Tax Center

As featured in PLANADVISER, PLANSPONSOR, and Accounting Today, the myStockOptions Tax Center explains the tax withholding, reporting, and filing for stock options, restricted stock/RSUs, performance shares, ESPPs, and SARs.

Selected Articles

Tax Changes 2003–2018

NEW! Six Ways Tax Reform Affects Your Stock Compensation And Financial Planning

Effective from the start of 2018, the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act includes provisions that either directly or indirectly affect stock compensation, whether in financial planning or in stock plan administration (though the core tax treatments have not changed). This article details six provisions that have an impact on the taxation of stock compensation or holdings of company shares.
Tax Changes 2003–2018

UPDATES! The Impact Of Tax-Law Changes On Stock Option And Restricted Stock Strategies This is premium content

Podcast included! While in 2018 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act superseded many prior tax provisions, other tax provisions introduced in previous legislation (such as the Affordable Care Act, i.e. Obamacare) remain in place. Income thresholds for the tax brackets trigger higher tax rates, so it is wise to monitor the tax impact of income-generating events stemming from stock compensation. This article suggests strategies for minimizing their impact.
Tax Changes 2003–2018

NEW! Private Company Stock Options And RSUs: 10 Facts To Know About The New Tax-Deferral Opportunity This is premium content

Stock options and RSUs are popular at startups and late-stage pre-IPO companies. However, shares in privately held companies typically lack liquidity and thus cannot be sold, creating difficulty when taxes are owed on the income recognized. To address this problem, the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act introduced an income-deferral opportunity for certain types of stock compensation at privately held companies in Section 83(i) of the tax code.
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Restricted Stock Basics

VIDEO! Restricted Stock & RSUs (Part 2): Taxes And Related Key Decisions

Presented by the editor-in-chief of, this engaging video covers the basic tax treatment of restricted stock and restricted stock units (RSUs), including the tax rates, the timing of taxation, and withholding. Running time: 3:57
NQSO Basics

VIDEO! Employee Stock Options: NQSO Taxation

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 Running time: 2:58.
NQSOs: W-2s & Tax Returns

12 Tax-Return Mistakes To Avoid With Stock Options And ESPPs This is premium content

UPDATES! Tax returns involving income from stock options or ESPPs can be confusing. This article explains common errors to avoid when reporting stock compensation and stock sales on your tax return, with specific guidance for stock options and ESPPs. For more tax-return insights, see the articles and FAQs in our Tax Center.
This is simply a selection of the many articles in this section.
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Selected FAQs

Restricted Stock Basics

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...
NQSO Basics

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...
NQSO Basics

UPDATES! 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...
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NQSO Basics

How is capital gain calculated?

The amount of your capital gain is the difference between your sales price and your tax basis in the stock. However, with stock from equity compensation, your tax basis can be harder to determine. It is...
ESPP Basics

How am I taxed if I participate in a tax-qualified (Section 423) employee stock purchase plan?

You are taxed only at sale, not when the shares are purchased. However, the rules for ESPP taxation are more confusing...
ESPP Basics

What is an ESPP disqualifying disposition, what can cause it, and why does my company care? This is premium content

A disqualifying disposition occurs when you sell or otherwise...
Restricted Stock Basics

UPDATES! When and how is a grant of restricted stock or RSUs taxed?

The timing of taxation is different than that of stock options. You pay tax at the time the restrictions on the stock lapse. This occurs when...
Restricted Stock Basics

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

There is no simple answer to questions involving the taxation of mobile employees. Generally, each state you live in determines what income is taxable and when. For administrative ease, many companies...
NQSO Withholding

After I exercise NQSOs, will I need to make estimated tax payments? This is premium content

At a minimum, when you exercise your stock options, your company will withhold taxes at the required federal withholding rate for supplemental income. However, depending on your income, this minimum withholding may not be enough. If so, you will need to...
NQSO Withholding

Will the amount of tax withheld at NQSO exercise cover the amount of tax that I am required to pay when I file my return? This is premium content

IRS rules do not allow you to specify your tax-withholding rate. Instead, employers usually...
This is simply a selection of the many FAQs in this section.
Use the navigation to the left to explore all of the categories in this section.