Careful tax planning critical for RSUs — and other stock-based compensation

Careful tax planning critical for RSUs — and other stock-based compensation

Posted on

If you are an executive or other key employee, you might be compensated with more than just salary, fringe benefits and bonuses: You might also be awarded stock-based compensation, such as restricted stock or stock options. Another form that is becoming more common is restricted stock units (RSUs).

RSUs are contractual rights to receive stock (or its cash value) after the award has vested. Unlike restricted stock, RSUs are not eligible for the Section 83(b) election that can allow ordinary income to be converted into capital gains.

But RSUs do offer a limited ability to defer income taxes: Unlike restricted stock, which becomes taxable immediately upon vesting, RSUs are not taxable until the employee actually receives the stock.

So rather than having the stock delivered immediately upon vesting, you may be able to arrange with your employer to delay delivery. This will defer income tax and may allow you to reduce or avoid exposure to the additional 0.9% Medicare tax (because the RSUs are treated as FICA income). However, any income deferral must satisfy the strict requirements of Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 409A.

Source: PDI Global

Image Source: Getty Images

The information contained within this article is provided for informational purposes only and is current as of the date published. Online readers are advised not to act upon this information without seeking the service of a professional accountant, as this article is not a substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice from a professional accountant.


About the Author

Keiter CPAs is a certified public accounting firm serving the audittax, accounting and consulting needs of businesses and their owners located in Richmond and across Virginia. We focus on serving emerging growth businesses and companies in the financial servicesconstructionreal estatemanufacturingretail & distribution industries and nonprofits. We also provide business valuations and forensic accounting servicesfamily office services, and inbound international services.

More Insights from Keiter CPAs

Contact

How Can We Help You and Your Business?

Innsbrook Corporate Center
4401 Dominion Boulevard
Glen Allen, Virginia 23060

804.747.0000 or 804.273.6200

Directions