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Musk expects tax rates to further increase next year. Image Credit: AFP

New York: Elon Musk, the world’s richest person, said that he will pay more than $11 billion in taxes this year, an amount that could constitute a record payment to the US Internal Revenue Service. The billionaire may face a tax bill of more than $10 billion for 2021 if he exercises all his options due to expire next year, calculations last week by Bloomberg News showed.

Selling Tesla shares

The unusually high levy comes after Musk, CEO of Tesla and Space X, exercised almost 15 million options and sold millions of shares to cover the taxes related to those transactions. That was following a Twitter poll last month when he asked followers whether he should sell 10 per cent of his stake in the electric carmaker, whose shares have rocketed more than 2,300 per cent over the past five years.

A report by ProPublica in June said Musk paid little income tax relative to his outsize wealth. However, he pushed back against that characterisation, saying he doesn’t draw a salary from either SpaceX or Tesla, and pays an effective tax rate of 53 per cent on stock options he exercises. He added that he expects that tax rate to increase next year.

Warren-Musk rift

Musk earlier this month said he will pay more taxes than any American in history this year. That was in response to another tweet from Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who used Musk’s Time Magazine ‘Person of the Year’ accolade to call him out on his taxes.