Update: Elon Musk has been feuding with Elizabeth Warren and other critics who say he doesn't pay enough taxes. On Sunday night, Musk fought back with specifics: He tweeted that he will pay more than $11 billion this year, largely because he's sold a swath of his Tesla holdings. CNBC thinks Musk's estimate is about right. But is it, as he has claimed, the largest single tax bill in US history? Forbes notes that only the IRS can say for sure, but there's a good chance Musk is correct on that. Both sites also point out that Musk, rich as he is, paid no taxes at all in 2018, per a ProPublica investigation. Our original story from Dec. 15 follows:
As richest man alive Elon Musk was unveiled as Time's person of the year, Elizabeth Warren took the opportunity to call attention to his tax habits. "Let's change the rigged tax code so The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else," the Democratic senator from Massachusetts tweeted Monday, alongside a mock Time cover, created by Americans for Tax Fairness, with "TAX ME" over a photo of Musk, who reportedly paid no federal income tax in 2018, per Business Insider. It didn't take long for Musk to hit back. "Stop projecting," he tweeted Tuesday, sharing a 2019 opinion article by political consultant Bradley Blakeman, who'd labeled Warren a "fraud" over her claims of Native American ancestry, per Fox Business.
"You remind me of when I was a kid and my friend's angry Mom would just randomly yell at everyone for no reason," Musk, worth some $297 billion, went on, adding. "Please don't call the manager on me, Senator Karen." Still not done, Musk noted: "And if you opened your eyes for 2 seconds, you would realize I will pay more taxes than any American in history this year." Then, "don't spend it all at once … oh wait you did already." Musk has previously taken aim at Senate Democrats behind a proposal to have the richest 700 Americans pay taxes on unrealized gains on assets like stocks, even if they don't sell them, which is estimated to cost him $50 billion in the first five years. Other targets have included Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. (Read more Elon Musk stories.)