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If you’re compensated in company stock, the alphabet soup of ISOs, NQSOs, RSUs, ESPP can be confusing to say the least.
Today, I’m going to cover Restricted Stock Units or RSUs which have become a common way for established companies to compensate their employees, however, many people don’t understand the tax implications and risks associated. RSUs, also called Stock Awards, tie a component of employee compensation to the success of the stock. They are subject to a vesting schedule which provides an incentive for an employee to stay with the company as unvested shares are forfeited at the termination of employment.
For example, Lindsey is granted 400 RSUs with an annual vesting schedule of 25% of the grant. At the end of the first year, she receives 100 shares, or one quarter of the shares granted. An additional 100 shares vest each year thereafter. If she were to leave the company any unvested shares would be forfeited.
At the time of vesting, the RSU shares become common shares and are transferred to Lindsey. The market value of those RSU shares is taxed to her just like ordinary income. The company will often withhold a portion of the vested RSUs to pay the tax liability based on her withholding rates.
If she holds the shares, her tax basis will be the prevailing market value per share at the date of vesting. Once sold, the proceeds will be subject to capital gains holding period and tax rates.
Many people don’t understand that the decision to hold on to RSUs after vesting is the equivalent of a decision to purchase stock in the company at the current price.
For Lindsey, the exposure to her company in the form of both employment and future RSU vesting may be sufficient for her financial objectives and diversification may be prudent.
I encourage you to consult a financial advisor about your individual situation.
Nameless Warning - You're Worth It: http://youtu.be/dtHli5Y2E14
Uploading contracts to an online database should not take too long, and with the right solution, there should be a way to quickly drag and drop them into folders. Of course, the contract management team may want to give some thought as to how those folders are categorized. In some industries, it may make sense to classify them by agreement type, whereas in others they may need to be grouped by timeframe or date. It is obviously important to do what makes sense for your company and to ensure everyone understands the classification system that is instituted. With this sort of well-oiled system in place, it is a lot easier to keep a handle on things.
Divide and Conquer.
This is another area that is very industry-dependent, but it is highly unlikely that any company can afford to have an entire contract team devoted to managing one portfolio. More than likely, it is more realistic to divvy up the team and the contracts so that there is a leader for each relevant sphere. The entire team will obviously have to coordinate and communicate, but resources must be allocated in the most efficient manner possible. In turn, this will allow for several individuals to keep an eye on a smaller batch of contracts, thereby facilitating those periodic reviews.
Outsource the Tedium to Technology.