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Employee Stock Options

Employee Stock Options

What exactly is an ISO?

Employee stock options, as explained last week, are stock options that are offered to employees from their employer. Businesses often grant employees a share of the company’s stock. While the different stock options they give may seem confusing, we are here to ensure that the process is as clear and simple as possible. Today, we will talk about one kind of employee stock option called an incentive stock option.

What is an incentive stock option? Let us define it…

Incentive Stock Option: An incentive stock option, or ISO for short, is a stock option that is only available to employees. This exclusiveness comes with both pros and cons. This option will not affect your income tax if the shares are held for at least two years from the grant date and one year from the date of exercise.

What are the grant date and exercise date?

The grant date is the date that the company grants an employee the shares of the incentive stock. The exercise date is the date that the employee exercises their ability to purchase the shares of the incentive stock.

What if I do not wish to hold the stock for the two year time period?

If an employee who purchases the incentive stock seeks to sell the stock back before the two year period is over, then any gain on the incentive stock is taxed as regular income. The tax gain must be reported on an employee’s W2 form.

What if I sell the stock after the two year mark?

Taxes are due in the year that the sale takes place. If the incentive stock is held for over a calendar year, the employee must record the value of stock on the original exercise date. This value should be reflected in an employee’s AMT (alternative minimum tax) calculation.

We hope this was helpful in deciding if an incentive stock option is best for you. Keep in mind that there are a multitude of other employee stock options. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have. If you or anyone else you know is hoping to learn more about an incentive stock option, or employee stock options plan, then we urge you to contact Stock Connections, today.

Stock Connections specializes in working with San Francisco Bay Area companies that are involved in mergers & acquisitions, are raising capital, or creating stock option or other equity plans. We help start-up, private and public firms become – and remain – SEC-compliant. Stock Connections’ services are designed to help both start-ups and established firms comply with SEC and other regulations in their equity compensation programs. If you or anyone you know is looking to get involved with any of the above, we encourage you to contact us today.

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