Elon Musk donated $5.74bn of Tesla shares to unnamed charity

The billionaire donated 5,044,000 shares in the electric cars and energy solutions company in November, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission

Elon Musk (Getty Images)
Elon Musk (Getty Images)

Elon Musk donated nearly $6bn of Tesla shares to charity last year, according to a filing with the US financial regulator.

The 50-year-old billionaire donated a total of 5,044,000 shares in the world’s most valuable car manufacturer to charity during a 10-day period in November, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday 14 February.

The donation was worth $5.74bn (£4.23bn), based on the closing price of Tesla shares on the dates in question, reports Reuters.

However, they are currently valued at $4.4bn following a decline in the share price of the company, according to The Times.

The name of the charity or charities Musk donated to were not revealed in the filing.

Analysts told Reuters there would be a tax benefit for Musk if he gifted Tesla stock because shares donated to charity are exempt from capital gains tax, unlike if they were sold.

“His tax benefit would be huge,” Bob Lord, an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, told Reuters.

“He’d save between 40 per cent and 50 per cent of the $5.7bn in tax, depending on whether he could take the deduction against his California income and hed avoid the gains tax he would have to pay if he sold the stock.”

The donation makes Musk the second-biggest donor in the US last year after Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates, who pledged $15bn to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Musk sold $16.4bn worth of shares following a Twitter poll in which he asked users about offloading a tenth of his stake in Tesla in November, according to Reuters.

In December, Musk said on Twitter that he would pay more than $11bn in taxes for 2021.

He made the comments after Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren said, also on Twitter, that Musk should “actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else” as she called for a change in the tax code.

Musk has previously fallen behind other billionaires in his philanthropic giving.

An October 2021 report by Forbes found that he had given away less than 1 per cent of his wealth – the same proportion as that given by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

In contrast, the article reported that billionaires including Warren Buffett, George Soros and Gordon Moore had all given away more than 20 per cent of their wealth.

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