Will selling my ISOs before the end of the year reduce my tax burden?

July 23, 2001

Subject:   I am SO confused…
Date:   Fri, 15 Jun 2001
From:   Cindy

Mr. Gray:

Can you point me in the right direction?

I was recently terminated from my company. I had 90 days to purchase my ISOs. I exercised the options, but did not sell them. Let’s say my option price was $1.00 per share, and the market price was $10.00 per share at the time of exercise. I exercised 50,000 shares.

Now the stock market has dropped, and the shares are only worth $3.00 per share. What can I do? If I sell them before the end of the year, can I offset my income taxes that will be reported on my W-2 which will show the gain of $9.00 per share times 50,000 shares?

I am so worried. I am a single mother, trying to make ends meet. I just need to find a way to reduce my tax burden due in April.

Can you point me in the right direction?

Thank You,



Date:   Mon, 9 Jul 2001

Hello Cindy,

Don’t panic.

You can take action up to the end of the year of exercise (2001, I hope.)

If you sell the stock before the end of the year, your ordinary income will be limited to the excess of the actual sales price of the stock over the option price, and the AMT adjustment will be eliminated.

For now, sit tight and hope the price of the stock recovers.

Find yourself a tax advisor who understands employee stock options to help you.

Good luck!

Mike Gray

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

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