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As expected, the charges focused on backdating stock options by doctoring employment documents, neglecting to record the stock-option expense on the company’s books, and misleading investors.

In order to qualify for this exception, the option in question must have an exercise price that equals or exceeds the per share value on the grant date (other requirements also apply). The second tax consideration identified in the Directive focuses on whether an option qualifies as an Incentive Stock Option ("ISO") pursuant to § 422.

It is not intended, and should not be regarded, as legal advice.

Readers who have particular questions about these issues should seek advice of counsel.

Because the on-going possibility of securities litigation, it is important to carefully manage all responses to the IRS audit so as to avoid any waiver of the attorney-client privilege or the attorney work product privilege. Fuller, Partner, Tax Group [email protected], 650.335.7205 Scott P.

Spector, Partner, Corporate Group [email protected], 650.335.7251 Barton W. Bassett, Partner, Tax Group [email protected], 650.335.7908 ©2007 Fenwick & West LLP. This alert is intended by Fenwick & West LLP to summarize recent developments in the law.


  1. On July 11 the IRS released an internal Industry Director Directive memorandum dated June 15, 2007 the 'Directive', which designates transactions involving backdated stock options as a 'Tier I Issue' for IRS agents.

  2. Ethics of Options Repricing and Backdating. Stock options have been used as a means of paying top-level eniployees since approxi-mately 1957;.

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