Tuesday, June 10, 2008

FAS 123R and Cross-Border Tax Issues

Excerpt from Practical US/International Tax Strategies by Albert W. Liguori, Michael Murphy and J.D. Ivy (Alvarez & Marsal Taxand, LLC)

Most public companies provide some form of stock compensation to their executives and employees and as a result must grapple with the tax and financial statement treatment of such equity compensation awards. Crossborder employment situations further complicate the tax and financial statement treatment of these awards.

The impact of recent developments in the transfer pricing arena as they relate to how equity compensation is treated under Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 123R (FAS 123R) and FAS 109 have now become natural opportunities for companies to determine not only whether they are in compliance with the financial statement and transfer pricing rules but also to undertake some tax-efficient planning.

Under FAS 123R, stock based compensation, which includes stock options and restricted stock units, must be valued at grant date and recognized as an expense for book purposes over the equity compensations’ vesting period. The vesting period is also known as the “service period” for which an employee earns the right to benefit from such equity compensation. Naturally, the amount expensed must be tax-effected. However, most foreign jurisdictions as well as the U.S. do not allow a tax deduction for equity compensation until the vesting is complete or the equity compensation is exercised. This difference in time (i.e., expense now, deduct later) results in deferred tax accounts. When accounting for these deferred taxes, it is important to know if and where a deduction will ultimately become available for the stock compensation, a task easier said than done.

Read More on FAS 123R

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