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Elon Musk donated $5.7 billion in Tesla stock to charity in 2021, filing says

Move may have saved Musk billions in taxes
Elon Musk Tesla
Posted at 10:07 AM, Feb 15, 2022

Tesla CEO Elon Musk donated about $5.7 billion worth of Tesla shares to charity late last year, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that was made public on Monday.

According to CNN, Musk donated 5,044,000 shares of Tesla stock between Nov. 19 and Nov. 29. At the time, Tesla's stock was trading at more than $1,000 a share.

The filing did not note to whom or what charity Musk gave the stock.

Musk does have his own charity, the Musk Foundation, which claims to be committed to "renewable energy," "pediatric research," and "science and engineering education," among other causes. However, its extremely bare-bones website offers no details about how it raises or spends its funds.

According to CNBC, a charitable donation of Tesla stock would have given Musk shelter from paying capital gains tax. One analyst told the outlet that Mus would have saved "between 40% ad 505% of the $5.7 billion in tax."

CNN reports that Musk was the second-biggest charitable donor in the U.S. in 2021, trailing behind Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates, who gave $15 billion.

Musk's donation came the same month that he caused a stir by promising to sell 10% of his Tesla stock after polling his followers on Twitter. He later followed through on that promise.

That sale was likely tied to a looming $15 billion tax bill that Musk was facing due to how his wealth is tied to Tesla stock awards and the loans he had taken out using those shares as collateral.

The sale also came amid several high-profile social media disputes with Democratic lawmakers who proposed changes to the U.S. code that would increase taxes on the ultra-rich.