Government Ethics and the Tax Regulation of Executive Branch Appointees
Posted: 6 Oct 2000
The current interest in the ethical behavior of government officials, including in some cases demands that they divest ownership of stock and stock options received from corporate employers, reflects a long history of the regulation of potential conflicts of interest faced by appointees to the executive branch. Section 1043, added to the Internal Revenue Code by the Ethics Reform Act of 1989, has played an important part in this regulation, by allowing appointees to defer tax on the gain from forced divestitures. However, interpretations of the code provision by a nontax agency, the Office of Government Ethics, have created potential impediments to the flexible application of the statute, especially with respect to compensatory equity, and require careful planning.
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