Year-end 2022 checklist for stock comp and company shares
Year-end strategies for restricted stock/RSU shares when the stock price has fallen since vesting
Special resources on year-end financial and tax planning
myStockOptions year-end webinar available on demand
New 2023 IRS limits for qualified retirement plans affect deferral planning
Year-end CE credits for CEP, CFP, CPWA/CIMA


  • StockOpter: Professional Equity Compensation Planning Software (see the ad below)

  • myStockOptions Webinars: From stock comp basics to advanced financial and tax planning, our webinars have something for everyone (see the ad below)

  • AdvisorFind Directory from Search this resource for financial, tax, and legal advisors with experience in stock compensation (see the ad below)


Year-end is a key time for financial and tax planning, especially for the millions of employees who have stock compensation or holdings of company shares. In 2022, year-end financial and tax planning can be tricky because of ongoing volatile stock prices and economic uncertainty. To help, provides education and guidance in the section Financial Planning: Year-End Planning, whose resources are highlighted in this newsletter.

WEBINAR: Learn key financial and tax strategies for stock comp at year-end 2022 and year-start 2023 in our on-demand webinar Year-End 2022 Financial & Tax Planning For Equity Comp.

All of the content on is available through licensing.

Don't want to wait for our quarterly newsletter updates? The Blog is a great way to stay informed about new developments in equity compensation. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook. In addition, I now have a blog at

- Bruce Brumberg (Editor-in-Chief)

What should be on my year-end 2022 checklist of items to know and consider about my stock compensation?

The checklist below summarizes what you need for comprehensive year-end and year-start planning with stock compensation and company stock holdings.




  • your situation, including short-term cash needs that may prompt you to sell company stock and/or exercise options
  • whether your decisions should be entirely tax-driven
  • your outlook for both your company's stock price and your job
  • how comfortable you are with your concentration in company stock and whether you should diversify
  • multi-year projections for your income and taxes
  • donations in company shares instead of in cash
  • Any changes needed in beneficiary designations, when allowed, for your stock compensation and/or your brokerage account holding company shares.
  • Whether to pay estimated taxes in the year ahead because of substantial income expected from restricted stock/RSU vesting, NQSO exercises, ISO exercises, or an ESPP purchase/sale.


  • Company and brokerage firm statements, whether online or in print. You will need them for tax-return reporting.

For year-end financial-planning points to consider with stock compensation, see a related FAQ.

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StockOpter: Professional Equity Compensation Planning Software, the wealth management industry’s leading application for providing clients with sophisticated equity compensation guidance, now includes multi-year tax and cash flow modeling functionality. In addition to StockOpter’s equity compensation valuation and risk analytics, advisors can now model diversification strategies over a 10-year horizon that provide detailed tax, cash flow and total portfolio value projections.

Initially released in 2008 and continually enhanced, from Net Worth Strategies, Inc. enables financial advisors to engage employees that receive company stock and options and help them make timely, informed and tax efficient diversification decisions. Unlike general financial planning applications designed specifically for retirement planning, StockOpter addresses when, why and how clients should exercise/sell their equity compensation holdings. StockOpter users report on average they generate over $500,000 in assets under management per client and/or can charge fees of $2,500 – $10,000 annually for equity compensation assistance.’s standard functionality provides an easy-to-use platform for tracking clients’ equity compensation holdings, illustrating values and risks, and identifying diversification criteria. StockOpter’s new tax planning capabilities include:

  • Determining Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) liabilities for ISOs
  • Wizards for automatically calculating the number of ISOs that can be exercised tax free up to the AMT limit and how many shares need to be sold to cover the taxes from exercising options or restricted stock vestings
  • Features that facilitate sharing strategy tax calculations with the client’s CPA
  • Straightforward output for comparing the results of different strategies

Visit the website for sample client deliverables, pricing and a demo or contact Bill Dillhoefer for more information about the equity compensation planning niche.

The value of my restricted stock has fallen since vesting. If I sell my shares at year-end, do I get a credit for the income tax I paid at vesting, or do I net the loss against capital gains?

The vesting and the sale are separate transactions and generate different types of income. You were first taxed on the stock's value at vesting, which is your tax basis in the shares. This created ordinary income to you in the amount of the vesting-date value.

From the vesting date onward you own the stock, and the capital gains tax rules apply, as with any other stock in your portfolio. The only exceptions to being taxed at vesting occur if you made a Section 83(b) election to be taxed at grant (not available for restricted stock units) or if the RSUs allow an election to defer share delivery and you made that election.

The treatment of capital losses at sale is then like that of any other stock you have bought. After vesting (or grant with an 83(b) election), whether the capital losses are long-term or short-term depends on how long you hold the stock (i.e. more or less than one year).

The only "credit" you get occurs because your basis in the stock is not $0 when you calculate your capital gains tax, even though you acquired the stock at no cost. Instead, the basis is the amount of compensation income at vesting reported on your W-2, and it is taxed at ordinary income rates. The loss follows the netting rules explained in another FAQ.

Example: At vesting in July the stock price was $25, so your 10,000 shares of restricted stock were worth $250,000. This is your tax basis, and it is included in compensation income.
  • In mid-December you sell it when the stock price is $20, resulting in a short-term capital loss of $50,000 ($5 per share x 10,000 shares).
  • You net this against any capital gains from other securities on Form 8949 Schedule D of your Form 1040 tax return.
  • If there are no gains, you can use your losses against up to $3,000 of ordinary income, and you can carry forward any unused remainder.

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myStockOptions Webinars

See the myStockOptions Webinar Channel for upcoming webinars and past webinars on demand. Each webinar (100 mins) offers 2.0 CE credits for CFP, CPWA/CIMA, CEP, EA (live webinars only), and CPE (live webinars only):

Year-End 2022 Financial & Tax Planning For Equity Comp. Boost your knowledge of year-end and year-start strategies for stock options, restricted stock/RSUs, ESPPs, and company stock holdings to help you make smarter decisions and prevent costly mistakes.

Restricted Stock & RSU Financial Planning: Advanced Bootcamp. Insights from a panel of three leading financial advisors, including case studies, to provide practical expertise for restricted stock/RSUs in public and private companies.

"Strong technical knowledge, great personalities kept me engaged, and the ability to relate to client cases gave me actionable advice I needed."

Stock Option Exercise Strategies: Advanced Bootcamp. It is crucial to have a plan for stock option exercises. This webinar features compelling strategies from a panel of three experts in financial and tax planning for option exercises.

Stock Compensation Bootcamp For Financial Advisors. Whether you are new to stock comp or want to sharpen your knowledge, our bootcamp webinar provides practical information and insights to maximize success.

Stock Comp Financial Planning For Private Company Employees: From Startup To IPO Or Acquisition. Equity comp in private companies is different. Learn the related financial and tax planning with three leading financial and tax advisors, including real-world case studies.

Negotiating Equity Compensation: How Advisors Can Help Clients: Learn the best ways to evaluate and negotiate equity compensation in job offers and how to protect it at job termination.

Strategies For Concentrated Positions In Company Stock. Wealth is won and lost through the management of concentrated company stock positions. In this webinar, experts at managing concentrated stock wealth explain strategies and solutions.

10b5-1 Trading Plans And Other SEC Rules Advisors Need To Know. Learn the fundamentals, best practices, and most effective designs for Rule 10b5-1 trading plans. This webinar features top legal and financial experts presenting practical guidance and real-world case studies for financial advisors.

Preventing Tax-Return Errors With Stock Comp And Stock Sales: Understand the rules of tax-return reporting for stock options, restricted stock/RSUs, ESPPs, and sales of company shares. Learn how to avoid the common mistakes that can lead to overpaying taxes or unwanted IRS attention.

Resources on year-end financial and tax planning for stock compensation and company shares

Below we list some of our content on year-end financial and tax planning, all of which has been fully updated for year-end 2022 and year-start 2023. To see our entire array of resources on year-end planning, including both articles and FAQs, see the year-end section at For guidance on year-end planning with nonqualified deferred compensation, especially deferral elections for 2023, see the related FAQ at our sibling website

Our award-winning content is available with Premium or Pro Membership or through corporate licensing.

12 Ideas For Year-End Planning With Stock Compensation (Parts 1 and 2)
Consider year-end or year-beginning tax planning with your stock compensation and company stock holdings. While investment objectives, not tax considerations, should generally drive your decisions, here are several ideas to review to prevent paying more taxes than necessary.

7 Year-End Strategies For Restricted Stock, RSUs, And Performance Shares, by Bruce Brumberg
As part of your year-end and year-beginning tax planning, don't forget to review any grants of restricted stock, RSUs, or performance shares that vested this year, plus other company stock holdings. This article presents strategies many experts suggest.

Year-End Strategies For Employee Stock Purchase Plans
When you think about year-end financial and tax planning, don't forget to review shares acquired through an employee stock purchase plan. This article outlines issues and strategies to contemplate.

NEW! Year-End Planning: 5 Key Items For Your Stock Comp Checklist, by the myStockOptions Editorial Team
This article presents perennial year-end ideas to consider from three leading financial and tax advisors with expertise in stock compensation.

Stockbrokers' Secrets: Year-End Planning For NQSOs, Restricted Stock, And RSUs, by John Barringer and Michael Beriss
The time for tax planning is before the year ends; tax season is too late. Learn about several ideas for year-end 2019 that apply to nonqualified stock options (NQSOs) and restricted stock/RSUs.

Stockbrokers' Secrets: Year-End Planning For ISOs, by John Barringer and Michael Beriss
Learn about year-end planning specifically for incentive stock options, including ideas related to the alternative minimum tax.

Making Gifts Of Company Stock, by the myStockOptions Editorial Team
In addition to being an effective form of generosity, gifting shares can play a role in financial and tax planning for your equity compensation and company stock. This article presents the basics that you need to know when you are contemplating gifts of shares acquired from stock options, restricted stock/RSUs, or employee stock purchase plans.

NEW! Selling Stock At Year-End To Harvest Losses? Don't Get Tangled In The Wash-Sale Rule
Harvesting capital losses to offset capital gains on your tax return is a popular year-end strategy. But watch out for wash sales, which can tangle up your tax planning. This article explains what you need to know to avoid this tax trap.

PRESENTATION! Year-End Tax And Financial Planning: What Employees And Their Advisors Should Know
Updated annually, this slide-deck presentation provides a timely overview of year-end financial and tax topics for stock compensation, including points of importance for employee education and for financial advisors.

PODCAST! How The 2018 Tax Reforms Affect Year-End Planning For Equity Comp And Company Shares
Employees with stock compensation must still consider the changes by the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. This podcast summarizes how those changes affect your year-end planning, along with strategies that apply every year-end.

Making Gifts Of Company Stock, by the myStockOptions Editorial Team
In addition to being an effective form of generosity, gifting shares can play a role in financial and tax planning for your equity compensation and company stock. This article presents the basics that you need to know when you are contemplating gifts of shares acquired from stock options, restricted stock/RSUs, or employee stock purchase plans.

Making Donations Of Company Stock, by the myStockOptions Editorial Team
Nonprofit organizations appreciate donations of shares as much as gifts of cash, and most large nonprofits are experienced in accepting stock donations. This article presents the basics that you need to know when you are contemplating charitable donations of shares acquired from stock options, restricted stock/RSUs, or employee stock purchase plans.

How To Defer Or Pay No Capital Gains Tax On Company Stock Sales: 6 Ways Under The Tax Code, by Bruce Brumberg
The US tax code provides a few perfectly legal ways, depending on your income, financial goals, and even life expectancy, to defer or pay no capital gains tax, maximizing the benefits of your grants and letting you put away more toward your financial goals. If you qualify, consider these moves as part of your year-end planning.

The ISO Tax Trap And The AMT Credit Myth: What To Do Before Exercise And At Year-End
The tax changes of the past few years have brought both good and bad news for holders of incentive stock options. While you may have lower capital gains rates when you hold the shares long enough after exercise, it is harder to avoid the risks of the alternative minimum tax (AMT) and to fully recover any AMT credit.

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Advisorfind AdvisorFind Directory
Find a financial, tax, or legal advisor with experience in stock compensation

Stock compensation raises many questions.

  • How much should you contribute to your ESPP?
  • When should you exercise stock options?
  • Should you sell or hold restricted stock at vesting?
  • How can you diversify your company stock holdings?
  • How can you minimize your tax bill?
  • How do you negotiate for stock compensation in your employment agreement?

While is a good place to learn about concepts, issues, and general strategies in equity compensation, at some point you may need an advisor to help with your unique situation. Yet finding a good advisor can be hard when you are busy and don't know where to start. The AdvisorFind Directory from is for you.

  • Identify and contact an expert who can provide specialized professional guidance on equity compensation.
  • Search for advisors by geographical area, type of advisor, years of experience, minimum portfolio size, and other key criteria.
  • Look up resources for performing background checks on advisors.

Searching AdvisorFind is free and does not require registration at

Popular myStockOptions year-end webinar available to stream on demand

The hugely popular myStockOptions year-end webinar that we held live on Dec. 1 is now available on demand: Year-End 2022 Financial & Tax Planning For Equity Comp. In 100 minutes, the webinar features insights from a panel of three leading financial advisors, including real-world case studies, to provide practical expertise for equity comp in both public and private companies. Panelists:

  • John P. Barringer (CFP®), Executive Wealth Planning
  • Rebecca Conner (CPA, CFP®), Founder, SeedSafe Financial LLC
  • John Owens (CFP®, EA, ECA, CPWA®), Director of Financial Planning, Brooklyn FI
  • moderator: Bruce Brumberg, JD, editor-in-chief of myStockOptions

Boost your knowledge of year-end and year-start strategies for stock options, restricted stock/RSUs, ESPPs, and company stock holdings to help you make smarter decisions and prevent costly mistakes. Volatile markets and economic uncertainty make the need for effective guidance even more important, as this webinar covers.

Webinar purchase, panelist details, and the agenda of topics are available at the myStockOptions Webinar Channel, where past myStockOptions webinars are also available on demand. You can also register for and watch the webinar immediately right here:

Return to table of contents New 2023 IRS limits for qualified retirement plans affect deferral planning

how much income should you squirrel away

For many participants in nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plans, November and December are the time to be like an autumn squirrel and decide how much of next year’s salary to defer and store for the future. This decision about nonqualified plans is heavily influenced by the IRS contribution limits for qualified retirement plans. The IRS just set the qualified plan limits for 2023.

Those yearly contribution limits for qualified retirement plans are a big reason why companies offer nonqualified plans: to let executives and other highly compensated employees put away extra amounts for retirement with an elective nonqualified plan or an excess 401(k) plan. NQDC allows you to put away amounts of money beyond the permissible contribution amounts of standard qualified retirement plans.

The deferred income is “nonqualified” because it does not fit the rules in the tax code that allow tax-qualified plans, such as 401(k) plans. For retirement planning, NQDC can therefore bridge the considerable gap that arises between the amount of income that you will actually need in retirement and the amount of income that can be provided via your 401(k) plans and Social Security.

The complex rules under Section 409A of the US tax code must be followed in the deferral and distribution elections. The amount that you defer can only be informally funded by your company and is at risk should the company enter bankruptcy proceedings. Our sibling website is a comprehensive resource on NQDC plans, including the basics, the deferral/distribution process, the risks, and the related financial and tax planning.

How 2023 IRS Qualified Plan Limits Affect NQDC Deferrals

Generally, you defer income via nonqualified plans only when you know you will max out your yearly contributions to qualified plans, such as your 401(k). Therefore, the contribution limits set by the IRS on qualified plans, adjusted annually for inflation, are important for NQDC planning:

Contribution type/limit 2022 2023
Compensation allowed in qualified deferral and match calculation $305,000 $330,000
Elective comp deferrals $20,500 $22,500
Catchup contributions for people 50+ $6,500 $7,500
Total defined contribution limits (employee and employer contributions) $61,000 + catchup contribution $66,000 + catchup contribution
Defined benefit plan payout limits $245,000 $265,000
Income threshold defining key employees for top-heavy plans and six-month delay on payout upon separation $200,000 $215,000
Income threshold defining highly compensated employees for the purposes of nondiscrimination testing $135,000 $150,000

Given the current inflation, the IRS changes in limits from 2022 to 2023 are much larger than they have been in recent years. However, if you’ve already maxed out your qualified plan contributions for 2022, you will still probably do the same in 2023, so you will need NQDC plans to defer any salary and bonus increases you expect in 2023. Also, if you believe tax increases are on the way and will affect you, you may feel a growing need to defer income.

Set by the Social Security Administration, the Social Security wage cap will rise in 2023 to $160,200, up from $147,000 in 2022. With the 6.2% rate of Social Security tax, the maximum possible Social Security withholding is $9,114 in 2022 and will rise to $9,932.40 in 2023. Social Security tax (up to the yearly limit) and Medicare tax (uncapped) are withheld at the time of deferral.

For a table comparing the features of 401(k) plans and NQDC plans, and their relative advantages and disadvantages, see an FAQ at See also the website’s FAQ on the top NQDC-related issues in year-end planning.

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Need CE credits before year-end? Learning Center at offers credits for CEP, CFP, and CPWA/CIMA

The Learning Center has courses and exams that offer:

  • 40 CE credits for Certified Equity Professionals and Equity Compensation Associates (over 100% of the total requirement)

  • 26 CE credits for Certified Financial Planners (87% of the total requirement)

  • 26 CE credits for CPWAs and CIMAs (65% of the total requirement)

  • Potential self-reportable CPE for Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and CE for CFA Charterholders (see the Learning Center for information)

Each course features podcasts, articles, videos, and FAQs from They are woven into a dynamic, interactive learning tool that teaches the topics in a memorable way. The answer key for each exam also links to relevant content on the site for further reading and learning.

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