Employee Stock Option Provision Removed In Final Tax Reform Bill

December 15, 2017

House and Senate conferees removed a HR Policy opposed provision in the final tax reform bill that would have unfairly penalized employees and individual investors by requiring them to sell longer-held stocks first.  The Association communicated to Congress that many employees frequently receive compensation in stock and the provision would:

...punish retirees whose plans were built on holding on to company stock to fund their later years, and those employees who often sell their stock to pay for college or medical emergencies.   Ironically, our members’ equity-based compensation plans will become less attractive to workers when the company is doing well and the share price is rising.  Further, it is particularly unfair that the provision applies only to individuals and families, and not to investment companies.… As the final pieces [of the tax bill] are coming together, we hope you will agree that employees and investors should be able to manage their assets as they wish and you will be able to remove the 'first in – first out’ language, retaining the House’s approach which maintains current law.
The provision, which was also highlighted in a Wall Street Journal editorial, was dropped in the final conference report that Congress is expected to pass in the next few days.