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Elon Musk will likely pay the most taxes in U.S. history this year

The billionaire has been offloading Tesla stock this year, realizing massive profits.

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Image: KnowTechie

Elon Musk, the CEO of companies like Tesla and SpaceX and the world’s richest man, is finally going to pay some taxes this year. In fact, some estimate that the eccentric billionaire is going to have the largest tax bill in U.S. history this year, paying more than $8 billion to the federal government.

Okay, so this obviously won’t be the first time that Musk has paid taxes, but the numbers have been quite low. A recent ProPublica investigation revealed that Musk paid about $455 million in taxes from 2014 to 2018. During that time, his wealth grew by nearly $14 billion.

READ MORE: Elon Musk donated $5.7 billion in Tesla stock to charities last year

The report also shows that he paid no federal income taxes at all in 2018, mostly because he didn’t sell any of his Tesla shares that year. And selling some of those shares is exactly why Musk will have such a massive tax bill for this year.

After clapping back at U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren on Twitter a few days ago, Musk claimed that he would have a record-breaking tax bill this year. Earlier this week, Forbes confirmed Musk’s claims, estimating that the billionaire would owe a whopping $8.3 billion in federal taxes alone this year.

The tax bill comes this year as Musk realizes some of the wealth gains that he has established over the last decade.

The billionaire has been selling off Tesla stock at a rapid rate, netting him nearly $13 billion so far. Forbes estimates his tax bill could go much higher if Musk makes true on his promise to sell 10% of his Tesla stock this year.

Whether or not this is the highest tax bill in the history of the U.S. is still unknown, as the IRS is the only organization that has that information. But rich people have been using unrealized gains as a sort of tax haven for decades now, providing them with relatively low tax bills. Musk has realized a huge amount of gains in 2021, leading to an inevitable high tax bill.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at

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