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What Issues Should I Consider Regarding My Non-Qualified Stock Options?

Non-Qualified Stock Options (“NQSOs”) are a common form of equity compensation, offering a share in the potential appreciation of a company’s value. Many of your clients have been (or will be) granted NQSOs as an employee of an issuing company or as an officer, director, contractor, or consultant. Deciding whether and when to exercise NQSOs and sell shares can be difficult and requires cash flow analysis, complex tax planning, and a long-term strategy.

This checklist helps guide your conversations when advising clients regarding their NQSOs. It covers:

  • Issues to consider at grant
  • Implications of exercise, including early exercise and post-vesting
  • Tax considerations and the IRC §83(b) election
  • Share ownership and sale strategies
  • Concentration and other risks

 

Updated for 11/15/2020