This excerpt taken from the FRME DEF 14A filed Mar 27, 2009.
Federal Income Tax Consequences
The following is a summary of federal income tax consequences to participants and First Merchants relative to the Equity Incentive Plan. The summary is not intended to be exhaustive and does not discuss the income tax laws of a state, local or other jurisdiction which may be applicable to a participant. In general, there are no federal income tax consequences to the recipient or to First Merchants upon the grant or exercise of an incentive stock option. If the recipient holds the shares purchased though the exercise of an incentive stock option for more than 1 year after the exercise date and 2 years after the option was granted (the “holding period”), the recipient will be eligible upon selling the shares for long-term capital gain treatment on any
excess in the amount of the sale price over the option price. First Merchants will not receive an income tax deduction in the event the recipient disposes of the shares after completion of the holding period. However, if the recipient sells the shares before the expiration of the holding period, the recipient will have made a “disqualifying disposition” and will realize ordinary income on the date of sale equal to the difference between the option price and the fair market value of the shares on the exercise date. The balance of the recipient’s gain, if any, on the sale of the shares is subject to capital gains treatment. First Merchants will receive an income tax deduction in the same amount and at the same time as the recipient realizes ordinary income.
The recipient of a non-qualified stock option will realize ordinary income upon exercising the option, equal to the difference between the option price and the fair market value on the exercise date of the shares purchased. First Merchants will receive an income tax deduction in the same amount and at the same time as the recipient realizes ordinary income. Upon the subsequent sale of any such shares by the recipient, any appreciation or depreciation in the value of the shares after the exercise date will be treated as a capital gain or loss.
In general, a recipient will not realize income on the date of an award of restricted stock, nor will First Merchants be entitled to a deduction at that time. The recipient will realize ordinary income in an amount equal to the fair market value of the awarded shares at the time the restrictions lapse on such shares, and First Merchants will be entitled to a corresponding income tax deduction. Dividends paid to recipients prior to the lapse of restrictions will be taxed as ordinary income to the recipient and deductible as such by First Merchants.