In a very public example of the unintended consequences of tax policy (or even potential policy), unconventional entrepreneur and multi-billionaire Elon Musk has let Twitter followers decide whether he should sell 10% of his stake in Tesla!
Whilst it does sound crazy, it is seen as a protest against the proposed tax policy of the Democrats to tax 'unrealised' gains on shares. Musk makes a great point in his Twitter posts - he doesn't take a salary, so how can he pay the tax on his capital gains unless he realises some cash!
The issue for capital markets, especially after a number of significant IPO's in the US, is that this could create some turbulence in the share prices of entrepreneurial listed businesses, where founders are sat on significant unrealised gains. As the BBC article states, the SEC in the US hasn't made any formal comment, but how does this use of Twitter protect other shareholders who are susceptible to equity price changes as well as short sellers (anyone remember GameStop??).
Above all, this is a great reminder of how tax influences real behaviour, and the consequences are not always foreseen!
For now, let's see whether Musk goes through with his pledge to follow the outcome of the vote!
Tesla shares have fallen by about 4.6% after Twitter users voted in favour of boss Elon Musk selling 10% of his stake in the carmaker in order to pay tax. Mr Musk polled his Twitter followers on whether he should sell the shares, and 58% of the 3.5 million accounts that voted said he should. It could see him dispose of nearly $21bn (£16bn) of stock. Mr Musk held the poll over the weekend in response to a "billionaires tax" proposed by US Democrats. Mr Musk - who is one of the world's richest people - pledged that he would abide by the results of the poll, "whichever way it goes". The Democrats had proposed plans to target billionaires by taxing their assets, such as shares.