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Analyzing the Tax Benefits from Employee Stock Options

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  • ILONA BABENKO
  • YURI TSERLUKEVICH

Abstract

Employees tend to exercise stock options when corporate taxable income is high, shifting corporate tax deductions to years with higher tax rates. If firms paid employees the same dollar value in wages instead of stock options, the average annual tax bill for large U.S. companies would increase by $12.6 million, or 9.8%. These direct tax benefits of options increase in the convexity of the tax function. In addition, profitable firms can realize indirect tax benefits because stock options increase debt capacity. Although tax minimization is probably not the main motive for option grants, firms with larger potential tax benefits grant more options. Copyright (c) 2009 the American Finance Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Ilona Babenko & Yuri Tserlukevich, 2009. "Analyzing the Tax Benefits from Employee Stock Options," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(4), pages 1797-1825, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:64:y:2009:i:4:p:1797-1825
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    Cited by:

    1. Robin Döttling & Tomislav Ladika & Enrico Perotti, 2016. "The (Self-)Funding of Intangibles," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-093/IV, Tinbergen Institute.
    2. Chang, Xin & Fu, Kangkang & Low, Angie & Zhang, Wenrui, 2015. "Non-executive employee stock options and corporate innovation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 168-188.
    3. Sun, Lei & Widdicks, Martin, 2016. "Why do employees like to be paid with Options?: A multi-period prospect theory approach," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 106-125.
    4. Hamid Mehran & Alan Morrison & Joel Shapiro, 2011. "Corporate governance and banks: what have we learned from the financial crisis?," Staff Reports 502, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    5. Mindy X. Zhang & Qi Sun, 2016. "Financing Intangible Capital," 2016 Meeting Papers 230, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Martin Widdicks & Jinsha Zhao, 2014. "A Model of Equity Based Compensation with Tax," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(7-8), pages 1002-1041, September.
    7. Chen, Tsung-Kang & Liao, Hsien-Hsing & Chi, Cheng-Ming, 2014. "The economic consequences of regulatory changes in employee stock options on corporate bond holders: SFAS No.123R and structural credit model perspectives," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 381-394.
    8. repec:eee:jfinec:v:127:y:2018:i:2:p:285-302 is not listed on IDEAS

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