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Unless I missed something obvious and OP said that s/he has left their company and their options were converted to non-statutory options (NSOs), #1 is not true.

For incentive stock options (ISOs) #1 is not true and the earnings are not taxed as income. However, the earnings generated by your shares ((EV - TP) * #S) will be applied as an adjustment for the purposes of computing your alternative minimum tax (AMT).

Startup employees have ISOs, and are able to exercise them as ISOs until 90 days after they leave.

> Startup employees have ISOs

This is not necessarily true. I am a startup employee and I have NSOs.

Also true here. And was a regular W-2 employee.

In this case it seemed to be the case where one of the founders didn't know the difference when setting things up initially. After series A one of the investors pointed it out and new employees were given ISOs and old employees savvy enough to care were paid off.

You're the first startup employee I've encountered in recent times who doesn't have ISOs. Are you a contractor / consultant who doesn't qualify for ISOs?

To answer both questions in this subthread, I'm a regular W-2 employee. I've been at the company since day 0, and I'm not sure whether all other employees get NSOs or not.

edit: just to make sure I'm not crazy I dug out my option agreement and it's definitely NSO.

The last line I thought about including in my GP post but didn't: "If you're a fulltime employee and you have NSOs, the founders botched the paperwork, plain and simple". As a founder myself, I think that's inexcusable in this day and age.

Condolences. That really sucks. :(

Well, two questions: what about employment at will? And, why would you prefer NSO over ISO?

Are you a 1099 or a W-2?

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