Annual ISO and ESPP Information and Reporting Requirements

by Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Contact

Annual Information Statements and IRS Returns

Requirement to Report

For any exercise of an incentive stock option (ISO) or transfer of a share previously purchased pursuant to a tax-qualified employee stock purchase plan (ESPP) where the purchase price paid for the share was (a) less than 100% of the fair market value on the date of grant or (b) not fixed or determinable on the date of grant, the Internal Revenue Code requires companies to:

  • furnish, by January 31, 2014, annual information statements to the participant who exercised the ISO or transferred the ESPP share; and
  • file, by February 28, 2014 (for paper filers) or by March 31, 2014 (for electronic filers), an information return with the IRS (please note that companies may request an automatic 30-day extension of this deadline by filing a Form 8809, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File Information Returns, with the IRS on or before the applicable filing deadline).  

With respect to reporting ESPP transactions, companies are required to report the first transfer of legal title to any share purchased under an ESPP plan. When a participant's shares are put into a brokerage account on behalf of such participant, the transaction is considered a transfer of legal title and, if it is the first transfer of legal title of the shares, it must be reported to the IRS and to the participant. If instead a participant's shares are issued directly to the participant or registered in the participant's name on the company's records, the transaction does not need to be reported to the IRS or to the participant because such transaction is not considered a transfer of legal title.

Participant information statements may either be delivered or mailed to the participant's last known address or, if the participant has given his or her consent to receive the statement electronically, provided in electronic format. The consent to receive the statement electronically must be made in a way that demonstrates that the participant can access the statement in the electronic format in which the statement will be provided. For example, if the statement will be sent as a Word attachment to an e-mail message, the consent also must be sent as a Word attachment to an e-mail message. Further, the participant must be provided with certain disclosures related to the consent, including the right to receive a paper copy and the manner in which consent may be withdrawn.

Format of Statement/Return

Returns for ISO and ESPP transactions must be submitted to the IRS on Form 3921 (for ISOs) and Form 3922 (for ESPPs).  You may order Form 3921 and/or 3922 by calling the IRS at 1-800-829-3676 or through the IRS website (please note that, even though Forms 3921 and 3922 may be found on the IRS website, you are not permitted to print and file these forms with the IRS; the IRS will only accept the official forms ordered from the IRS).   

Participant statements may be provided on Form 3921 (for ISOs) and Form 3922 (for ESPPs) or may be provided using a different format that complies with the substitute form requirements found in IRS Publication 1179.  At a minimum, substitute forms will need to contain all of the same information as the actual Form 3921 and 3922.

We expect that companies with a limited number of transactions will likely use Forms 3921 and/or 3922 (as opposed to substitute statements) since these forms will need to be prepared and submitted to the IRS in any event.  Further, we expect that companies that provide Form 3921 and/or 3922 to participants (again, as opposed to providing substitute statements) will deliver the form(s) to their participants, along with a cover letter explaining the statement in a manner similar to this statement for ISO transactions and this statement  for ESPP transactions.  

The IRS requires that a separate Form 3921 or Form 3922 as applicable be filed with the IRS for each transaction (i.e., each ISO exercise), even if one participant has multiple transactions during the course of the year.  If a company provides participants with an information statement that meets the substitute statement requirements, the IRS has indicated that the company may aggregate transactions and provide only one substitute statement to each participant who had multiple transactions during the year.

Whether you use Forms 3921 and/or 3922, or you use substitute forms, certain information must be included in the form, including for ESPP transactions, the price per share of ESPP stock transfers. If the exercise price is not fixed or determinable on the date of grant (e.g., the exercise price is the lesser of 85% of the fair market value on the first day of an offering period or 85% of the fair market value on the last day of an offering period), you must report the exercise price as if the purchase occurred on the grant date (i.e., the first day of the offering period).  In addition, if any individual participant has more than one ISO transaction or more than one ESPP transaction in a calendar year, you must include a unique account number on the form.  The IRS has indicated that this number may be any number, not longer than 20 digits, and can contain numbers, letters and special characters.  The unique number assigned to exercises/purchases by some stock plan administration programs could be used for this purpose.  Otherwise, you should create a system to assign numbers to each transaction.  Finally, even though you are only required to assign unique account numbers if a participant has more than one ISO or ESPP transaction in a year, we recommend that you assign a number to every ISO and ESPP transaction, as we expect that this will be used by the IRS to track/locate transactions and will likely be easier to ensure compliance if it is done consistently for all transactions.

Electronic Submission of IRS Returns

Companies that are required to file 250 or more ISO returns or 250 or more ESPP returns to the IRS must file the ISO or ESPP returns, as applicable, electronically through the IRS' Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) system.  To submit through the FIRE system, you will need to set up a FIRE account through the IRS website and you will need a Transmitter Control Code (TCC). If you are using a stock plan administration firm that will be submitting these returns on the company's behalf, they will likely use their TCC.  If you are not filing through a stock plan administration firm and/or do not have a TCC, you will have to submit a Form 4419, Application for Filing Information Returns Electronically, so that a TCC can be assigned to the company. Form 4419 must be submitted to the IRS at least 30 days prior to filing a return electronically, and thus, must be submitted no later than March 1, 2014 (or March 31, 2014 if an extension is obtained) in order to timely file Forms 3921 or 3922 electronically. Also, to submit returns through FIRE, you will need to create a submission file that meets the FIRE requirements. These formatting requirements for FIRE are somewhat onerous and, as a result, companies will likely need assistance in creating the submission file due to the formatting requirements (a number of stock plan administration firms are equipped to provide this assistance).  In addition, while you are permitted to voluntarily file electronically, because the process is challenging and potentially involves some cost to prepare the necessary file, most companies with limited transactions will find it more practical to prepare and file paper returns.

Penalties

The Internal Revenue Code imposes up to a US$100 penalty for each statement not furnished, or for each statement furnished to a participant with incomplete or incorrect information, up to a maximum penalty of US$1,500,000 per year. In addition, the Internal Revenue Code imposes up to a US$100 penalty for each return not filed with the IRS, or for each return filed with the IRS with incomplete or incorrect information, up to a maximum penalty of US$1,500,000 per year. Greater penalties will apply if a company intentionally fails to provide a statement or file a return with the IRS.

Additional Annual Reporting Requirements

Disqualifying Disposition of ISO Shares

A company must report any ordinary income that an optionee recognizes in connection with a disqualifying disposition of ISO shares during the 2013 calendar year in box 1 of the optionee's 2013 Form W-2. Failure to report this income will prevent a company from taking a deduction for the ordinary income that results from the disqualifying disposition and may subject the company to certain reporting penalties.

A sale of ISO shares before the later of the date which is two years after the date of grant and the date that is one year after the date of exercise is treated as a disqualifying disposition. The ordinary income recognized on a disqualifying disposition is equal to the difference between the ISO exercise price and the lesser of the fair market value of the shares on the date of exercise or the sale price of the shares.

Disposition of ESPP Stock

If any person transferred ESPP stock for the first time during the 2013 calendar year, a company must report in box 1 of the person's 2013 Form W-2 the amount of the purchase price discount (described below), if any, on ESPP stock and, if the ESPP stock was transferred in a disqualifying disposition, any ordinary income that the person recognized when the shares were transferred. The "purchase price discount" is the difference between the fair market value of the shares on the first day of the offering period and the purchase price that would result if the shares were actually purchased on the first day of the offering period. For example, if the purchase price of the ESPP stock is equal to the lesser of 85% of the fair market value on the first day of the offering period and 85% of the fair market value on the last day of the offering period (the purchase date), the purchase price discount is 15% of the fair market value on the first day of the offering period. Failure to report this income will prevent a company from taking a deduction for the ordinary income and may subject the company to certain reporting penalties.

A transfer of ESPP stock before the later of the date which is two years after the first day of the offering period or the date which is one year after the purchase date is treated as a disqualifying disposition. The ordinary income recognized on a disqualifying disposition is equal to the difference between the purchase price and the fair market value of the shares on the purchase date.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Contact
more
less

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide

JD Supra Privacy Policy

Updated: May 25, 2018:

JD Supra is a legal publishing service that connects experts and their content with broader audiences of professionals, journalists and associations.

This Privacy Policy describes how JD Supra, LLC ("JD Supra" or "we," "us," or "our") collects, uses and shares personal data collected from visitors to our website (located at www.jdsupra.com) (our "Website") who view only publicly-available content as well as subscribers to our services (such as our email digests or author tools)(our "Services"). By using our Website and registering for one of our Services, you are agreeing to the terms of this Privacy Policy.

Please note that if you subscribe to one of our Services, you can make choices about how we collect, use and share your information through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard (available if you are logged into your JD Supra account).

Collection of Information

Registration Information. When you register with JD Supra for our Website and Services, either as an author or as a subscriber, you will be asked to provide identifying information to create your JD Supra account ("Registration Data"), such as your:

  • Email
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Company Name
  • Company Industry
  • Title
  • Country

Other Information: We also collect other information you may voluntarily provide. This may include content you provide for publication. We may also receive your communications with others through our Website and Services (such as contacting an author through our Website) or communications directly with us (such as through email, feedback or other forms or social media). If you are a subscribed user, we will also collect your user preferences, such as the types of articles you would like to read.

Information from third parties (such as, from your employer or LinkedIn): We may also receive information about you from third party sources. For example, your employer may provide your information to us, such as in connection with an article submitted by your employer for publication. If you choose to use LinkedIn to subscribe to our Website and Services, we also collect information related to your LinkedIn account and profile.

Your interactions with our Website and Services: As is true of most websites, we gather certain information automatically. This information includes IP addresses, browser type, Internet service provider (ISP), referring/exit pages, operating system, date/time stamp and clickstream data. We use this information to analyze trends, to administer the Website and our Services, to improve the content and performance of our Website and Services, and to track users' movements around the site. We may also link this automatically-collected data to personal information, for example, to inform authors about who has read their articles. Some of this data is collected through information sent by your web browser. We also use cookies and other tracking technologies to collect this information. To learn more about cookies and other tracking technologies that JD Supra may use on our Website and Services please see our "Cookies Guide" page.

How do we use this information?

We use the information and data we collect principally in order to provide our Website and Services. More specifically, we may use your personal information to:

  • Operate our Website and Services and publish content;
  • Distribute content to you in accordance with your preferences as well as to provide other notifications to you (for example, updates about our policies and terms);
  • Measure readership and usage of the Website and Services;
  • Communicate with you regarding your questions and requests;
  • Authenticate users and to provide for the safety and security of our Website and Services;
  • Conduct research and similar activities to improve our Website and Services; and
  • Comply with our legal and regulatory responsibilities and to enforce our rights.

How is your information shared?

  • Content and other public information (such as an author profile) is shared on our Website and Services, including via email digests and social media feeds, and is accessible to the general public.
  • If you choose to use our Website and Services to communicate directly with a company or individual, such communication may be shared accordingly.
  • Readership information is provided to publishing law firms and authors of content to give them insight into their readership and to help them to improve their content.
  • Our Website may offer you the opportunity to share information through our Website, such as through Facebook's "Like" or Twitter's "Tweet" button. We offer this functionality to help generate interest in our Website and content and to permit you to recommend content to your contacts. You should be aware that sharing through such functionality may result in information being collected by the applicable social media network and possibly being made publicly available (for example, through a search engine). Any such information collection would be subject to such third party social media network's privacy policy.
  • Your information may also be shared to parties who support our business, such as professional advisors as well as web-hosting providers, analytics providers and other information technology providers.
  • Any court, governmental authority, law enforcement agency or other third party where we believe disclosure is necessary to comply with a legal or regulatory obligation, or otherwise to protect our rights, the rights of any third party or individuals' personal safety, or to detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or safety issues.
  • To our affiliated entities and in connection with the sale, assignment or other transfer of our company or our business.

How We Protect Your Information

JD Supra takes reasonable and appropriate precautions to insure that user information is protected from loss, misuse and unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration and destruction. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. You should keep in mind that no Internet transmission is ever 100% secure or error-free. Where you use log-in credentials (usernames, passwords) on our Website, please remember that it is your responsibility to safeguard them. If you believe that your log-in credentials have been compromised, please contact us at privacy@jdsupra.com.

Children's Information

Our Website and Services are not directed at children under the age of 16 and we do not knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of 16 through our Website and/or Services. If you have reason to believe that a child under the age of 16 has provided personal information to us, please contact us, and we will endeavor to delete that information from our databases.

Links to Other Websites

Our Website and Services may contain links to other websites. The operators of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using our Website or Services and click a link to another site, you will leave our Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We are not responsible for the data collection and use practices of such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of our Website and Services and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Information for EU and Swiss Residents

JD Supra's principal place of business is in the United States. By subscribing to our website, you expressly consent to your information being processed in the United States.

  • Our Legal Basis for Processing: Generally, we rely on our legitimate interests in order to process your personal information. For example, we rely on this legal ground if we use your personal information to manage your Registration Data and administer our relationship with you; to deliver our Website and Services; understand and improve our Website and Services; report reader analytics to our authors; to personalize your experience on our Website and Services; and where necessary to protect or defend our or another's rights or property, or to detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security, safety or privacy issues. Please see Article 6(1)(f) of the E.U. General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR") In addition, there may be other situations where other grounds for processing may exist, such as where processing is a result of legal requirements (GDPR Article 6(1)(c)) or for reasons of public interest (GDPR Article 6(1)(e)). Please see the "Your Rights" section of this Privacy Policy immediately below for more information about how you may request that we limit or refrain from processing your personal information.
  • Your Rights
    • Right of Access/Portability: You can ask to review details about the information we hold about you and how that information has been used and disclosed. Note that we may request to verify your identification before fulfilling your request. You can also request that your personal information is provided to you in a commonly used electronic format so that you can share it with other organizations.
    • Right to Correct Information: You may ask that we make corrections to any information we hold, if you believe such correction to be necessary.
    • Right to Restrict Our Processing or Erasure of Information: You also have the right in certain circumstances to ask us to restrict processing of your personal information or to erase your personal information. Where you have consented to our use of your personal information, you can withdraw your consent at any time.

You can make a request to exercise any of these rights by emailing us at privacy@jdsupra.com or by writing to us at:

Privacy Officer
JD Supra, LLC
10 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 300
Sausalito, California 94965

You can also manage your profile and subscriptions through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard.

We will make all practical efforts to respect your wishes. There may be times, however, where we are not able to fulfill your request, for example, if applicable law prohibits our compliance. Please note that JD Supra does not use "automatic decision making" or "profiling" as those terms are defined in the GDPR.

  • Timeframe for retaining your personal information: We will retain your personal information in a form that identifies you only for as long as it serves the purpose(s) for which it was initially collected as stated in this Privacy Policy, or subsequently authorized. We may continue processing your personal information for longer periods, but only for the time and to the extent such processing reasonably serves the purposes of archiving in the public interest, journalism, literature and art, scientific or historical research and statistical analysis, and subject to the protection of this Privacy Policy. For example, if you are an author, your personal information may continue to be published in connection with your article indefinitely. When we have no ongoing legitimate business need to process your personal information, we will either delete or anonymize it, or, if this is not possible (for example, because your personal information has been stored in backup archives), then we will securely store your personal information and isolate it from any further processing until deletion is possible.
  • Onward Transfer to Third Parties: As noted in the "How We Share Your Data" Section above, JD Supra may share your information with third parties. When JD Supra discloses your personal information to third parties, we have ensured that such third parties have either certified under the EU-U.S. or Swiss Privacy Shield Framework and will process all personal data received from EU member states/Switzerland in reliance on the applicable Privacy Shield Framework or that they have been subjected to strict contractual provisions in their contract with us to guarantee an adequate level of data protection for your data.

California Privacy Rights

Pursuant to Section 1798.83 of the California Civil Code, our customers who are California residents have the right to request certain information regarding our disclosure of personal information to third parties for their direct marketing purposes.

You can make a request for this information by emailing us at privacy@jdsupra.com or by writing to us at:

Privacy Officer
JD Supra, LLC
10 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 300
Sausalito, California 94965

Some browsers have incorporated a Do Not Track (DNT) feature. These features, when turned on, send a signal that you prefer that the website you are visiting not collect and use data regarding your online searching and browsing activities. As there is not yet a common understanding on how to interpret the DNT signal, we currently do not respond to DNT signals on our site.

Access/Correct/Update/Delete Personal Information

For non-EU/Swiss residents, if you would like to know what personal information we have about you, you can send an e-mail to privacy@jdsupra.com. We will be in contact with you (by mail or otherwise) to verify your identity and provide you the information you request. We will respond within 30 days to your request for access to your personal information. In some cases, we may not be able to remove your personal information, in which case we will let you know if we are unable to do so and why. If you would like to correct or update your personal information, you can manage your profile and subscriptions through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard. If you would like to delete your account or remove your information from our Website and Services, send an e-mail to privacy@jdsupra.com.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Privacy Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our Privacy Policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use our Website and Services following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, the practices of this site, your dealings with our Website or Services, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: privacy@jdsupra.com.

JD Supra Cookie Guide

As with many websites, JD Supra's website (located at www.jdsupra.com) (our "Website") and our services (such as our email article digests)(our "Services") use a standard technology called a "cookie" and other similar technologies (such as, pixels and web beacons), which are small data files that are transferred to your computer when you use our Website and Services. These technologies automatically identify your browser whenever you interact with our Website and Services.

How We Use Cookies and Other Tracking Technologies

We use cookies and other tracking technologies to:

  1. Improve the user experience on our Website and Services;
  2. Store the authorization token that users receive when they login to the private areas of our Website. This token is specific to a user's login session and requires a valid username and password to obtain. It is required to access the user's profile information, subscriptions, and analytics;
  3. Track anonymous site usage; and
  4. Permit connectivity with social media networks to permit content sharing.

There are different types of cookies and other technologies used our Website, notably:

  • "Session cookies" - These cookies only last as long as your online session, and disappear from your computer or device when you close your browser (like Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Safari).
  • "Persistent cookies" - These cookies stay on your computer or device after your browser has been closed and last for a time specified in the cookie. We use persistent cookies when we need to know who you are for more than one browsing session. For example, we use them to remember your preferences for the next time you visit.
  • "Web Beacons/Pixels" - Some of our web pages and emails may also contain small electronic images known as web beacons, clear GIFs or single-pixel GIFs. These images are placed on a web page or email and typically work in conjunction with cookies to collect data. We use these images to identify our users and user behavior, such as counting the number of users who have visited a web page or acted upon one of our email digests.

JD Supra Cookies. We place our own cookies on your computer to track certain information about you while you are using our Website and Services. For example, we place a session cookie on your computer each time you visit our Website. We use these cookies to allow you to log-in to your subscriber account. In addition, through these cookies we are able to collect information about how you use the Website, including what browser you may be using, your IP address, and the URL address you came from upon visiting our Website and the URL you next visit (even if those URLs are not on our Website). We also utilize email web beacons to monitor whether our emails are being delivered and read. We also use these tools to help deliver reader analytics to our authors to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

Analytics/Performance Cookies. JD Supra also uses the following analytic tools to help us analyze the performance of our Website and Services as well as how visitors use our Website and Services:

  • HubSpot - For more information about HubSpot cookies, please visit legal.hubspot.com/privacy-policy.
  • New Relic - For more information on New Relic cookies, please visit www.newrelic.com/privacy.
  • Google Analytics - For more information on Google Analytics cookies, visit www.google.com/policies. To opt-out of being tracked by Google Analytics across all websites visit http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout. This will allow you to download and install a Google Analytics cookie-free web browser.

Facebook, Twitter and other Social Network Cookies. Our content pages allow you to share content appearing on our Website and Services to your social media accounts through the "Like," "Tweet," or similar buttons displayed on such pages. To accomplish this Service, we embed code that such third party social networks provide and that we do not control. These buttons know that you are logged in to your social network account and therefore such social networks could also know that you are viewing the JD Supra Website.

Controlling and Deleting Cookies

If you would like to change how a browser uses cookies, including blocking or deleting cookies from the JD Supra Website and Services you can do so by changing the settings in your web browser. To control cookies, most browsers allow you to either accept or reject all cookies, only accept certain types of cookies, or prompt you every time a site wishes to save a cookie. It's also easy to delete cookies that are already saved on your device by a browser.

The processes for controlling and deleting cookies vary depending on which browser you use. To find out how to do so with a particular browser, you can use your browser's "Help" function or alternatively, you can visit http://www.aboutcookies.org which explains, step-by-step, how to control and delete cookies in most browsers.

Updates to This Policy

We may update this cookie policy and our Privacy Policy from time-to-time, particularly as technology changes. You can always check this page for the latest version. We may also notify you of changes to our privacy policy by email.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about how we use cookies and other tracking technologies, please contact us at: privacy@jdsupra.com.

- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.