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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.


SARs: Basics


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Articles (Jump to FAQs)

What You Need To Know About Stock Appreciation Rights (SARs): Part 1 This is premium content

Bruce Brumberg
Stock appreciation rights (SARs) are being granted by some companies. To help you understand SARs, Part 1 explains the "appreciation," the role of exercises, and taxes at exercise.

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FAQs (Jump to articles)

What are stock appreciation rights?

SARs, or stock appreciation rights, are contractual rights that entitle you to receive the appreciation from a corresponding number of company shares after the grant date. Instead of exercising a stock option, you...

What are the top 10 questions I should ask about my stock appreciation rights? This is premium content

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

Does all the stock option content on this website also apply to stock appreciation rights (SARs)?

Much of the stock option content is relevant to SARs. All the key stock option features...

UPDATES! What do surveys and examples reveal about the effects of expensing, stock market trends, and other developments on equity compensation? This is premium content

A summary of data in surveys from major consulting and research firms shows that...

Why are some companies considering stock appreciation rights (SARs) as an alternative to stock options? This is premium content

ASC Topic 718, formerly called FAS 123(R), requires the expensing of...

Are stock appreciation rights (SARs) a better deal for me than stock options? This is premium content

The personal economic benefits of SARs are...

How do stock appreciation rights (SARs) differ from stock options, restricted stock, and RSUs? This is premium content

Stock appreciation rights entitle you to stock (or sometimes cash) that equals the amount...

How do I exercise stock appreciation rights? This is premium content

Unlike with stock options, you have no exercise cost to obtain the appreciation spread above...

How does a stock split affect my stock appreciation rights? This is premium content

Most stock plans automatically adjust your SARs for the stock split. Your number of SARs will be adjusted...

What specific provisions should I know about my SARs grant? This is premium content

As with stock options, you should know the following, all of which will be available in your...

Am I entitled to voting rights or any stock dividends paid to shareholders before I exercise? This is premium content

No. Until you exercise a stock option, you do not have the rights of a...

Are there any special securities law issues and filing requirements with stock appreciation rights (SARs) for senior executives and directors? This is premium content

For senior executives, stock-settled SARs avoid the concerns about cashless exercises by officers and directors raised by...

How does a court determine whether my soon-to-be-former spouse should receive any part of my stock grant? This is premium content

First a court must decide (under the relevant state's laws) whether the property subject to division includes...

What is a "phantom stock plan"? This is premium content

Phantom stock is similar to stock appreciation rights (SARs) in that you receive a sum based on the appreciated value of the company's shares. But instead of shares of stock, phantom stock awards are in the form of...

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