Grant Date, Expiration, Vesting and Exercise

Stock Options in Italy: Beneficial Tax Regime Repealed

Why This Guide Matters.

The repeal of such beneficial regime entails that any such built-in gains are now taxed at progressive rates of personal income taxation (currently up to %) and subject to social security charges upon exercise of the stock options. The Global Tax Guide explains the taxation of equity awards in 43 countries: stock options, restricted stock, restricted stock units, performance shares, stock appreciation rights, and employee stock purchase plans. The country profiles are regularly reviewed and updated as needed. We do our best to keep the writing lively.

What's an Employee Stock Option?

On this date, the employer no longer reserves the right for its employee to purchase company stock under the terms of the agreement. An employee stock option is granted at a specific price, known as the exercise price.

It is the price per share that an employee must pay to exercise his or her options. The exercise price is important because it is used to determine the gain, also called the bargain element, and the tax payable on the contract. The bargain element is calculated by subtracting the exercise price from the market price of the company stock on the date the option is exercised.

The Internal Revenue Code also has a set of rules that an owner must obey to avoid paying hefty taxes on his or her contracts. The taxation of stock option contracts depends on the type of option owned.

Although the timing of a stock option strategy is important, there are other considerations to be made. Another key aspect of stock option planning is the effect that these instruments will have on overall asset allocation. For any investment plan to be successful, the assets have to be properly diversified. An employee should be wary of concentrated positions on any company's stock. While you may feel comfortable investing a larger percentage of your portfolio in your own company, it's simply safer to diversify.

Conceptually, options are an attractive payment method. In practice, however, redemption and taxation of these instruments can be quite complicated. Most employees do not understand the tax effects of owning and exercising their options. As a result, they can be heavily penalized by Uncle Sam and often miss out on some of the money generated by these contracts.

Remember that selling your employee stock immediately after exercise will induce the higher short-term capital gains tax. Waiting until the sale qualifies for the lesser long-term capital gains tax can save you hundreds, or even thousands. What's an Employee Stock Option? Grant Date, Expiration, Vesting and Exercise To begin, employees are typically not granted full ownership of the options on the initiation date of the contract, also know as the grant date.

Taxing Employee Stock Options The Internal Revenue Code also has a set of rules that an owner must obey to avoid paying hefty taxes on his or her contracts. For non-qualified stock options NSO: The grant is not a taxable event. Taxation begins at the time of exercise. The bargain element of a non-qualified stock option is considered "compensation" and is taxed at ordinary income tax rates.

The sale of the security triggers another taxable event. If the employee decides to sell the shares immediately or less than a year from exercise , the transaction will be reported as a short-term capital gain or loss and will be subject to tax at ordinary income tax rates. If the employee decides to sell the shares a year after the exercise, the sale will be reported as a long-term capital gain or loss and the tax will be reduced.

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Ignore and log out Continue. Transactions within these plans must follow specific terms set forth by the employer agreement and the Internal Revenue Code.

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