This excerpt taken from the GPS DEF 14A filed Apr 16, 2008.
The ESPP is intended to qualify as an employee stock purchase plan under Section 423 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. As a result, the U.S. federal income tax consequences of the purchase of shares of common stock under the ESPP are as follows:
An employee will have no taxable income when the shares of common stock are purchased for him or her under the ESPP. The employee generally will be taxed when he or she sells or otherwise disposes of the stock (such sales or dispositions are collectively referred to below as sales).
The employees income tax treatment depends on whether shares are sold within 24 months after the first day of the three-month purchase period in which the shares were purchased (the 24-month holding period). For a sale after the 24-month holding period, an employee will have ordinary income equal to the lesser of: (i) 15% of the fair market value of the shares on the first day of the purchase period; or (ii) the amount by which the fair market value of the stock at the time of sale exceeds the purchase price. Any additional gain from a sale after the 24-month holding period will be taxed as a long-term capital gain. Any loss will be taxed as a long-term capital loss. If shares are sold before the end of the 24-month holding period, the entire amount of the discount received from the stocks market price when the shares were purchased will be taxed as ordinary income. Any additional gain or any loss, measured by the difference between the sales proceeds and the fair market value of the stock when the shares were purchased, will be taxed as a long-term or short-term capital gain or
loss, depending on whether the employee has held the shares for more than one year at the time of sale. The holding period for determining whether the gain or loss is short-term or long-term begins on the day after the stock is purchased through the ESPP. We will be entitled to deduct for federal income tax purposes an amount equal to the ordinary income that an employee recognizes when he or she sells stock purchased under the ESPP within the 24-month holding period. We will not be entitled to such a deduction with respect to any shares that are sold after the 24-month holding period.