IRS issues tax reprieve for backdated options

Last week the IRS announced an initiative aimed to relieve for rank-and-file employees (as opposed to company executives) affected by backdated and other mispriced stock options.  The announcement can be read here

An employee who exercised a ‘backdated’ stock option in 2006 may owe an additional 20-percent tax, plus an interest tax, under the Federal tax laws governing deferred compensation.  If the option had been properly priced, the employee normally would only have owed income tax on the difference between the value at the date of grant and exercise.
The initiative allows companies to step forward and pay the additional 20-percent tax and any interest tax that employees owe. 

Employers and employees must both act quickly.  Under this initiative, employers must notify the IRS of their intent to participate by Feb. 28, 2007.  The employers, in turn, will be required to contact affected employees by Mar. 15, 2007 to inform them that the employer has applied to participate in the Compliance Resolution Program.

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