Should Stock Options Be Preferred to 401(k) & Other Plans

Research Report

Should Stock Options Be Preferred to 401(k) & Other Plans

August 5, 2002

Abstract

Congress must be careful in deciding whether or not to subject stock options to Social Security and unemployment tax. There is certainly a case to be made for not doing so, but Congress could find itself in the funny position of offering special employment tax treatment to employees who have stock options while denying it to the same degree to those who buy company stock through a section 401(k) plan. Moreover, if there is an employment tax preference for stock options but not for other compensation through stock or stock rights, companies may tend to use stock options in lieu of alternative compensation packages that might be more in the best long-run interests of the companies and the nation itself.

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