Stock Option Backdating--How Big Are The Problems And What Should You Do?


Recently, over 40 public companies have come under investigation by the SEC or the Justice Department for improperly backdating options, and it is likely that more public companies will come under investigation in the future. At issue is whether option grants to executives and others were backdated to coincide with dates when a company’s stock price was low, thereby increasing the potential profits realized by the holders of the options if and when exercised. Improper backdating may be intentional or a result of faulty corporate procedures. In either event, serious accounting, tax, and disclosure issues result.

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