Will there be any tax implications when I am given stock options?

July 16, 2001

Subject:   Tax implications upon receipt of stock options
Date:   17 Nov 2000
From:   Buddy

I am considering an employment offer from a start-up high tech company. The company is self-funded and has not IPO’ed. Part of the offer is a grant of company stock options, which will be made upon my employment. I do not know if these will be Incentive or Non-qualified (but will find out). There is a 4-year, incremental vesting period for these options. The initial vesting period is 1 year.

My main concern is will there be any tax implications to me when I am given the stock options? I have read somewhere that they may be subject to employment taxes because they are considered compensation. I have also checked with some friends who are financial professionals, however, they have given confusing and conflicting responses.

… I’m hoping for just a ballpark estimate of the outcome. Next year will be a very expensive year for me financially, and I want to make sure I have as few surprises as possible.

Thanks for your help.


Date:   04 Dec 2000

Hello Buddy,

There is generally no tax consequence from being merely granted employee stock options.

Consider buying a book, such as Employee Stock Options, to better understand the issues. For a detailed examination of your situation, you should consult with a tax advisor.

Good luck!

Mike Gray

For more answers to our readers’ questions and to learn about new tax developments relating to employee stock options, subscribe to our newsletter, Michael Gray, CPA’s Option Alert!

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