Elon Musk acaba de hacer que un movimiento complicado parezca fácil. Le da una gran ventaja

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Hablemos de Elon Musk: dónde vive, qué acaba de cambiar y por qué podría importar.

Primero, el trasfondo. Musk creció en Sudáfrica, se mudó a Canadá a la edad de 17 años y logró su destino de inmigración cuando fue a la universidad en los Estados Unidos en 1992. Se convirtió en ciudadano estadounidense una década después.

Musk ha cantado las alabanzas de Estados Unidos desde entonces.

«Recuerdo haber pensado y visto que las grandes cosas son posibles en Estados Unidos», dijo Musk una vez, «más que en cualquier otro país del mundo».

En los Estados Unidos, Musk estuvo en Pensilvania, luego brevemente en la Universidad de Stanford antes de partir para comenzar sus negocios en Silicon Valley. Como resultado, parece probable que haya sido residente de California desde entonces, al menos hasta la decisión que publicó la semana pasada.

«Me mudé a Texas por mi cuenta», confirmó Musk durante una entrevista con el Wall Street Journal.

Citó dos razones: expandir las operaciones de Tesla y SpaceX en Texas y la idea de que California simplemente tiene demasiadas regulaciones y restricciones comerciales.

Pero hay otro enorme beneficio potencial que Musk obtiene al residir legalmente en Texas ahora: no hay impuesto estatal sobre la renta o impuesto sobre las ganancias de capital para las personas en el estado de Lone Star.

En comparación, California tiene la tasa impositiva estatal más alta del país, 13,3 por ciento en la parte superior, además de los impuestos federales sobre la renta.

Ahora estoy un poco seguro de que Musk tiene su base técnica en Texas. Es una cuestión legal que se reduce a si él puede «pasar la prueba del oso de peluche», como dicen los abogados fiscales y los contadores.

Honestamente, eso es lo que hace que este tipo de movimiento sea muy difícil para alguien como Musk, aunque parece que lo logró de manera metódica y sencilla.

Durante el año pasado, Musk tomó una serie de acciones legales y relacionadas con la propiedad. Si eso es suficiente para demostrar que se ha desconectado de su base en el Estado Dorado, esto lo ayudará. un beneficio particularmente «enorme» (o «gigantesco» o cualquier otra palabra texana que le gustaría).

Depende de cómo le paguen. Por ejemplo, en Tesla, Musk recibe un salario esencialmente no normal, pero opciones de acciones masivas, un acuerdo que lo ha etiquetado como alguien con «finanzas personales confusas»: un multimillonario que durante los últimos años ha afirmado que tenía poco efectivo según los registros judiciales. . «

Según los informes, Tesla literalmente no tuvo ingresos de Tesla en unos pocos años como CEO, según Musk.

Pero a medida que la empresa crece y su valor alcanza múltiples objetivos, Musk calificará para miles de millones de dólares en opciones, lo suficiente para saltar al número 2 en la lista más rica del mundo este año. (Más sobre esto en un segundo.)

Musk también señaló que Tesla y SpaceX serán los últimos grandes fabricantes de automóviles y aeroespaciales en California.

«Solía ​​haber más de una docena de fábricas de automóviles en California, y California solía ser el centro de la industria aeroespacial», dijo Musk durante la entrevista. «Mis empresas son las dos últimas que quedan».

(El video completo de la entrevista de Musk está incrustado al final de esta columna).

De cara al futuro, la compensación de Musk está muy atrasada, con informes que dicen que podría ser elegible para un pago de 50 mil millones de dólares en 2028 si Tesla alcanza sus objetivos.

Ahora estoy seguro de que Musk tiene los mejores asesores fiscales posibles y no me avergonzaré tratando de hacer cálculos complejos para sus futuras facturas fiscales en un breve artículo en línea.

Pero imagínese si Musk tuviera su sede en California cuando recibió ese pago de $ 50 mil millones. La ley de impuestos estatales fácilmente podría llegar a miles de millones. Conozco a mucha gente que se mudaría por mucho menos.

Esto nos lleva a una pregunta más existencial: cuando hablamos de personas con una riqueza tan alta, ¿agregar más miles de millones de dólares cambia sus vidas de manera notable?

Estoy seguro de que nunca sabré de primera mano la respuesta a esta pregunta. Pero Musk lo sabe.

Y aunque no sé si a Musk le importa ser la segunda persona más rica del planeta, dime, si eres el número 2, ¿no quieres ser el número 1?

El titular actual de este título: Jeff Bezos, que vive en el estado de Washington exento de impuestos.

Bill Gates, # 3, también vive allí.

Esto significa que ambos tenían una gran ventaja al competir por acumular riqueza. Y si Musk realmente se mudó a Texas, eso significa que también lo tendrá ahora.

Aquí está el video de la entrevista de Musk en el que anunció el movimiento.

Las opiniones expresadas por los columnistas de Inc.com aquí son las suyas propias, no las de Inc.com.

He cited two reasons: growing Tesla and SpaceX operations in Texas, and the idea that California simply has too many regulations and business restrictions.

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But, there is also another enormous potential advantage that Musk gets if he's now a legal resident of Texas: namely that there is no state income tax or capital gains tax for individuals in the Lone Star State.

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California, by comparison, has the highest state tax rate in the country, 13.3 percent at the top, in addition to federal income taxes.

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Now, I'm hedging slightly on whether Musk is actually, technically, a Texas resident; that's a legal question that comes down to whether he can "pass the teddy bear test," as tax lawyers and accountants put it. 

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Frankly that's what makes this kind of move very tricky for someone like Musk--although it looks as if he might have pulled it off methodically and easily. 

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Over the past year or so, Musk made a series of legal and real estate moves, and if they're sufficient to demonstrate he's cut off ties with his base in the Golden State, it will give him an especially "enormous" advantage (or "gigantic," or any other Texas-sized word you'd like).

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It comes down to how he gets paid. For example, at Tesla, Musk gets basically zero ordinary salary, but massive stock options, an arrangement that has left him described as someone with "perplexing personal finances--a multibillionaire who in past years has claimed he was cash poor, according to court records."

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In some years, according to reports, Tesla has said Musk as CEO had literally zero Tesla income.

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But as the company grows, and its value hits various targets, Musk qualifies for multibillion-dollar options, enough this year to mean he's jumped to number 2 on the list of the world's wealthiest people. (More on that in a second.)

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Musk also made the point that Tesla and SpaceX are the last significant car and aerospace manufacturers in California.   

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"There used to be over a dozen car plants in California, and California used to be center of aerospace manufacturing," Musk emphasized during the interview. "My companies are the last two left."

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(The full video of Musk's interview is embedded at the end this column.)

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As we look to the future, Musk's compensation is reportedly very back-loaded: In 2028, according to reports, he'd be potentially be entitled to a $50 billion payout if Tesla meets its targets.

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Now, I'm confident that Musk has the best possible tax accountants, and I'm not going to embarrass myself by trying to do complex calculations on his future tax bills in a short online article.

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But, imagine if Musk were a California resident when he received that $50 billion payout. The state tax bill could easily be billions. I know a lot of people who would move for a lot less than that. 

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This brings us to a rather existential question: When we're talking about people with such high net worths, does adding yet another few billion dollars appreciably change their lives?

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I'm confident I will never learn the answer to that question, firsthand. But Musk knows.

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And while I don't know if being the second-wealthiest person on the planet matters to Musk, you tell me: If you were ranked #2, wouldn't you want to be #1?

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The current holder of that title: Jeff Bezos, who lives in tax-free Washington State.

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Bill Gates, #3, lives there, too. 

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That means that in the wealth accumulation contest, such as it is, they've both had a big advantage. And if Musk has truly moved to Texas, it means he'll have it now, too.

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Here's the video of Musk's interview, in which he announced the move.

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