This excerpt taken from the DTV DEF 14A filed Apr 27, 2007.
Federal Income Tax Consequences of Options Under the Amended Stock Plan
We summarize the U.S. federal income tax consequences of the Amended Stock Plan under current federal law, which are subject to change, in the following discussion.
With respect to nonqualified stock options, the Company is generally entitled to deduct and the Participant recognizes taxable income in an amount equal to the difference between the option grant price and the fair market value of the shares at the time of exercise. The Participant will be entitled to long-term capital gain treatment on any further gain or loss (provided the Participant holds the shares for at least one year after exercise). With respect to ISOs, the Company is generally not entitled to a deduction nor does the participant recognize income at the time of exercise or (provided that the Participant holds the shares at least two years after grant and one year after exercise) at any later time. Rather, the Participant receives capital gains treatment on the difference between his or her basis and
the ultimate sales price. The Participant exercising an ISO may, however, be subject to the federal alternative minimum tax.
The current federal income tax consequences of other awards authorized under the Amended Stock Plan generally follow certain basic patterns: SARs are taxed and deductible in substantially the same manner as nonqualified stock options; restricted stock results in income recognition equal to the excess of the fair market value over the price paid (if any) only at the time the restrictions lapse (although employees may elect earlier taxation and convert future gains to capital gains); bonuses and performance share awards are generally subject to tax at the time of payment; cash-based awards are generally subject to tax at the time of payment; and compensation otherwise effectively deferred is taxed to the individual when paid. In each of the foregoing cases, the Company will generally have a corresponding deduction at the time the participant recognizes income.
Compensation to certain executive officers attributable to Awards that are not "performance-based" within the meaning of Section 162(m) of the Code may not be deductible to the extent that aggregate non-performance-based compensation to such officers exceeds $1,000,000 in any tax year.