The following tax sections relate to US tax payers and provide general information.
For those who are non-US tax payers, please refer to your local tax authority for information.
Before you take action on your shares, you’ll want to carefully consider the tax consequences. The information contained in this document is for informational purposes only.
Tax treatment depends on a number of factors including, but not limited to, the type of award.
Stock Options Trading 101 [The ULTIMATE Beginner's Guide]
For advice on your personal financial situation, please consult a tax advisor.
Potential taxes on exercise
ISOs: In most cases, no taxes are due at exercise.
NQs: Taxes at exercise are based on the difference between the stock price on the date of the exercise and the option exercise price. This amount is typically taxable in the year of exercise at ordinary income rates.
Potential taxes at sale
Ordinary Income: The amount of ordinary income recognized when you sell your shares from an ISO exercise depends on whether you make a qualifying or disqualifying disposition.
A sale of shares from an ISO exercise can be considered a qualifying disposition and possibly result in favorable tax treatment if, among other requirements, the following conditions are met:
- You hold the shares for more than one year after the date of purchase (the exercise date), and
- You hold the shares for more than two years after the option grant date.
Capital Gain or Loss: In general, selling shares from an ISO exercise in a qualifying disposition will not trigger ordinary income and the entire gain or loss (sales price minus cost of the shares) will be considered a long-term capital gain or loss.
If you fail to satisfy the requirements described above, your sale of shares from an ISO exercise might be considered a disqualifying disposition.
In general, selling stock in a disqualifying disposition will trigger ordinary income.
The amount of ordinary income is generally the difference between the stock price on the date of the exercise and the option exercise price. Your employer should report the ordinary income from the disqualifying disposition on your Form W-2 or other applicable tax documents. Any remaining gain or loss will be considered short- or long-term, depending on how long you held the shares after exercise.
If you held the shares one year or less, the gain or loss would be short term. If you held the shares more than a year, the gain or loss would be long term.
Ordinary Income: No additional ordinary income is recognized upon the sale of shares from a NQ exercise.
Capital Gain or Loss: Any difference between the stock price on the exercise date and the stock price at sale will be treated as a capital gain or capital loss.
If shares are held for more than one year after exercise, any resulting gain is typically treated as a long-term capital gain.