You think it might Go Big. You could wait until the options vest and exercise them then. Should you do it? How can it help you? Here are the three things I want you to walk rather, click away from this blog post thinking about: Yes, I know this is a tedious topic.
But this is important, you know? The most straight-forward approach is to wait for an option to vest and, at that point, decide whether to exercise it. If you exercise a vested stock option, you now own that stock outright. When you early exercise, you pay the exercise price now for options maybe even all of them!
Not all companies allow early exercise. So the first question you should answer is: Am I even allowed to early exercise? If not, well, at least your decision is simple. If the employment universe shines kindly on you, your company is going to grow possibly a lot! If you have options that vest over those same years, then as the company grows, the value of stock grows, which means the value of your options grow, which means your tax liability grows. First thing to do in this situation is: Thank your lucky stars that you hit gold.
The point of this 83 b election is that you pay a higher tax rate now on a small amount of income, and a lower tax rate later on hopefully a large amount of income. He already did it. If early exercise is available to you, ask yourself these questions: Which means this maneuver carries little financial risk. How confident am I that the company is going to be a big success?
Well, then, I have lovingly crafted this simplified decision process for you: Not paying attention to that day deadline! Getting caught up in the company enthusiasm and not thinking objectively about the risk to your personal finances. Investing in individual companies is risky enough. Investing in an individual start-up takes that risk to a whole new level. Nine out of 10 start-ups fail.
It can get acquired at a reasonable but not astronomical valuation. Been there, done that. The likelihood that your start-up will hit it big is very small. When I left my first start-up, I had outstanding options to exercise.
My point here is, well, two-fold: The 83 b election is not accompanied by a lovely, Google-able 83 b form from the IRS. But either your HR department can provide one companies often facilitate early exercise , of you can use this sample letter from the IRS. So, for anything but the most basic of decisions on this issue, I highly encourage you to work with an accountant or lawyer who specializes in stock options they exist!
How do you feel about betting on your company? You can leave a comment below. This article is provided for general information and illustration purposes only. Nothing contained in the material constitutes tax advice, a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security, or investment advisory services. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without written permission from Meg Bartelt, and all rights are reserved. And thanks for actually reading. Like coals to Newcastle, this must be for you.
This actually got me thinking about my options as I work for a startup too. Signing up for the newsletter now! Glad you liked it, Jo! So many things to keep track of! Your email address will not be published. How long ago were my stock options granted?
How will the rest of my financial situation be affected by using money right now to early exercise? Can I afford both financially and psychologically to lose every penny of the money I spend early exercising? What Is Early Exercise? Why Would You Early Exercise? When your company is ideally valued at very little, you pay income taxes on the accordingly small value of all your options.
When your company stock hopefully is worth much more, you only have to pay the lower capital-gains taxes on the increased value. Should You Early Exercise? How much money will it take to 83 b early exercise? Is early exercise available, and will it cost you vanishingly little to early exercise and pay the 83 b tax liability?
Will the cost to early exercise change your life at all significantly? Gotchas Not paying attention to that day deadline! Nice job on this post, Meg. This is a great summary to get the discussion started. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published.More...