IRS Guidance on New Tax Benefit for Stock Options

For private corporations and their employees, IRS provides initial guidance on new tax benefit for stock options and restricted stock units

The Internal Revenue Service today issued Notice 2018-97 offering guidance on a recent tax law change that allows qualified employees of privately-held corporations to defer paying income tax, for up to five years, on the value of qualified stock options and restricted stock units (RSUs) granted to them by their employers.

The tax law change was included in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). In general, executives, highly-compensated officers and those owning one percent or more of the corporation’s stock cannot make the deferral election. Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax and Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) tax payable on the value of qualified stock may not be deferred.

Notice 2018-97, posted on, offers initial guidance taxpayers can rely on until proposed regulations are issued and requests public comment on additional issues that should be addressed in those regulations.

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