Should we merge [create synonyms] the tags and , or is there enough distinction to keep both. I guess we can create a distinction, but would need more appropriate definitions for both the tags and undertake a re-tagging exercise for the set of questions.

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  • BTW thanks for starting this discussion - I don't have a strong view but happy to help out with any cleanup. Apart from creating a synonym we can also (with mod powers) explicitly merge one tag into another which silently removes the old one. – GS - Apologise to Monica Sep 26 '15 at 16:11

When looking at plan that allow employees to purchase share of the company they fall into several groups:

  • shares vs options
  • publicly owned companies vs private companies

The placement in this grid determines tax implication, put it also determine what happens if a person leave the company, what happens to their shares. Other tags the exit: , and allow the question to be properly binned.

I don't think the two tags make it clear to a questioner what tag(s) are appropriate for their question. So I vote to merge them.

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  • I don't think I agree. Just based on the tags themselves (because employee-share-plan doesn't have a description, and employee-stock-options' description is weak), I'd say they aren't equivalent, and that employee-share-plan is a strict superset of employee-stock-options (and restricted-stock for that matter). – blm Sep 24 '15 at 22:38
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    @blm Could you post an answer and draw up some description for both the tags. We can then evaluate how many questions we can tag distinctly – Dheer Sep 25 '15 at 16:25

the above answer (@mhoran_psprep) dices some of the distinction, though in addition to the above, I suggest additional consideration:

  1. employee-share-plan typically is offered to all employees either pre- or after- tax, depending on the plan after meeting certain requirements: typically minimum length of employment . Somewhat similar to health benefits, etc.
  2. employee-stock-options are typically not offered to all, but to a few as compensation and as reward for superior performance. In addition, employee-stock-options are not to my knowledge, available in a tax deferred plan.

    In summary, the former is the employee's choice, and the latter is the choice of the employer; therefore, I believe the separation is important.

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  • Agreed. The question is more whether someone coming in for the first time can make this distinction and are the questions being tagged rightly or randomly – Dheer Oct 4 '15 at 2:05

"Stock options" and "Share plans" typically have very different risk profiles and tax treatments. Exercising a stock option can be done in a way that does not require the employee to invest their own cash. Many stock purchase plans allow the employee to spend cash to purchase stock at a discount. This up-front investment reduces the number of employees for whom the investment is affordable and prudent.

I think there should be two separate tags. Perhaps we need to review the tags, to make sure that individual questions are tagged appropriately.

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