Holloway Guide ToEquity Compensation
Common questions covered here
What does it mean to early exercise?
What happens to my unvested shares if I leave my company?
What are the advantages of early exercise?
Show 1 more

Early Exercise

Definition Sometimes, to help reduce the tax burden on stock options, a company will make it possible for option holders to early exercise (or forward exercise) their options, which means they can exercise even before they vest. The option holder becomes a stockholder sooner, after which the vesting applies to actual stock rather than options. This will have tax implications.

caution However, the company has the right to repurchase the unvested shares, at the price paid or at the fair market value of the shares (whichever is lower), if a person quits working for the company. The company will typically repurchase the unvested shares should the person leave the company before the stock they’ve purchased vests.

Restricted Stock Units

While stock options are the most common form of equity compensation in smaller private companies, RSUs have become the most common type of equity award for public and large private companies. Facebook pioneered the use of RSUs as a private company to allow it to avoid having to register as a public company earlier.

Definition Restricted stock units (RSUs) refer to an agreement by a company to issue an employee shares of stock or the cash value of shares of stock on a future date. Each unit represents one share of stock or the cash value of one share of stock that the employee will receive in the future. (They’re called units since they are neither stock nor stock options, but another thing altogether that is contractually linked to the value of stock.)

You’ve been reading an excerpt of an online book. Support the authors and the ad-free Holloway reading experience by purchasing it for instant, lifetime access plus a PDF download.
If you found this post worthwhile, please share!
Get full access to this book.
This page is an excerpt of a much larger book. Get full access now.

Make sure your equity generates wealth, not a shocking tax bill.

Stock options, RSUs, job offers, and taxes—a detailed reference, including hundreds of resources, explained from the ground up, for employees and managers.

  • 80-page online book
  • 364+links and references
  • Newly updated for 2021!
  • Digital access to this title in the Holloway Reader
  • Downloadable PDF and EPUB for personal offline use
Length: 80 pages
Edition: e2.1.0
Last Updated: 2021-02-19
Language: English
ISBN (Holloway.com):
978-1-952120-03-9

Equity Compensation

by Joshua LevyJoe Wallin
Stock options, RSUs, job offers, and taxes—a detailed reference, including hundreds of resources, explained from the ground up, for both employees and managers.

Learn more.

Enter your email for more details, updates from the authors, and free samples from the book.