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409A Valuation

Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code regulates the treatment of non-qualified deferred compensation to service providers for federal income tax purposes. A company must issue stock options at fair market value in order to legitimately benefit from this section of the code and will typically hire a third-party agency to issue a report determining exactly what that is. The report is commonly known as a 409A valuation and they are critical to issuing stock options for a venture backed company. Most startups order at least one per year, or after a material financing event, whichever is sooner.

83(b) Election

An 83(b) Election is an election made under the Internal Revenue Code that allows a person receiving shares (or units) under a vesting schedule to recognize income based on the entire value of the shares as of the date of the grant – instead of as the shares vest. Basically, you accelerate the ordinary income taxes. In the context of a startup, the ordinary income liability at the time of the grant is negligible because the value of shares early on is so nominal. You want this. But if you fail to file an 83(b) election, then you will be liable for paying ordinary income taxes on the difference between fair market value and the grant price when the shares vest. If your company’s value is increasing over time, this could be a nasty consequence.

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Accelerated Vesting

Accelerated Vesting is a process whereby a holder of restricted equity has the vesting schedule sped-up, or accelerated, upon the occurrence of certain events, i.e. termination of the holder without cause or a sale of the company.

Acceleration Clause

An Acceleration Clause refers to a contractual clause which allows debt owed over time to be “accelerated” so that it is owed immediately. You see this most often in promissory notes, where a default or breach of a provision of the agreement will cause the entire debt obligation to accelerate and become due immediately.

b

Balance Sheet

A Balance Sheet is one of the four main financial statements that provides a summary of a company’s finances at a specific point in time. All balance sheets include a company’s assets, liabilities, and equity. Unlike other financial statements, the balance sheet provides an accurate summary only at the time it is created.

c

Capital Account

A Balance Sheet is one of the four main financial statements that provides a summary of a company’s finances at a specific point in time. All balance sheets include a company’s assets, liabilities, and equity. Unlike other financial statements, the balance sheet provides an accurate summary only at the time it is created.

s

Section 368(a)(1) Reorganizations(or Tax Free Reorganization)

A set of statutory ways in which a corporation may reorganize or structure a restricturing without the transaction being taxable at the time of the transaction. Section 368(a)(1) reorganizations are sometimes used for acquisitions, restricturings, or mergers of companies.