IRS Logo
 
Print - Click this link to Print this page

Stocks (Options, Splits, Traders)

Question: I purchased stock from my employer under a § 423 employee stock purchase plan and received a Form 1099-B for selling it. How do I report this?

Answer:

Under a § 423 employee stock option plan, you have taxable income or a deductible loss when you sell the stock. Your income or loss is the difference between the amount you paid for the stock (the option price) and the amount you receive when you sell it. You generally treat this amount as capital gain or loss, but you may also have ordinary income to report.

You must account for and report this sale on your tax return. You have indicated that you received a Form 1099-B (.pdf), Proceeds From Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions. You must report all 1099-B transactions on Schedule D (Form 1040) (,pdf), Capital Gains and Losses, and you may need to use Form 8949 (.pdf), Sales and Other Dispositions of Capital Assets. This is true even if there is no net capital gain subject to tax.

You must first determine if you meet the holding period. You meet the holding period requirement if you do not sell the stock until the end of the:

  • The 1-year period after the stock was transferred to you, and
  • The 2-year period after the option was granted.

If you meet the holding period requirement:

  • You can generally treat the sale of stock as giving rise to capital gain or loss. You may have ordinary income if the option price was below the stock's fair market value at the time the option was granted.

If you do not meet the holding period requirement:

  • The ordinary income that you should report in the year of the sale is the amount by which the fair market value of the stock at the time of purchase (or vesting, if later) exceeds the exercise price. Treat any additional gain or loss as capital gain or loss.

If you meet the holding period requirement but the option exercise price is below the fair market value of the stock at the time the option was granted:

  • You report as ordinary income (wages) on line 7 of Form 1040 (.pdf), U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, the lesser of (1) the amount by which the stock’s fair market value on the date of grant exceeds the option price or (2) the amount by which the stock’s fair market value on the date of sale or other disposition exceeds the option price. Your employer should report the ordinary income to you as wages in box 1 of Form W-2 (.pdf), Wage and Tax Statement. If your employer (or former employer) does not provide you with a Form W-2, or if the Form W-2 does not include the income in box 1, you must still report the income as wages on line 7 of Form 1040 for the year of sale or other disposition.
  • If your gain is more than the amount you report as ordinary income, the remainder is a capital gain reported on Schedule D (Form 1040) and, if required, on Form 8949.

If you do not satisfy the holding period requirement and sell the stock for less than the amount you paid for it, your loss is a capital loss but you still may have ordinary income.

You should receive a Form 3922 (.pdf), Transfer of Stock Acquired Through an Employee Stock Purchase Plan Under Section 423(c), from your employer when the employer has recorded the first transfer of legal title of stock you acquired pursuant to your exercise of the option. This form will assist you in tracking your holding period and figuring your cost basis for the stock purchased through your qualifying plan.

Additional Information:


Category: Capital Gains, Losses and Sale of Home
Subcategory: Stocks (Options, Splits, Traders)

Please provide your feedback.

1. Was it easy to find your information within the above Frequently Asked Question?

2. How satisfied are you with the information provided within the above Frequently Asked Question?

3. If you still need help from the IRS, what would your next step be?




The OMB number for this study is 1545-1432.
If you have any comments regarding this study, please write to:
IRS, Tax Products Coordinating Committee
SE:W:CAR:MP:T:T:SP
1111 Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20224