How do I avoid getting taxed twice on incentive stock options?

February 14, 2005

Date:   Tue, 01 Feb 2005
From:   Holly

If my employer is reporting the ordinary income from my ISO stock sales on Form W-2 and I report the sale on Schedule D, aren’t I being taxed twice?


Date:   Wed, 09 Feb 2005

Hello Holly,

Not if you compute the cost as I explained for the last question.

Good luck!

Mike Gray

Last Question

I exercised and sold ISO shares on the same day this year [presumably 2004]. My company didn’t report the income on my W-2 form. Will I get a W-2 from Merrill Lynch (which administers the plan)?

Also, as I understand it, I need to report both a gain and loss of the same amount on Schedule D and report the net gain from the sale as W-2 income. What happens if Merrill Lynch doesn’t send the W-2?

Maybe I’m wrong and the options are non-qualified?

Answer to Last Question

Income from exercising non-qualified options should also be reported on Form W-2.

Talk to the people in your employer’s payroll department. They may be issuing a corrected Form W-2 to include the ISO income. If they don’t report the income on Form W-2, you can either adjust your wages with a disclosure worksheet or report the ISO income as “Other Income” at line 21, Form 1040.

If the brokerage firm reports the sale of stock on Form 1099-B, the sale price should be reported on Schedule D. The cost of the stock is the option price plus the ordinary income reported for the disqualified disposition of the ISO stock. It sounds like the sale date and acquisition date are the same day.

Merrill Lynch is not your employer and probably will not issue a W-2 form for this transaction.

Good luck!

Michael Gray

For more information about incentive stock options, request our free report, Incentive Stock Options – Executive Tax and Financial Planning Strategies.

Comments are closed.