Stock Plan Services FAQs: Your Account
What type of stock plan do I have, and how does it work?
A stock plan is a benefit that companies provide to grant their employees the ability to receive or purchase shares of company stock as part of employee compensation. These plans can come in all shapes and sizes, so to learn more about what you have and how it works, choose your plan type below:
- Restricted Stock Units (PDF)
- Restricted Stock Awards (PDF)
- Employee Stock Purchase Plan (PDF)
- Stock Option Plans (PDF)
- Stock Appreciation Rights (PDF)
- Performance Awards (PDF)
Don't see your plan type or not sure which one you have? You can learn about your company's specific plan(s) by reviewing your plan documents or looking for the name of your stock plan on the home page of Fidelity NetBenefits®.
What are my plan documents, and where can I find them?
Your plan documents are issued by your company and provide details about how your stock plan works. You can view these documents by selecting Plan Information and Documents from the Quick Links drop-down menu on Fidelity NetBenefits®.
What is the difference between Fidelity.com and NetBenefits.com?
You can access your stock plan information through two different sites: Fidelity.com and NetBenefits.com. Both sites are part of Fidelity Investments and have information about your plans and accounts, and each site is accessible from the other, so you can easily jump between them.
NetBenefits.com is where you can view your plan’s details before your shares or cash is distributed to you. On this site, you can take any plan-related action, such as accepting a grant, enrolling in an ESPP, or making a tax election.
Fidelity.com is where you can view your personal account details and manage your shares or cash after they have been distributed to you by your stock plan. Your Fidelity Account® is where you can act on the proceeds of your plan, such as selling shares, moving money, or transferring assets.
What is my Fidelity Account®, and how does it work?
Your Fidelity Account® is where your stock plan shares and cash will be held when your awards pay out or when you make a purchase through an ESPP.
It's a brokerage account with lots of convenient features. You can manage your cash using an ATM or debit card, online bill paying, checkwriting, or money transfers. You can also leave your cash in your account and invest it for potential future growth.
How do I open my account?
Opening your Fidelity Account® is a simple but important step in setting up the future home for your shares. This account is where you can manage your awards and where your shares and cash will be deposited.
To open your account, just click Open Account on your Fidelity NetBenefits® home page and follow the instructions.
You can also review the Opening your Fidelity Account® (PDF) quick-start guide if you have any questions along the way.
Can I view my information on a tablet or smartphone?
Yes, you can view your account information, place trades, and even move money on a tablet or smartphone by downloading the Fidelity Mobile® app. Learn more about how to manage your accounts on the go with Fidelity Mobile® app.
How do I sell my shares?
Once your shares are available in your Fidelity Account®, you can sell them online or with the Fidelity Mobile® app. Simply log in to your account at Fidelity.com, click Trade under Account & Trade on the navigation bar at the top of the home page, and follow the step-by-step prompts.
You can also review the Selling Shares in Your Fidelity Account® (PDF) quick-start guide if you need some extra help.
How do I get my cash?
If you sold shares, exercised an award, or received a payout, there are several easy ways to access your cash directly from your Fidelity Account®. You can link a bank account, set up checkwriting, or use a debit card.
Setting up these features ahead of time will help ensure that you don’t have to wait for your cash. Visit the Features by Account page to get started.
What types of communications will I receive from Fidelity?
Fidelity Stock Plan Services has been chosen by your company to provide administrative services for your stock plan. You may receive a range of communications to help you understand and manage your stock plan, navigate important plan events, and create a financial plan to help you make the most of your stock benefits. Additionally, you'll always have online access to your account statements and confirmations.
To ensure that you get fast and secure updates, sign up for eDelivery to get all your communications and documents electronically.
Will I be charged a fee to exercise my stock options or to sell my shares?
Fees can be associated with each type of transaction. When you exercise or sell your shares, you'll be shown the estimated fees before finalizing the transaction.
You can also review your trade confirmation after a trade is placed, in the Statements section on Fidelity.com, which will show the exact amount of fees charged.
Note that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also imposes a fee at the time of sale. This fee is required for all equity trades.
How is my stock plan affected by taxes?
Shares of stock received or purchased through a stock plan are considered income and generally subject to ordinary income taxes. Additionally, when shares are sold, you’ll need to report the capital gain or loss.
To learn more about taxes, when they’re paid, and how to file your tax return, visit the Taxes and Tax-Filing Center.
- How do I accept my award?
How do I exercise my award?
If you received stock options or stock appreciation rights from your company and you decide to purchase company stock, it’s called “exercising.” Once you receive your shares, you can hold them or sell them to get cash.
To begin an exercise, first log in to Fidelity NetBenefits®Log In Required and select your stock plan. From the Summary tab, choose which award you want to exercise and select Exercise Options. This will show you the different ways you can exercise your award and explain how each method could work. Once you have determined which exercise method you would like to use, just follow the prompts to complete your transaction.
You can also use the Exercising Your Award (PDF) quick-start guide if you need some additional help.
How do I enroll in my employee stock purchase plan (ESPP)?
If you’re eligible and the enrollment window is open, you’ll see Enroll next to your ESPP’s name when you log in to Fidelity NetBenefits®Log In Required. You’ll be prompted to open a Fidelity Account® if one isn’t already open (it’s where your purchased shares will be deposited). To finish enrolling, simply choose an amount to contribute and then agree to the terms.
For more help, see the Enrolling in Your Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP) quick-start guide.
How do I set up tax withholding for my restricted stock or restricted stock units?
Tax withholding is when your employer holds money back from your equity compensation to cover ordinary income taxes. Because your award is considered a form of compensation, your employer is required to withhold taxes. These are the same types of taxes that you see withheld from your paycheck. Depending on your plan type, you may be able to choose how these taxes are paid. Check your plan's documents to see whether this applies to you.
If you're able to choose your withholding method, simply click Select Withholding Method from the Quick Links menu of your plan. From there, follow the prompts to apply your changes. You can also use the Setting Up Your Restricted Stock Tax Withholding (PDF) quick-start guide if you need help along the way.
To learn more about what tax withholding means and how it works, review the Tax Withholding in Company Stock Plans (PDF) guide.
Can I donate the shares from my awards to charity?
Yes, you can donate the shares that you receive through your awards or purchase plans. Before doing so, you should always check your plan documents to make sure you are complying with any applicable holding requirements.
A Giving Account® at Fidelity Charitable® is a tax-efficient strategy for donating your shares to charity. Compared with selling your shares and contributing the after-tax cash, donating your stock directly to charity may help you potentially avoid paying capital gains tax on the sale of stock while increasing the impact of your charitable donation at the same time.
Investing involves risk, including risk of loss.
Fidelity does not provide legal or tax advice, and the information provided is general in nature and should not be considered legal or tax advice. Consult an attorney, tax professional, or other advisor regarding your specific legal or tax situation.
Fidelity Stock Plan Services, LLC, provides recordkeeping and/or administrative services to your company's equity compensation plan, in addition to any services provided directly to the plan by your company or its service providers.
Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC, 900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917