26 CFR § 1.1092(c)-2 - Equity options with flexible terms.

§ 1.1092(c)-2 Equity options with flexible terms.

(a) In general. Section 1092(c)(4) provides an exception to the general rule that a straddle exists if a taxpayer holds stock and writes a call option on that stock. Under section 1092(c)(4), the ownership of stock and the issuance of a call option meeting certain requirements result in a qualified covered call, which is exempted from the general straddle rules of section 1092. This section addresses the consequences of the availability of equity options with flexible terms under the qualified covered call rules.

(b) No effect on lowest qualified bench mark for standardized options. The availability of strike prices for equity options with flexible terms does not affect the determination of the lowest qualified bench mark, as defined in section 1092(c)(4)(D), for an equity option with standardized terms.

(c) Qualified covered call option status -

(1) Requirements. An equity option with flexible terms is a qualified covered call option only if -

(i) The option meets the requirements of section 1092(c)(4)(B) and § 1.1092(c)-1 (taking into account paragraph (c)(2) of this section);

(ii) The only payments permitted with respect to the option are a single fixed premium paid not later than 5 business days after the day on which the option is granted, and a single fixed strike price, as defined in § 1.1092(c)-4(d), that is payable entirely at (or within 5 business days of) exercise;

(iii) An equity option with standardized terms is outstanding for the underlying equity; and

(iv) The underlying security is stock in a single corporation.

(2) Lowest qualified bench mark -

(i) In general. For purposes of determining whether an equity option with flexible terms is deep in the money within the meaning of section 1092(c)(4)(C), the lowest qualified bench mark under section 1092(c)(4)(D) is the same for an equity option with flexible terms as the lowest qualified bench mark for an equity option with standardized terms on the same stock having the same applicable stock price.

(ii) Examples. The following examples illustrate the rules set out in paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section:

Example 1.
Taxpayer owns stock in Corporation X. Taxpayer writes an equity call option with flexible terms on Corporation X stock through a national securities exchange for a term of not more than 12 months. The applicable stock price for Corporation X stock is $73.75. Using the bench marks for an equity option with standardized terms with an applicable stock price of $73.75, the highest available strike price less than the applicable stock price is $70, and the second highest strike price less than the applicable stock price is $65. Therefore, an equity call option with flexible terms on Corporation X stock with a term of 90 days or less will not be deep in the money if the strike price is not less than $70. If the term is greater than 90 days, an equity call option with flexible terms on Corporation X will not be deep in the money if the strike price is not less than $65.
Example 2.
Taxpayer owns stock in Corporation Y. Taxpayer writes a 9-month equity call option with flexible terms on Corporation Y stock through a national securities exchange. The applicable stock price for Corporation Y stock is $14.75. Using the bench marks for an equity option with standardized terms with an applicable stock price of $14.75, the highest available strike price less than the applicable stock price is $12.50. However, under section 1092(c)(4)(D), the lowest qualified bench mark can be no lower than 85% of the applicable stock price, which for Corporation Y stock is $12.54. Thus, because the highest available strike price less than the applicable stock price for an equity option with standardized terms is lower than the lowest qualified bench mark under section 1092(c)(4)(D), the lowest strike price at which a qualified covered call option can be written is the next higher strike price, or $15.00. This $15.00 strike price requirement for a qualified covered call option applies to equity options with flexible terms, equity options with standardized terms, and qualifying over-the-counter options.
Example 3.
Taxpayer owns stock in Corporation Z. On May 8, 2003, Taxpayer writes a 21-month equity call option with flexible terms on Corporation Z stock through a national securities exchange. The applicable stock price for Corporation Z stock is $100. The bench marks for a 21-month equity option with standardized terms with an applicable stock price of $100 will be based upon the adjusted applicable stock price. Using the table at § 1.1092(c)-4(e), the applicable stock price of $100 is multiplied by the adjustment factor 1.12, resulting in an adjusted applicable stock price of $112. The highest available strike price less than the adjusted applicable stock price is $110, and the second highest strike price less than the adjusted applicable stock price is $105. Therefore, a 21-month equity call option with flexible terms on Corporation Z stock will not be deep in the money if the strike price is not less than $105.

(d) Effective date -

(1) In general. Except as provided in paragraph (d)(2) of this section, this section applies to equity options with flexible terms entered into on or after January 25, 2000.

(2) Effective date for paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section. Paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section apply to equity options with flexible terms entered into on or after July 29, 2002.

[T.D. 8866, 65 FR 3813, Jan. 25, 2000; Redesignated at 67 FR 20899, Apr. 29, 2002]