Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently threw a quick counter towards US Senator Elizabeth Warren, who reiterated her argument that billionaires do not pay taxes. Fresh off his $11 billion tax bill in 2021 and his $5 billion donation to charity, Musk seemed to be in the mood to throw some shade against the senator.
Musk responded to a video of Warren from a CNN interview last week. During the interview, the politician stated that Musk pays “zero” in taxes, and that billionaires like Musk and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos use stocks as a workaround to avoid paying their fair share. Warren also argued that it should not be “optional” for billionaires to pay taxes.
“I believe that billionaires ought to be paying taxes, and it shouldn’t simply be optional. You know, what we’ve now seen is both giant corporations and billionaires have enough tricks in the tax code, but part of what happens right now, is that, for example, Elon Musk in 2018, we’ve actually seen his tax returns.
“You know how much he paid in taxes, one of the richest people in the world? Zero. And he’s not the only one. Jeff Bezos, he pays less in taxes than a public school teacher or firefighter… They do this because they’re only being taxed on income. They very cleverly make sure they have no official income… It’s just not right,” Warren said.
Sharply bringing up the fact that he paid a whopping $11 billion in taxes last year following his sale of Tesla stock, Musk opted to refute the senator’s claims. Musk noted that he not only pays taxes, he also made history last year by making the single largest tax payment for an individual in the United States. The Tesla CEO also joked that he should probably visit the IRS next time he’s in DC since he could probably at least have a cookie for his $11 billion tax bill last year.
“Will visit IRS next time I’m in DC just to say hi, since I paid the most taxes ever in history for an individual last year. Maybe I can have a cookie or something,” Musk wrote. The Tesla CEO also issued a rebuttal for Warren’s claims that he did not pay taxes in 2018, with Musk stating that this was due to an overpayment in 2017. “The only reason I didn’t pay federal tax in 2018 is because I overpaid in 2017! Since they stole my tax records, they actually know that,” Musk added.
Elon Musk and Senator Warren have been in a Twitter feud of sorts following the senator’s accusations last year that the Tesla CEO, who was just named TIME’s Person of the Year, was “freeloading off everyone else.” Warren followed this up with a social media campaign asking her supporters for funds so that she can push people like Musk to pay their fair share. Musk, for his part, took the gloves off as well, dubbing the politician, among other things, as “Senator Karen” on Twitter.
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