is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months, or is, by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months, receiving income replacement benefits for a period of not less than 3 months under an accident and health plan covering employees of the participant’s employer. (3) and (4) as (4) and (5), respectively, and substituted “paragraph (1), (2), or (3)” for “paragraph (1) or (2)” wherever appearing. Some are clearly wrong, but we have made no attempt to correct them, as we have no way guess correctly in all cases, and do not wish to add to the confusion.
The requirements of this subparagraph are met if the plan provides that compensation for services performed during a taxable year may be deferred at the participant’s election only if the election to defer such compensation is made not later than the close of the preceding taxable year or at such other time as provided in regulations.
Employee stock options generally fall into two categories: qualified or statutory options, and non-qualified options (also called NSOs).
The impact of 409A will be felt primarily on holders and issuers of NSOs.
In the Acts legislative history, Congress signaled its desire to exempt stock options granted at fair market value from Code 409A, and the regulators have largely respected Congresss wishes in this regard. Congress clearly viewed the discount as a deferral of compensation subject to the new regime.
Section 409A was added to the Internal Revenue Code in October 2004 by the American Jobs Creation Act.
In the case of any specified employee, the requirement of subparagraph (A)(i) is met only if distributions may not be made before the date which is 6 months after the date of separation from service (or, if earlier, the date of death of the employee). 110–458 effective as if included in the provisions of Pub. 109–280 to which the amendment relates, except as otherwise provided, see section 112 of Pub. 110–458, set out as a note under section 72 of this title. The amendments made by this section shall not apply to any nonelective deferred compensation to which section 457 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 does not apply by reason of section 457(e)(12) of such Code, but only if such compensation is provided under a nonqualified deferred compensation plan—, a plan described in the preceding sentence adopts a plan amendment which provides a material change in the classes of individuals eligible to participate in the plan, this paragraph shall not apply to any nonelective deferred compensation provided under the plan on or after the date of the adoption of the amendment.” For special rules on applicability of amendments by subtitles A (§§ 101–108) and B (§§ 111–116) of title I of Pub. 109–280 to certain eligible cooperative plans, PBGC settlement plans, and eligible government contractor plans, see sections 104, 105, and 106 of Pub. 109–280, set out as notes under section 401 of this title.
For purposes of the preceding sentence, a specified employee is a key employee (as defined in section 416(i) without regard to paragraph (5) thereof) of a corporation any stock in which is publicly traded on an established securities market or otherwise. 109–135 struck out “first” after “requires that the”. ], the Secretary of the Treasury shall issue guidance under which a nonqualified deferred compensation plan which is in violation of the requirements of section 409A(b) of such Code shall be treated as not having violated such requirements if such plan comes into conformance with such requirements during such limited period as the Secretary may specify in such guidance.”], the Secretary of the Treasury shall issue guidance on what constitutes a change in ownership or effective control for purposes of section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as added by this section.” Written determinations for this section These documents, sometimes referred to as "Private Letter Rulings", are taken from the IRS Written Determinations page; the IRS also publishes a fuller explanation of what they are and what they mean. It appears that the IRS updates their listing every Friday.
A stock option granted with a per share exercise price that is less than the fair market value per share of a companys underlying stock on the date of grant is treated as deferred compensation under the Act.
With certain limited exceptions, this determination will result in tax at the time of vesting (as opposed to at exercise), an additional 20% tax on the optionee, and other potential penalties.