Tesla CEO Elon Musk donated 5,044,000 shares in the world’s most valuable automaker to charity from November 19 to November 29, 2021, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday.
Based on the closing prices of Tesla shares on the five days he gave the equities, the contribution was worth $5.74 billion. The name of the charity was not disclosed in the application.
Late last year, the billionaire sold $16.4 billion in shares after polling Twitter followers about selling 10% of his investment in the electric vehicle manufacturer.
He tweeted last year that he will pay more than $11 billion in taxes in 2021 due to exercising stock options that are supposed to expire this year.
He also slammed senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren for calling on the rich to pay more taxes.
According to analysts, Musk would be a tax gain if he gave Tesla shares as a donation. This is because shares donated to charity are not subject to capital gains tax, as they would be if sold.
“His tax benefit would be huge. He’d save between 40% and 50% of the $5.7 billion in tax, depending on whether he could take the deduction against his California income. In addition, 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 speculated that Musk may have given the shares through mediators like “donor-advised funds” rather than directly to charity organizations.
So far, Musk’s public humanitarian efforts have lagged behind those of other billionaires. According to Forbes, Musk and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos have contributed less than 1% of their net wealth, whereas Warren Buffett and George Soros have given away more than 20% of their net worth as of early September.
According to its website, Musk founded the Musk Foundation in 2001 to provide funds towards the “development of safe artificial intelligence to benefit humanity,” among other objectives. Musk’s charity is worth more than $200 million.
Earlier this year, Musk and his organization offered $100 million in rewards to anybody who could develop a system to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Last year, he announced a $20 million donation to schools in Cameron County, Texas, and a $10 million donation to the City of Brownsville.
Musk has also dabbled with greater charity ambitions. Last year, he tweeted, “If (the UN World Food Program) can describe exactly how $6 billion will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock right now and do it.”
In January 2021, he solicited Twitter followers for suggestions on “ways to donate money that really make a difference (way more difficult than it appears).”