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the much different – and more financially beneficial – tax rules that apply when issuing “at the money” or "out of the money" stock options.Additionally, companies can use backdating to produce greater executive incomes without having to report higher expenses to their shareholders, which can lower company earnings and/or cause the company to fall short of earnings predictions and public expectations.Most shareholder approved option plans prohibit in-the-money option grants (and thus, backdating to create in-the-money grants) by requiring that option exercise prices must be no less than the fair market value of the stock on the date when the grant decision is made. For example, because backdating is used to choose a grant date with a lower price than on the actual decision date, the options are effectively in-the-money on the decision date, and the reported earnings should be reduced for the fiscal year of the grant.(Under APB 25, the accounting rule that was in effect until 2005, firms did not have to expense options at all unless they were in-the-money.This is a way of repricing options to make them valuable or more valuable when the option "strike price" (the fixed price at which the owner of the option can purchase stock) is fixed to the stock price at the date the option was granted.Cases of backdating employee stock options have drawn public and media attention.
At least that seems to be the conclusion reached by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding their first case against executives charged with fraud related to backdating.
The transaction should be ratified by minutes or resolutions of the participating entities.
There are some cases where this approach is not possible.
In comparison, had the options been granted at the year-end price when the decision to grant to options actually might have been made, the year-end intrinsic value would have been zero.
Backdating does not violate shareholder-approved option plans.