Tax Changes for Startup Executives and Employees - Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018 - Q1 2018 Newsletter - Stock Option Counsel, P.C.

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Hello Startup Community!

The final Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is already affecting startup equity holders. Check out my recent blog posts on Tax-Deferred Option Exercises Under the New Section 83(i) and Incentive Stock Options & Changes to the Alternative Minimum Tax. Here's the short version.

Tax Deferral for Option Exercise - New Section 83(i) Election. The new Section 83(i) was designed to defer taxation from a stock option exercise until the shares become liquid. Unfortunately, the details of the new Section 83(i) make it unlikely to work for most startup option holders. But where it does apply it will defer taxation for up to five years from the date of option exercise with the use of the new Section 83(i) Election. These are the key details of the new Section 83(i).

Tax Relief for ISO Exercise - New AMT Limits. Dramatic increases to the exemption amounts and phase out thresholds of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) will allow many more startup employees to exercise Incentive Stock Options (ISOs) tax-free. This allows for more planning opportunities to take advantage of the potential ISO tax benefits of capital gains tax rates on all gains. These are the key details of the AMT changes as they relate to ISO exercise.

Startup Offer Negotiation Tips. What does this mean for our clients negotiating new stock option offers? First, the new Section 83(i) will not provide wide relief from pre-liquidity tax burdens for stock option exercise. So it still makes sense to negotiate for a tax-deferred structure such as early exercise or an extended post-termination exercise period. Second, since the revised AMT limits make the ISO benefits even more appealing than ever, ISOs are far more appealing than NSOs for most people (unless the options will be early exercised.)

Stock Option Counsel, P.C. - Legal Services for Individuals. Thank you for your enthusiasm for my practice and for the Stock Option Counsel Blog! I will continue to send quarterly updates on important topics in the market for startup equity for individual founders, executives and employees. Please keep in touch. 



Mary Russell | Attorney and Founder
Stock Option Counsel, P.C. | Legal Services for Individuals

Stock Option Counsel, P.C. - Legal Services for Individuals.  Attorney Mary Russell counsels individuals on equity grants, executive compensation design, employment agreements and acquisition terms. She also counsels founders on their personal interests  at incorporation, financings and exit events. Please see this FAQ about her services or contact her at (650) 326-3412 or by email.