At this time, Gusto only supports non-statutory stock options (NSOs). Use the information below to learn how to record these transactions in Gusto so it's reported on Form W-2 accurately.
In addition to wages, salaries, and commissions, other forms of compensation such as stock options must be included in an employee’s gross income. A NSO (also known as non-qualified stock options) gives employees an option to buy company stock at a fixed price for a certain period of time, with fewer conditions than statutory stock options. Reminder: Statutory stock options (such as Incentive Stock Options (ISOs) and Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP)) are not currently supported in Gusto—consult with a CPA or tax advisor on how to meet these requirements.
A NSO under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) provision of section 83(b) gives an employee the opportunity to elect current taxation to limit future taxes, when exercising non-statutory stock options. This is achieved by including in an employee’s gross income, the difference between the fair market value of the stock and the option’s exercise price. This difference (also known as the spread), is the amount that gets added to the employee’s gross income, is subject to income and employment tax, and is subsequently reported on the employee’s Form W-2.
To make sure income from the exercise of NSOs gets reported accurately on the W-2, you must complete the following actions.
The spread or amount from the exercise of the NSO can be added to the employee’s gross income in Gusto using one of two methods:
Preferred method: With a regular payroll
Make sure the employee has enough wages on this payroll to cover the increased taxes for the stock option. If there aren’t enough funds to cover the taxes or any more regular payrolls to run in the year, you can use the alternative method below.
Once the payroll has been run, remove the benefit from the employee’s profile, so it isn't applied to any future payrolls.
Alternative method: Use the benefit correction tool
Head to our article on how to fix a past benefit amount—this can be used to report stock options as well.
Reporting non-statutory stock options on Form W-2
Income from the exercise of non-statutory stock options, gets added to the W-2 boxes listed below.