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Section 83(b) Election

A tax filing made with the local IRS office within 30 days of a restricted stock grant that taxes its value on the grant date instead of at vesting (the usual time of taxation for restricted stock). After you file the election, taxes are based on the fair market value on the grant date, and any future appreciation is taxed as capital gain. If you do not file the election, taxes are based on the fair market value on the date the restrictions lapse, i.e. the vesting date. The 83(b) election can make sense if the stock price is expected to be much higher at vesting than at grant, in which case the lower value at grant results in less tax.

For early-exercise options, the 83(b) election essentially says that you agree to recognize now as ordinary income for NQSOs or as an AMT item for ISOs any spread between the stock's fair market value and your exercise price. In this way, the future appreciation of the company's stock can be taxed at favorable long-term capital gains rates upon the sale of the underlying stock.

For details on the 83(b) election, see the relevant FAQs elsewhere on this website.

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