U.S. markets open in 21 minutes

TurboTax Tip: How to Report RSUs or Stock Grants on Your Tax Return

TurboTax Staff

Restricted stock units (RSUs) and stock grants are often used by companies to reward their employees with an investment in the company rather than with cash. As the name implies, RSUs have rules as to when they can be sold. Stock grants often carry restrictions as well. How your stock grant is delivered to you, and whether or not it is vested, are the key factors when determining tax treatment.

A restricted stock unit is a substitute for an actual stock grant. If your company gives you an RSU, you don't actually receive company stock. Rather, you receive units that will be exchanged for actual stock at some future date. Typically, the date you take ownership of the actual shares, known as the vesting date, is based on either time or performance.

When you receive an RSU, you don't have any immediate tax liability. You only have to pay taxes when your RSU vests and you receive an actual payout of stock shares. At that point, you have to report income based on the fair market value of the stock.

With a stock grant, a company provides you with stock shares rather than a unit that gives you a future right. However, this doesn't always mean you're immediately free to sell the shares. Many stock grants have a vesting period, during which you may still lose the rights to the stock.

Only when you are fully vested in the stock do you have 100% ownership rights to do with the stock as you please. As with RSUs, stock grants typically vest after a period of time, or after certain performance measures are met. You're not liable for income tax until your stock grant vests, at which point you must report income equal to the value of the stock.

Check out this guide from TurboTax for more helpful insights on accurately reporting RSUs or stock grants on your income taxes.

Read the full article

Subscribe to the Turbo Tips podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and iHeartRadio for more tax tips in 5 minutes or less!