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stock options Archives - Help with mergers & acquisitions, raising capital, creating stock options and other equity plans

Posts Tagged ‘stock options’

Employee Stock Purchase Plans – Learning the Basics

 

Will your ESPP help you reel in some cash?

Will your ESPP help you reel in some cash?

Employee stock purchase plans and all that may be associated with them are tough topics to fully comprehend, and while each company may have their own individual plans and procedures, the core concepts remain traditionally the same. The most frequently asked questions arise when an employee is faced with participating in an employee stock purchase plan for the very first time. To help ensure that you have an understanding of the choices, we have compiled a list of common questions and answers with the help of Fidelity.com, covering all the core concepts associated with these plans. Read the rest of this entry »

Exercising a Stock Option – How do I do it?

Exercising options can money to someone's hands.

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Exercising a stock option can be just as confusing as the initial introduction into your employee stock option purchase plan. The terminology can be intimidating and the process can be tedious, but with the proper level of preparation and an attention to detail, it should be smooth sailing. When exercising a stock option there are three ways to do so, they are:

1. Cash: If you are exercising an option with this method, you must have enough money in your brokerage account to cover the cost of any applicable taxation and the exercise price.

2. Sell all: This method involves instructing your broker to sell all exercised shares and requires no out-of-pocket expenditure on the part of the optionee (you).

3. Sell to cover: This form of exercise is when some portion of exercised shares are sold. The amount sold is just enough to cover the option price and total taxes. The shares that are sold are given to a broker while the unsold shares are given to the optionee.

Here at Stock Connections, we specialize in employee stock options and equity compensation plans. If you or anyone you know is hoping to learn more about exercising stock options, feel free to contact us today. We are ready to help you understand your options and move forward.

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.

Photo Credit: Tax Credits

Rule 10b5-1: What Is It? Why Do I Care?

Do you understand your 10b-5 trading plan?

Rule 10b-5 was set forth by the SEC under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to allow insiders of a publicly traded corporation, like executives and board members, to have their own trading plan and invest in their own stock without any liability and avoid any charges of insider trading.

The qualifications for rule 10b-5 include that the individual must not be aware of any material non-public information, and the purchase must be made during an open window.  The rule 10b-5 trading plan also states that there should be detailed information of future plans to purchase or sell shares made by the individual at a time when the person has no knowledge of insider information. Furthermore, the individual must have documentation that shows all sales or purchases that were made in accordance with the preset trading plan. And of course, the plan must be adopted in good faith.  Read the rest of this entry »

Non-Qualified Stock Options – How Are They Different?

Will time bring you more money?

Employee stock options come in many forms and, because of the vast variety of option types, it can be very easy to become overwhelmed. Whether it is incentive stock options, restricted stock options, qualified or non-qualified stock options, each has its own set of rules, regulations and tax implications that need to be understood in order to fully capitalize upon the potential value of each option type. Understanding non-qualified stock options can be intimidating but our recent resource video will help get you all the answers you may be looking for.

What are non-qualified stock options?

Non-qualified stock options are a form of stock option that does not become taxable until the exercise date. This form of stock option is much simpler than qualified stock options because they do not meet all Internal Revenue Code requirements. Additionally, a non-qualified stock option can be granted to anyone, not just a company’s employee. Read the rest of this entry »

Stock Options – The Basics

 

How do I turn my stock options into cash?

Stock options can be a tricky thing to comprehend and the terminology associated with these options can be rather confusing as well. To help combat the confusion that many employees experience when issued stock options, we have created a series of videos to help our clients better understand the elements involved in various financial situations. Today, we introduce the basics of employee stock options and will delve into the terminology that defines the standards of stock option procedures. Read the rest of this entry »

Stock Option Taxation: A Quick Guide for Understanding

 

Don’t let taxes catch you off guard – Be prepared!

With all the various forms of employee stock options, we commonly hear questions concerning their taxation. When each option is taxed depends solely on the individual standards that each type of stock option has had set in place. In our recent video on taxation, we introduced a few of the common procedures that are used when determining what those stock option standards may be. First of all, it is important to point out that in the United States, there is no taxation of any form of equity when it is granted to you. The taxation that will occur is dependent upon the type of equity or stock option granted. Read the rest of this entry »

W-2 and Disqualifying Dispositions

What’s on your W-2?

Tax season is near and there are a few things all companies must know in order to be prepared. A qualifying disposition refers to the transferring, selling, gifting or exchanging of stock before the ISO has satisfied its holding period. But what is included in a W-2 in connection with a disqualifying disposition of shares acquired under incentive stock options?

According to My Stock Options, if incentive stock options are sold, gifted or transferred within one year of the exercise date or two years off the grant date, it is considered a Disqualifying Disposition. This happens because the employee is losing the tax benefits they would otherwise have with qualified dispositions if they had not sold, transferred or gifted the ISO. This, however, does not apply to incentive stock options that are transferred to a joint account with a spouse, transferred to a spouse in the event of a divorce, transferred from account to account (both owned by the recipient), or after the employee’s death. These are not considered dispositions.

How does this affect an employee’s W-2? If they decided to take the disqualifying disposition road, the company will report it on their W-2. Keep in mind that the company is also not required withholding Social Security taxes (FICA) if the employee purchases the stock or any income tax when they sell the stock. At this point, it is not considered capital gains and it is taxed as a regular income, which the employee is required to report on a W-2.

As described in Incentive Stock Options by William Perez, a disqualifying disposition can be taxed in two ways, “There will be compensation income (subject to ordinary income rates) and capital gain or loss (subject to the short-term or long-term capital gains rates).” Here are five steps to figure out the tax calculations of a disqualifying disposition.  Have questions about your stock options? We’d love to help! Contact us 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.

Image Credit: Phillip Taylor PT

Acquisition: What Happens After a Shift of Power? Part 6

Who will profit from your stock options?

In our last blog post, we continued to uncover aspects of a merger or acquisition that could impact the financial future of your employee stock options. We began discussing popular exchanges that could occur and introduced the cash exchange and exchange for buyer options. As an employee, a merger or an acquisition is nerve racking, it brings out insecurities because of the unknown and sparks a plethora of questions.

In our sixth and final installation, we will continue to discuss that burning question we introduced in parts one, two, three, four and five, “What will I get for my stock options?”  Read the rest of this entry »

Acquisition: What Happens After a Shift of Power? Part 4

Will you ever see a profit in an acquisition?

In our last blog post, we discussed vested and unvested options in relation to an impending acquisition. Today, in part four of our series, we will determine how terms of an acquisition deal, valuation and option conversion can affect your stock options during a shift of power.

Acquisition Terms:

When you are granted a plan for your stock options, be sure to review any and all clauses concerning potential shifts in power. This includes a merger or acquisition.  Your plan should always map out the conditions of any acquisition in relation to your stock options. However, the future of those options and what you may receive from an acquiring  company will be directly dependent upon the terms of the merger or acquisition deal.   Read the rest of this entry »

Acquisition: What Happens After a Shift of Power? Part 3

Is your money on the line?

We have recently introduced a few of the procedures for moving forward with stock options in a merger or acquisition. In parts one and two, we discussed vested and unvested options, acceleration mechanics and events and also conveyed the importance of understanding your stock option plan or individual grant agreement.

In part three, we will answer your questions by introducing how the terms of your merger or acquisition could affect the future of your stock options.  While your individual documents should grant you some insight, the future of your stock options depends heavily on the terms of your company’s unique merger or acquisition.

Vested options: There are multiple things that could happen to vested options and the final outcomes will occur according to how the merger or acquisition is structured.  Vested options could:

  • Remain unchanged (company must remain intact)
  • Rolled over into options for the buyer
  • Turned into cash payment upon cancelation

According to MyStockOptions.com, “Sometimes companies provide a choice to employees: Vested options are either cashed out or swapped for vested options in the acquirer. Depending on the structure of the acquisition, you may have to exercise your options before the deal closes. Your stock plan may provide the board the power to force an exercise. If so, you would receive whatever your company’s shareholders receive (e.g., cash, acquirer’s stock, or a combination) in exchange for their stock.”

Unvested options: As we discussed in our previous posts, the future of unvested options in a merger or acquisition is often uncertain. The purchasing company could simply make an exchange of the company’s options for their own, leaving things relatively unchanged or a new grant could be offered. It is also common for the acquiring company to grant stock options under their traditional plan; these typically resemble the packages for new hires. It is also possible, but unlikely, for options to be cashed out.

There are still multiple aspects of a merger or acquisition to understand before being able to fully comprehend the future of your stock options. Check back in a few days for part four. We will dive deeper into the topics of deal factors, valuation and option conversion.

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.

Photo Credit: V1ctor.

Acquisition: What Happens After a Shift of Power? Part Two

Will money ever make it to your hands?

In our last blog post, we began introducing the various aspects used to understand the question, “What happens to my stock options if a merger or acquisition occurs?” In part one, we discussed stock option plans, individual grant agreements and vested options. Today, in part two, we delve into unvested options, acceleration events and the mechanics of acceleration.

Unvested options: Unvested options are the concern of most employees working through a merger or acquisition. According to MyStockOptions.com, “Some plans provide latitude to your company’s board of directors (or its designated committee) to determine the specifics of any acceleration of unvested options. The agreements may provide the board with absolute discretion as to whether to accelerate the vesting at all. Alternatively, the stock plan documents may require acceleration.” But what is acceleration, you may ask? Acceleration events are provisions included within your plan that can accelerate the final outcomes of a merger or acquisition.

Acceleration events: The following are some of the common events that could trigger acceleration.

  • Hostile takeover – Over 50% of all board members are replaced
  • 40% or more of all company stock is purchased
  • An approved liquidation or dissolution occurrence
  • An approved sale of company assets

Acceleration mechanics: If acceleration occurs then the result and procedures will vary greatly. However, the acceleration typically occurs in one of two ways:

  • Partial acceleration
  • Immediate vesting of all remaining unvested options

When going through a merger or acquisition, there are bound to be a multitude of questions concerning stock options and their many aspects. Be sure to check back next week for another installation in the series as we dive deeper into the subject and introduce deal factors that could affect your options during a potential merger or acquisition.

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!

Photo Credit: V1ctor.

Acquisition: What Happens After a Shift of Power?

What will you get in liquidation?

Changes occur in corporate America every day and as an employee these changes can be intimidating, especially when they are related to the future of stock options during a merger or acquisition. In this multi-post blog series we will attempt to answer the age old question of, “What happens to my stock options?” In part one, we will introduce the first steps in understanding how stock options can be affected in a merger or acquisition.

Know the terms of your options: When you are given an initial plan for your stock options, you are basically given all the information you could possibly need for reference. Your individual grant agreement and your individual stock option plan will be the two resources you turn to for the details needed to move forward after a merger or acquisition occurs. Read the rest of this entry »

Funding College with Stock Options

Will you stock options lead to a degree?

Getting a college education is not an easy feat, especially now with the price of college tuition on the climb every semester. Most parents pay for college either with money from a savings account or they take out a bank loan. In both cases the money that you’re investing in your child’s higher education will put you in debt or wipe you clean. Have you thought of using stock options to pay for college?

There is a possibility of paying for college with restricted stock, employee stock options, employee stock purchase plans and other grants. This can directly relate to your ability to keep your retirement savings untouched. But first things  first, understanding the Kiddie Tax. Established in 1986, this tax is imposed on children up to 17 years of age. If the child has an income that is more than an annually set threshold, the rest of the money is taxed at the guardian’s tax rate. This law was put in place so that guardians would not give their children large amounts of money in the form of stock options as a ‘gift’. This was done to stop a loophole that otherwise would allow adults to exercise an option and be taxed in a much lower tax bracket.

In 2006, due to the TIPRA Act  (Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act), the ages stated in the Kiddie Tax were changed and extended to children under 19 and full time college students under the age of 24.

So what else is there to know? How about the three tax credits? They are the American Opportunity Credit, the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit and the Hope Scholarship Credit. According to Troy Onink, the best type of credit a parent or guardian should choose is the American Opportunity Tax Credit. This is because of the first $2000 of tuition expenses that qualify, the amount of credit equals 100%. Plus,  25% of the next paid expenses of $2000. This makes it the best because it credits $2500 a year per each qualified student. That’s compared to the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit, which is $2000, and the Hope Scholarship Credit, which is only $1800.

There you have it, now you’ll be able to send your children to college and be able to keep funding your retirement plan. It can all be done with the use of stock options when funding your children’s higher education. If you have any questions about stock options or what strategies you can use, give us a call.

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!

Image Credit: NazarethCollege

Restricted Stock – What Makes It Different?

Restricted Stock – What Makes It Different?

Restricted stock, not to be confused with restricted stock unit (RSU), is a type of stock that can be issued to any employee of the company. Restricted stock is also referred to as “letter stock” or “section 1244 stock” because of its regulations outlined by the SEC under section 1244 of the Internal Revenue Code. As its name implies, restricted stock has limitations attached to it when it is issued from the employer to the employee. Meaning, the stock is not fully transferable until certain conditions that are required have been met. Read the rest of this entry »

Stock Appreciation Rights – What Are They? Do I Want Them?

 

Are your SAR’S putting money in your pocket?

Employers have various ways of compensating and rewarding their employees and with the presence of employee stock options and all the various forms of equity compensation plans. Understanding all these methods of compensation is important. Stock appreciation rights are some of the most rewarding forms and today we will explain what they are, why you should want them and how they work.

What are they? Stock appreciation rights are an employee incentive granted by a company according to a pre-determined plan. These grants allow employees the chance to receive benefits and a bonus of sorts that is equal to the appreciation or increased value of a stock over a specified amount of time.

Why do I want them? Stock appreciation rights are highly desired due to the fact that unlike employee stock options, no exercise price is to be paid.  At the end of a given period, the dollar amount that makes up the appreciation value will be given to the employee in a lump sum or placed in a retirement fund. Each company’s procedures will vary, so consulting your own plan will give you the best understanding of how stock appreciation rights apply to you and your plan.

How do they work? Stock appreciation rights give employees the benefit of being involved in the company’s stock performance without being financially responsible for the risks. For example, an employer grants one employee 200 stock appreciation rights and over a pre-determined period of time the stock value increases by one hundred dollars per share. A simple equation will give you the total profit made from this increase; total stock appreciation rights multiplied by the increased value will equal the total take away. In this case, 200 x 100 = $20,000 profit that will be given directly to employee.

As you can see, stock appreciation rights can be an effective means of providing employees with bonuses. Each company’s plan will be different and here at Stock Connections we are equipped with tools to maximize your understanding of the plan you have been given and how the stock appreciation rights will be applied to you and your future financial decisions.

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!

 

Incentive Stock Options: Tax Return Tips and Tricks Part Two

Are you subject to AMT?

In our last blog post, we introduced basic tips for regular reporting procedures in relation to incentive stock options. In this blog post, we will delve deeper into the issue with an introduction to alternative minimum tax and relevant reporting standards. Let’s start by understanding the basics of the alternative minimum tax and who it applies to.

What is it? Alternative minimum tax is a system of taxation within the American tax system that was originally designed to keep the loop holes used by wealthy tax payers closed. These days, the alternative minimum tax expands taxable income and disallows common deductions within the middle class. Read the rest of this entry »

Employee Stock Purchase Plans – Understanding the Essentials Part 1

 

Photo Credit: AMagill

Employee stock purchase plans can hold immense financial purpose and benefit. Understanding the procedures and processes to properly capitalize upon the benefits of employee stock purchase plans is especially important.

This two part blog series will introduce four of the essentials for understanding employee stock purchase plans and will help better your financial experience. They first two essentials are:

  1. Know how to enroll and follow procedures: Employee stock purchase plans have very detailed rules for enrollment and they will differ with every company. Be sure to understand the procedures, forms and eligibility rules before enrolling in your own plan. Be conscious of what you are authorizing by signing these forms and enrolling into your plan. We also suggest being aware of enrollment dates with an understanding of an “election period” and “open enrollment.”
  1. Understand tax qualifications: There are multiple types of employee stock purchase plans and being mindful of both tax and non-tax qualified plans will help you understand your own employee stock purchase plan better. Having this understanding will also aid in the future filings of tax returns. Do your research and be proactive about educating yourself on all aspects of your plan and how your financial decisions can affect your taxations and general outcomes. Seek professional advice if necessary.

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!

Stock Options – 10 Rules for Effective Planning

Photo Credit: (vincent desjard)

Working in a job that offers stock options does not always mean that you work in the financial industry and understand those options. As you can imagine this can sometimes make managing stock options a highly complex and intimidating endeavor.

In this post we will introduce five of the ten rules that will help anyone grab hold of various simple strategies that could help you plan for the effective future of your stock options.

1. Set obtainable targets and goals: Stock options have been used as talent incentives for years and they should be treated with the value that they possess. Set goals for yourself and your stock options and then determine what you want to gain from a future sale of stock. These goals can be as simple as take my wife on vacation or buy my son a car etc. Read the rest of this entry »

5 Tax Return Mistakes to Avoid in 2012 – Part 2

 

Photo Credit: Images_of_Money

Many questions may arise when filing your taxes. In the previous part of this blog series we discussed three commonly made tax return mistakes. In this part, we’ll outline two more mistakes and what you can do to avoid them. Read the rest of this entry »

Stock Options – How to Avoid Common Mistakes

 

Photo Credit: Tax Credits

Stock options have the potential to show great reward and gain for employees who value them and are responsible with their grants. The end result of your stock option experience is directly dependent upon the amount of attention that is shown to the relevant details. Keep in mind that changes in the environment and in the climate can affect the value of your stock options.

There are a series of common occurrences that could impact your stock options. Be sure to educate yourself on these events so you can properly plan for your financial future. Your stock option agreement should have all the necessary information to further prepare yourself for the following situations, should they ever occur.

They are:

Termination: No one enjoys getting the boot at work, but if for some reason your employment is ended, it will be good to know how your personal stock options could be affected. Take this into consideration when questioning your employment.

Disability: Depending on your equity compensation plan and your individual stock options, your grants could be affected if you are unable to work due to injury or disability.

Market changes: A fluctuation in the stock market is to be expected; the value of stock options will commonly increase and decrease according to the market climate and can affect your exercise and sale timing. Your documents will have detailed information on your exercise options.

Divorce: Division of marital assets is not always something you can plan for. However, you can make yourself aware of your choices if the situation ever does occur.

Taxes: As with any equity compensation plan, there are specialized procedures for taxation. Each stock option will have various taxations, and in order to properly plan for any additional taxation or change in taxes, employees must be aware of the rules and standards set in place in relation to their equity compensations.

Change of control: Any shift of power, whether it be a merger or an acquisition can greatly affect a stock option plan and an employee’s options for exercise etc. Being familiar with the plan will prepare a stockholder for any change that may alter their options and will explain what they are able to do with their shares during a shift in power.

Here at Stock Connections, we specialize in equity compensation plans.  If you have any questions, we can help. Give us a call!

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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