confidential tax records, Musk has paid little or no income tax in recent years.
Between 2014 and 2018, the South African native paid a total of $455 million, which represents 3.27 percent of his wealth, in federal income taxes, while his personal wealth rose by more than $13 billion. In 2018, the businessman paid no federal income taxes at all, according to the report.
As of Monday, Tesla’s stock was valued at $932.57.