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Articles

Incentive Stock Options: What You Must Know To Make The Most Of ISOs And Avoid Costly Mistakes This is premium content

Incentive stock options (ISOs) are potentially quite valuable. However, they are more rule-bound, complex, and risky than nonqualified stock options (NQSOs). In fact, mistakes with ISOs can be quite costly. This article explains the essential facts of ISOs that you must know at the time of grant, before you exercise the options, and when you sell the shares.

VIDEO! Incentive Stock Options (ISOs): Taxes

To make the most of incentive stock options (ISOs), you must understand their tax fundamentals, explained by the editor-in-chief of myStockOptions.com in this engaging video.

IRS Form 3921 For Incentive Stock Options: What You Need To Know, And How It Can Help You Understand ISO Taxation This is premium content

Incentive stock option (ISO) exercises made during a calendar year are reported to you and the IRS on Form 3921 early in the following year. This article explains what you need to know about the information on the form, and how the form can help you better understand the complexities of ISO taxation.
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Stock Option Fundamentals (Part 5): Incentive Stock Option Taxation & Alternative Minimum Tax This is premium content

Learn how and when income from ISOs is subject to taxes, including the alternative minimum tax. You must consider taxes at both exercise and sale to put together an optimal strategy.

Living And Working In Multiple States: Challenges For Mobile Employees In The USA This is premium content

Podcast included! Moving between US states, whether to relocate permanently, travel for business, or retire, can involve tax complications for people who have stock compensation. This article presents the tax issues that you may encounter when you leave your home office and cross a state line.

Final ISO Regulations Affect Stock Plan Design, Optionholders, And Advisors (Part 1) This is premium content

The final rules clarify and consolidate a tangle of proposed, temporary, and final regulations, as well as other guidance, that governed the taxation of ISOs, including rules for disqualifying dispositions.

Final ISO Regulations Affect Stock Plan Design, Optionholders, And Advisors (Part 2) This is premium content

The final rules clarify and consolidate a tangle of proposed, temporary, and final regulations, as well as other guidance, that governed the taxation of ISOs, including rules for the $100,000 ISO limit.

Treasury And IRS Regulations For Incentive Stock Options

The final IRS regulations on ISOs, last modified in 2004, clarified points that are of greater concern to ISO-granting companies than to individual optionholders and advisors (they did not affect the basic tax structure or the AMT treatment). However, for the purposes of ISO-related financial planning, the rules do clarify certain advanced topics, such as the wash sale rule, stock swaps, transfers to trusts, and transfers in divorce, and they confirm current interpretations and practices. A detailed discussion about the background of the final ISO regulations occurs in the text of the proposed regulations.

Taxable And Nontaxable Income: IRS Publication 525

Internal Revenue Service
This IRS publication explains the tax treatment of many kinds of income, including that from NQSOs, ISOs, and restricted stock/RSUs.

IRS Instructions For Form 6251: Alternative Minimum Tax

The line-by-line instructions explain how the AMT is calculated and what the IRS expects on the form, including the adjustment for ISO exercises.

FAQs

What are the tax consequences of exercising an ISO?

ISO taxation is complex. The tax impact depends on when you sell or transfer the stock...

How am I taxed on my gain from a sale of stock that I acquired in an ISO exercise? This is premium content

First: Remember that the sale of ISO stock will raise AMT implications (alternative minimum tax). Second: The matter depends on how long you hold the stock...

What do I need to know about the information on IRS Form 3921 for incentive stock options? This is premium content

Your company is required to file Form 3921 with the IRS and either give you a copy or present the same information on a substitute document. With this reporting, the IRS now knows more information about your ISO exercises than it did before, particularly with regard to...
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Will I receive information statements from my company about ESPP purchases or option exercises? Will I receive Form 3922 or Form 3921? This is premium content

Companies make some information available voluntarily, while the reporting of other information is mandatory. Section 6039(a) of the Internal Revenue Code requires companies to send an information statement to employees who have exercised incentive stock options or have made purchases in a tax-qualified Section 423 employee stock purchase plan. ISO exercises are reported on IRS Form 3921. ESPP purchases are reported on IRS Form 3922...

Do you have a brief overview of the tax treatment for stock options, restricted stock, RSUs, and ESPPs? This is premium content

The table in this FAQ shows the types of taxes, when they are triggered, and the tax withholding (if any) for various forms of equity compensation granted in the United States. For details, examples, and illustrations...

Has recent legislation changed the taxation of incentive stock options? This is premium content

Not directly. However, the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) introduced three provisions on the alternative minimum tax (AMT) calculation that are important for high-income taxpayers...

What is the alternative minimum tax?

Running parallel to the regular tax system, the alternative minimum tax (AMT) was designed to require extremely wealthy people to pay their fair share of taxes when credits and deductions could otherwise reduce or eliminate their tax liabilities. However, the reach of the AMT has expanded over time to hit middle-income people it was never intended to tax...

2017 UPDATES! Are there guidelines for calculating AMT trigger points? For example, if my spouse and I earn $200,000 per year, will we trigger the AMT when I exercise ISOs? This is premium content

People who live in high-tax states and itemize tax deductions, or who have significant personal exemptions, can easily owe more in AMT than in regular taxes, particularly if they exercise and hold ISOs with a big spread. The figures in the table below estimate the tipping point...

If I move to another country to work, will I still have to pay US taxes on option exercises, restricted stock vesting, and stock sales? Can I avoid double taxation? This is premium content

The United States taxes the worldwide income of US citizens regardless of whether the income arises from activities in the US. In addition, the other country may impose taxes too. But the US has tax treaties with certain nations to help taxpayers avoid double taxation...

What happens with taxes on stock options if I live or work in different states during the period between grant and exercise? This is premium content

Generally, each state you live in determines what income is taxable and when. For administrative ease, many companies...

Can the IRS seize stock options or restricted stock under a tax lien? This is premium content

The IRS can seize your stock options if it applies a federal tax lien to you for unpaid taxes. After seizing your stock options, the IRS can also...