Nov 13, 2017

Senate GOP tax plan causing heartburn for startups

From left, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Finance chairman Orrin Hatch, Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Trump's economic adviser Gary Cohn, make statements to reporters. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The Senate GOP tax plan unveiled last week includes a provision that would tax stock options and restricted stock units at vesting, rather than when they are exercised (as under current law) or when there actually is a liquid market (as under the amended House proposal).

Why it matters, per Greg Grogan, a compensation and employee benefits attorney with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett: "Employees will owe taxes on 'potential' value on the vesting date of their options before they know whether the option will ever really be worth anything and before there is any cash available to pay taxes."

  • Not only is such a plan nonsensical in terms of encouraging new company creation, but it's also fiscally dumb.
  • For example, imagine if all early Facebook employees had been taxed at the time of vesting (at relatively low valuations) as opposed to the time of exercise or sale. Pretty sure that would result in lower tax revenue (while, again, the entire plan might have discouraged people from working to build Facebook in the first place).
  • If it passes: Startups would need to flip their compensation structure to favoring cash over equity.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,014,673 — Total deaths: 52,973 — Total recoveries: 210,335Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 244,678 — Total deaths: 5,911 — Total recoveries: 9,058Map.
  3. 2020 updates: The Democratic National Committee said its July convention will be postponed until August because of the coronavirus. A federal judge declined to delay Wisconsin's April 7 primary election.
  4. Jobs latest: Coronavirus unemployment numbers are like a natural disaster hitting every state.
  5. Public health latest: Anthony Fauci called for a nationwide stay-at-home order. FDA allows blood donations from gay men after 3-month waiting period, citing "urgent need."
  6. Business latest: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said oil companies are eligible for aid from new lending programs the Federal Reserve is setting up, but not direct loans from his department.
  7. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Navy removes captain of aircraft carrier who sounded alarm about coronavirus.
  8. 1 future thing: In developing countries, consequences of COVID-19 could be deeper and far more difficult to recover from.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

CNN: Fauci says U.S. should issue nationwide stay-at-home order

Dr. Anthony Fauci listens to President Trump speak during a briefing on April 1. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Trump administration should implement a stay-at-home order for the country, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at a CNN town hall on Thursday.

Why it matters: The recommendation stands in contrast to President Trump's calls for "flexibility." Nearly 4o states have issued stay-at-home orders to promote social distancing as a way to combat the novel coronavirus — but the orders vary in strictness and duration.

Go deeperArrow23 mins ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: Confirmed cases top 1 million

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Novel coronavirus infections have surpassed the 1 million mark after "near exponential growth" that's reached "almost every country," World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday.

The big picture: Policy responses to the global coronavirus crisis have been every-country-for-itself and — in the case of the U.S. and China — tinged with geopolitics. But, the scientific work underway to understand the virus and develop a vaccine has been globalized on an unprecedented scale.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 50 mins ago - Health