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Stock Options

The stock option is not a security but a right to acquire a share in the future. The price is agreed upon in advance or otherwise on favourable conditions. A characteristic for this kind of option is restricting conditions linked to continued employment. Stock options are personal and are not freely transferable. Stock options are normally received for free, the price of the shares is determined in advance and the contracts run for a long time (normally 10 years).

Examples of restricting conditions are that the option

  • becomes invalid if you end your employment
  • can not be transferred
  • can be exercised after a certain vesting period

Taxation of Stock Options

The liability to tax arises when you exercise your option to by shares. It is taxed as ordinary income. A benefit arises at the actual exercise of the option no matter if you keep the shares or not. The benefit is calculated as the difference between the fair market value of the share, before costs for administration or commission is deducted, and the exercise price.

The sale of the shares shall be reported as capital gain and costs for the administration and commission may be deducted.

There is no definition of the term stock option in Swedish tax law. This implies that tax regulations for stock options shall be used on all rights  that does not qualify as a security but entitles a right to acquire shares in the future

Same-Day Sale

A Same-Day Sale is when the acquired shares are sold in direct connection with the exercise of the option. Two transactions occur, an exercise that will be taxed as ordinary income and a sale that will be taxed as capital gain. The taxable benefit may be added as an acquisition cost when the capital gain is calculated. The time of taxation is the date when you exercise your option, not when you receive money in your account.

If you sell shares acquired through exercise of a stock option and you also own shares of the same kind and sort you must calculate the average cost of acquisition. This will also apply on a Same-Day sale which consists of two transactions. In this situation please contact the Local Tax Agency for further information.

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