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Press release:

Year-End Financial-Planning Content At Explains The Impacts Of Tax Reform

Issued by:

Date: Nov. 14, 2018

November 14, 2018 -- Year-end is a key time for financial and tax planning, especially for the millions of employees who have stock compensation or holdings of company shares. Tax changes introduced in 2018 by the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (tax reform) significantly affect their year-end planning decisions. To help, provides education and guidance on major issues, choices, and innovative financial-planning strategies for the end of 2018 and the start of 2019. This content is available in the website's section Financial Planning: Year-End Planning.

Even after tax reform, multi-year planning is still valuable with equity compensation. "You can control the timing of stock sales and option exercises, and you know when restricted stock/RSUs will vest," notes Bruce Brumberg, the Editor-in-Chief of

Tax Brackets And Rates Affect Year-End Planning For Equity Compensation And Company Shares

Financial planning at year-end 2018 is more important than ever for employees with equity compensation who are evaluating whether to exercise stock options, sell shares acquired from equity compensation, or donate company stock to charities.

"Employees with equity grants, employee stock purchase plans, and company shares should be aware of the 2018 and 2019 thresholds for higher tax rates on compensation income and capital gains, the additional Medicare tax on compensation income, and the Medicare surtax on investment income," notes Mr. Brumberg. "They may want to consider keeping their income below those known thresholds, if possible, while evaluating whether there is enough withholding to cover the taxes owed," he adds.

"A big restricted stock/RSU vesting could push your income above the level that triggers the highest capital gains tax rate of 20% and/or the Medicare surtax of 3.8% on investment income," continues Mr. Brumberg. "If your income in the next calendar year will be less than the level that triggers those higher rates, waiting until 2019 to sell stock could give you a capital gains tax rate of just 15% and no Medicare surtax."

Factors That Drive Year-End Decisions

However, tax rates should not be the only consideration, cautions Mr. Brumberg. "Even if you predict that you will be in a lower tax bracket in the future, many experts maintain that tax rates should never be the main reason for exercising options or selling shares, or waiting to do so, at the end of the year. Instead, make investment objectives and personal financial needs, not tax considerations, the driver of your decisions."

Year-End Content Provides Education And Guidance

At, the section Year-End Planning has been fully updated for 2018, including revisions for what's different after tax reform. This content includes the following articles and FAQs.


  • 12 Ideas For Year-End Planning With Stock Compensation (Parts 1 and 2)
  • 7 Year-End Strategies For Restricted Stock, RSUs, And Performance Shares
  • Year-End Strategies For Employee Stock Purchase Plans
  • Six Ways Tax Reform Affects Your Stock Compensation And Financial Planning
  • Stockbrokers' Secrets: Year-End Planning For NQSOs, Restricted Stock, And RSUs
  • Stockbrokers' Secrets: Year-End Planning For ISOs
  • Leading Advisors Reveal Year-End Strategies For Equity Comp & Company
  • Making Gifts And Donations Of Company Stock
  • What should be on my 2018 year-end checklist of items to review, know, and consider about my stock compensation?
  • What are some key planning strategies at year-end 2018 for restricted stock, RSUs, and stock options?
  • How does tax reform affect stock compensation?
  • Next year I may be in a higher tax bracket. I am thinking about exercising my nonqualified stock options before then to accelerate income into this year. What issues do I need to think about?
  • If I sell stock this year, I can avoid higher taxes next year, including the 3.8% Medicare surtax on capital gains. What issues should I consider?
Alongside the core year-end articles and FAQs, other FAQs in the year-end section answer advanced related questions, including:
  • How can employees defer income to years when they are in a lower tax bracket?
  • How do the additional Medicare taxes on high earners affect planning for stock compensation?
  • How do employees harvest capital losses against capital gains from company stock holdings?
  • Are there strategies for using capital-loss carry-forwards from prior years?
  • What risks are posed by the wash sale rule?
  • What year-end strategies can help to minimize alternative minimum tax with incentive stock options?
  • How can employees save taxes on company stock by making gifts and donations, including those to private foundations or grantor-retained annuity trusts?
All of these questions, and many others, are answered in the section Financial Planning: Year-End Planning. In addition, the calculators and modeling tools at allow users to play out various "what if" scenarios with different tax rates and stock prices.

For similar education and guidance on year-end planning for nonqualified deferred compensation, employees can turn to, a separate sibling publication of Key year-end content there includes the following FAQs:
At year-end, when I am deciding on salary deferrals into my nonqualified plan for the year ahead, what should be the top issues in my decision-making?
What are the 2019 adjustments to the IRS limits for qualified retirement plans that affect nonqualified deferred compensation?

Corporate Licensing Available
For companies, education is vital for ensuring that stock compensation motivates and retains highly valued employees and executives. The expert yet reader-friendly content at is ideally suited for licensing by companies and stock plan providers for their stock plan participants. A customized version of the website's award-winning content can be seamlessly woven into companies' HR, benefits, and/or compensation portals. Accessible through any internet browser, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, licensed content from lets stock plan participants answer their own questions about their stock grants whenever they need to learn more--saving time for the stock plan staff and costs for the company. For more information, visit, email, or call 617-734-1979.

With exclusive articles, 800+ FAQs, podcasts, videos, the Tax Center, interactive quizzes, the Learning Center with courses for CE credit, the Global Tax Guide, an extensive glossary, a smartphone app for iOS and Android devices, and dynamic patented tools, is the premier online resource of educational content and tools on stock options, restricted stock, restricted stock units, performance shares, stock appreciation rights, and employee stock purchase plans. is written and managed by leading experts in equity compensation, and is produced by a company with a long history of successful publications explaining complex legal and financial subjects in plain English.

The accounting journal CPA Wealth Provider selected among companies "that have taken the lead through innovation, efficiency, initiative, or growth in the financial-planning area." The Specialized Information Publishers' Foundation honored MSO Pro with one of its Editorial Excellence Awards in the category of Best Interactive Content among niche publishers. The influential consumer magazine PC World has ranked among "the most useful sites ever" that "deliver top-notch information, support, and services." has also received extensive favorable coverage in the media, including BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The Boston Globe, and on CNN, National Public Radio, PBS,, and has a related site on nonqualified deferred compensation at The staff also created the successful insider trading prevention video series Think Twice, available at


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