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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.


NQSOs

Nonqualified stock options (commonly abbreviated NQSOs) are the most common type of option. Browse an overview of this section below, or explore the subtopics to the left. See also the NQSO sections of the Tax Center.

Test Your Knowledge Test and improve your knowledge with our NEW! NQSOs quiz and its study guide in the answer key.

Test Your Knowledge Test and improve your knowledge with our Stock Options quiz and its study guide in the answer key.

Listen to our podcast on the basics of stock options, or watch our videos on core concepts and taxes.


  Articles   FAQs  

12 Tax-Return Mistakes To Avoid With Stock Options And ESPPs

Bruce Brumberg and Lynnette Khalfani
UPDATES! The 2016 tax season has the potential to be confusing if you sold stock in 2015. This article explains common errors to avoid when reporting stock sales on your tax return and provides helpful guidance on various other tax topics involving stock options and ESPPs.

Stock Options 101: The Essentials

Matt Simon
Your company has granted you stock options. Now what? This article explains the essential facts that you must know to understand your stock options and make the most of them.

VIDEO! Employee Stock Options: NQSO Taxation

Bruce Brumberg
To make the most of nonqualified stock options (NQSOs), you must understand their taxation. Learn the tax basics of NQSOs in this video, which features clear and concise explanations by the editor-in-chief of myStockOptions.com. Running time: 2:58.

VIDEO! Employee Stock Options: Core Aspects To Know

Bruce Brumberg
With expert insights from the editor-in-chief of myStockOptions.com, this video covers the essential aspects of employee stock options that you must know to make the most of them, including the key concepts of vesting, exercise, and the option term. Running time: 4:12.

How To Avoid Paying Too Much Tax: Understanding The Revised Form 1099-B And Form 8949 For Reporting Stock Sales On Your Tax Return This is premium content

Bruce Brumberg
UPDATES! The stock-sale information provided by brokers on IRS Form 1099-B has changed. Cost-basis reporting, both for your broker on Form 1099-B and for you on your tax return, is now more complex, confusing, and vulnerable to errors. This article explains the crucial facts you must know to avoid overpaying tax or attracting unwanted IRS attention.

VIDEO! Tax-Return Reporting Of Company Stock Sales: How To Avoid Overpaying Taxes

myStockOptions Tax Team
Learn the rules for reporting stock sales on your tax return, along with costly errors to avoid if the shares you sold came from stock options, restricted stock/RSUs, stock appreciation rights, or an employee stock purchase plan. Among other issues, you must understand your "cost basis" to avoid overpaying your taxes. Running time: 8:06.

Stock Option Fundamentals (Part 3): Income Taxes And Withholding This is premium content

Marilyn Renninger
Here's some advice for financial fitness: take stock of taxes before you exercise! When and how you exercise your stock options can have a major impact on how much tax and which taxes you'll pay.

Stock Option Fundamentals (Part 1): Know Your Goals And Terms

Marilyn Renninger
Stock options aren't just for the folks on mahogany row any more. But turning stock options into the real green stuff takes some know-how. You need to know certain features of your grant to decide when to exercise your options and sell the stock.

Getting The Most From Your Stock Options This is premium content

William Baldwin
Podcast included! Stock options are a major element of your long-term incentive compensation, offering tremendous potential to accumulate personal wealth. Given your stock options' complexity, it’s essential to develop a strategy to realize their full potential.

How To Report Sales Of Company Stock On Your Tax Return

myStockOptions Editorial Team
If you sold in 2014 any shares that you acquired from equity compensation or an ESPP, you will need to report the sale on your federal tax return. Learn here what you must know to avoid expensive mistakes and unwanted IRS attention. Our annotated diagrams of Form 8949 and Schedule D can help you make sense of the reporting rules.

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What are the top 10 questions I should ask about my stock options?

You should know the answers to the following questions. Understanding the topics involved will help you make the most of your stock options and prevent costly mistakes...

How is the spread at exercise of an NQSO taxed for federal income-tax purposes?

The full spread for a nonqualified stock option is included in your gross income for the year of exercise as ordinary income...

When I hold NQSO shares after exercise, what tax applies when I later sell the stock?

Capital gains tax applies on the amount of your gains above...

For NQSOs or SARs exercised on the last business day of 2015, or for restricted stock that vests on that day, is the income taxable in 2015 or 2016? This is premium content

All exercises with an exercise date in 2015, and all restricted stock with a vesting date in 2015, will be included in 2015 taxes and on your W-2 for 2015, and will count...

What are capital gains and capital losses? What are the capital gains tax rates?

Capital gain is income that arises from the sale of a capital asset. Gain from the sale of securities held for investment, such as shares acquired from stock compensation...

Is the spread at exercise of a nonqualified stock option subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes? This is premium content

Yes. The spread at exercise of an NQSO is considered "wages" for the purposes of...

Is the exercise spread of NQSOs subject to federal unemployment taxes?

There is a federal tax (called FUTA) to help fund unemployment benefits. FUTA is imposed on...

Is the spread at exercise of a nonqualified stock option subject to state and local taxes? This is premium content

Many states, along with some counties and cities, impose...

W-2 diagram What will my W-2 show after I exercise nonqualified stock options? This is premium content

The gain from your nonqualified stock option exercise(s) is totaled on the W-2 with other income in the following boxes...

May I have my employer withhold more taxes upon my exercise of an NQSO than the minimum required amount? This is premium content

Your actual tax bracket may be higher or lower than the mandatory federal withholding rate. Whether your company can withhold more depends on...

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