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Annotated diagram of Schedule DTax errors can be costly! Don't draw unwanted attention from the IRS. Our Tax Center explains and illustrates the tax rules for sales of company stock, W-2s, withholding, estimated taxes, AMT, and more.

Basics: Grants

What is a stock grant agreement? Do I need to accept it?

A stock grant agreement is a form your company uses to grant you an equity award. Grant agreements can be in the form of printed certificates or letters or online documents. For details about grant provisions and how to find examples, see a related FAQ.

Although grant agreements have standard provisions for all participants, the size of grants and the specific terms can differ among individuals at a company (see a related FAQ on what provisions are negotiable). They also contain terms that are specific to you, such as noncompete provisions. Exercises prices (for options) and specific vesting dates vary according to the time of the grants. Some companies require you to sign and return the agreement, either in printed form or online.

Alert: You may need to formally accept the grant with a print or online signature. If you do not, you may forfeit the grant. Alternatively, your ability to exercise options or receive awarded shares upon vesting may be suspended until you have formally accepted the grant. The court cases Newell Rubbermaid v. Storm and ADP v. Lynch and Halpin clearly indicate that online "clickwrap" agreements are enforceable. You need to also read your company's stock plan. The grant agreement will not contain all the terms that apply to your grant.
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