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Business Investment Loss On Stock Options For Bankrupt Company

Question: Hi, I do have a tax question for you. I’ve been filing a T1212 for several years now, deferring my security options. To be honest though, I’m a bit confused about how it all works. For instance, a couple of years ago that company went under and filed for bankruptcy. My security options that I have been deferring are worthless so I cannot dispose them. Can I write them off as a Business Investment Loss? Or is it to be filed under Capital Loss? And would I need to file a T1212 for the tax year? Thanks!

What is a T1212?

A T1212 “Statement of Deferred Security Options Benefits”, is a Canada Revenue Agency form used to keep track of the benefits deferred as a result of exercising a options after February 27, 2000.

A taxable benefit is a benefit you received from the company other than your pay.  If you paid for the stock options then you should not have been filing the T1212 because there was really no benefit to defer.

On the other hand, if you were granted stock options from your company and had been deferring the benefit using form T1212, then you include the benefit when you actually exercise the options. When you exercise the stock option, the difference between the price you actually paid for the shares and the price the shares are currently trading is added to your income.  If certain requirements are met, you would also receive a partial offsetting deduction of ½ the benefit.  This results in having your benefit taxed the same way as a capital gain.

Is There A Benefit?

In you case you have received stock option as a benefit from employment.  Since this is a benefit based on the future value of the underlying shares and these shares are now bankrupt and worthless, there is really no benefit.  Similarly, there is no actual capital loss or allowable business investment loss either since you invested nothing.

Consider it this way.  You acquired options at nil and when the corporation became bankrupt the options were nil as were the underlying shares.