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Restricted Stock: Restricted Stock Units

Does this website's content on restricted stock also apply to restricted stock units (RSUs)?

Generally, yes, with two exceptions.

  1. With restricted stock units (RSUs) you cannot make a Section 83(b) election to be taxed on the value of the award at grant. Therefore, if you have RSUs, you can skip any of the content on Section 83(b).
  2. With RSUs you are not a shareholder until the actual delivery of the shares, so you do not have voting rights, and the company does not need to pay you any dividends that it may issue to shareholders.

Instead of doubling all of our content on restricted stock to substitute the phrase "restricted stock units" in otherwise identical text, we have fashioned our content on restricted stock to apply to RSUs as well. Assume our use of the term "restricted stock" includes RSUs unless the discussion involves either of the above two exceptions, or we specifically state that the text does not apply to RSUs (or applies only to RSUs).

RSU grants to executives sometimes include features that allow the deferral of taxation beyond vesting, which does not apply to restricted stock. Our site has a special section on RSUs to cover topics and issues that are unique to RSUs, and the differences between RSUs and restricted stock.

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