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September 07, 2004
Incentive Stock Option Rules Are Finalized
Incentive Stock Option Rules Are Finalized

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Treasury Department, on August 2, 2004, issued final regulations pertaining to incentive stock options (ISOs) (see U.S. Treasury Department Press Release, JS-1819, Aug. 2, 2004).

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The regs finalize, with only modest changes, the regs proposed in 2003. The regs assist taxpayers in complying with the law when engaged in the transfer of stock pursuant to the exercise of ISOs. Additionally, the final regs clarify rules regarding employee stock purchase plans (ESPPs), sometimes referred to as statutory options.

The final regs include a number of minor changes from the proposed regs, including revisions to the rules regarding maximum aggregate number of shares in an ISO plan, substitution and assumption of ISOs, and modification of ISOs.

The final regs, generally, will be effective on the earlier of January 1, 2006, or the first regularly scheduled stockholders' meeting of the granting corporation occurring at least 6 months after the publication of the final rule.

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