What do I report on schedule D when exercising options?

March 22, 2006

Date:   Fri, 03 Mar 2006
From:   Ken


One of your readers previously wrote about making a same day sale when exercising an employee stock option. $18,000 of income was reported on his W-2 form.

You told him, “in most cases, people report a LOSS of a few dollars for the sale on Schedule D.”

Shouldn’t he have an $18,000 GAIN on Schedule D.

Thanks for your response.



Date:   Sat, 18 Mar 2006

Hello Ken,

No. If he did, he would be reporting income for the same transaction twice.

The income reported on Form W-2 is added to the tax basis (cost to determine tax gain or loss) of the stock when reporting the transaction on Schedule D.

Good luck!

Mike Gray

For more information about non-qualified stock options, request our free report, “Executive Tax and Financial Planning For Non-Qualified Stock Options”.

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