This alert summarizes recent noteworthy additions and updates at You can also see a full list of the additions and updates made in the third quarter of 2015.

Year-End Financial And Tax Planning 2015

Although it isn't even Halloween yet, now is the time to start thinking about year-end planning. In particular, if you are considering option exercises or stock sales at year-end, be aware of the thresholds for annual income that trigger higher tax rates. Good points of entry into our year-end content, which has been fully updated for 2015, include the following key articles and FAQs:

Many other year-end articles and FAQs are available in the year-end section of

The Top Ten Financial-Planning Rules For Restricted Stock/RSUs And ESPPs

Everybody loves top ten lists. That partly explains why our core article Ten Financial-Planning Rules Everyone With Stock Options Needs To Know is one of our most popular pieces. Now it is joined by two other "top ten" articles on basic financial planning with equity compensation:

All three of these articles appear in the section Financial Planning: Strategies at

New Videos On Stock Options

Despite the rise of restricted stock and RSUs, stock options continue to be a prominent form of compensation. Several recent additions have enhanced and diversified our array of educational content on options. These include two new videos that offer a lively introduction to the basics of option grants:

  • Employee Stock Options: Core Aspects To Know (4:12) covers the essential aspects of options that employees must know to make the most of them, including the key concepts of vesting, exercise, the option term, the impact of job termination and other life events, and the wealth-building potential of options.
  • With animated examples, Employee Stock Options: NQSO Taxation (2:58) presents how taxes are calculated for NQSOs, what types of taxes apply to NQSOs, how withholding works, and how capital gains taxes apply when employees sell the shares.

These videos join our other video series on restricted stock/RSUs and ESPPs. As with all of our content, our videos can be licensed and customized by companies.

IRS Updates Tax Audit Guide For Equity Compensation

To help its examiners, the IRS develops Audit Techniques Guides (ATGs) to provide insights into the issues and accounting methods that are unique to certain industries and types of compensation. While ATGs are designed to provide guidance for IRS employees, they can also reveal tax issues that need special attention from taxpayers, companies, and tax professionals. In late August, the IRS released an updated version of its ATG for audits involving stock compensation: Equity (Stock) - Based Compensation Audit Techniques Guide, which seems to be a set of marching orders for IRS examiners. Companies, tax professionals, and compensation consultants will want to review it. Parts of the guide summarize and confirm the tax treatment for different types of equity compensation. Other parts raise issues about how the IRS applies and interprets certain IRC sections and IRS regulations. A commentary on the updated ATG is available at the blog.

Restricted Stock Units In France: Tax Treatment Improved For New Grants

In France, revised tax rules for qualified RSUs were included in the so-called Macron Law (loi Macron), enacted in August. For grants approved after August 7, 2015, the Macron Law reduces the required minimum vesting and share-holding periods from the aggregate of four years mandated by the prior tax regime to just one year of vesting and one year of holding the shares. Moreover, if the vesting period is two years or longer, the holding period is waived, letting employees sell shares immediately upon delivery at vesting. The Macron Law also changes the employee social taxes incurred at sale on RSU income received at vesting. For additional details, see the France entry in our Global Tax Guide, which explains the individual taxation of equity awards in nearly 40 countries.

Advanced Course On Incentive Stock Options For CEP Continuing Education Credit

Certified Equity Professionals (CEPs) need to satisfy the continuing education requirements of the Certified Equity Professional Institute (CEPI), which administers CEP accreditation and standards. For these professionals, has several CEPI-approved self-study courses for continuing education credit in its Learning Center. The newest addition to these is our Advanced Course On Incentive Stock Options, which provides five hours of continuing education credit for CEPs who pass the exam at the end of the course. The ISO course joins self-study courses on nonqualified stock options, restricted stock and RSUs, employee stock purchase plans, and SEC law that offer continuing education credits for both CEPs and CFPs.

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