Tesla's Elon Musk says he'll pay US$11 billion in taxes this year

Elon Musk and his son
The eccentric CEO has sold US$14 billion of shares in the last few weeks. Photo credit: Getty Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he will pay more than US$11 billion (NZ$16.4 billion) in taxes this year after a series of share sales.

The controversial billionaire made the claim on Twitter after facing criticism from US Senator Elizabeth Warren for not paying his fair share.

"Let's change the rigged tax code so The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else," Warren wrote.

That drew multiple responses from Musk, the world's richest man with an estimated fortune of US$244 billion.

"You remind me of when I was a kid and my friend's angry mom would just randomly yell at everyone for no reason," he wrote.

"And if you opened your eyes for two seconds, you would realise I will pay more taxes than any American in history this year."

He followed those up by later stating he will pay more than US$11 billion after selling more than US$14 billion of Tesla shares in the last few weeks.

But if Musk thought he was going to get much sympathy for his high tax bill, he was wrong,

Replies to his tweet pointed out that his tax bill was less than five percent of his net worth and that, proportionally, many people paid more. 

"Less than a third of what you made in a day. $11 billion is a lot to most people, but to you it's probably how much you think a roll of toilet paper costs," one wrote.

"For those wondering, I think it's quite fair that people pay taxes for the income that has been made possible by heavy government subsidies," tweeted another.

A ProPublica investigation earlier this year said Musk had paid next to nothing in income taxes in recent years.

According to Forbes, between 2014 and 2018 he paid US$455 million in federal taxes as his personal wealth rose by $13 billion, but paid no income taxes at all in 2018.