In 2018, I worked for a company that was experiencing financial difficulties. I wasn't payed for a few months, and eventually in the summer we agreed to put together a severance agreement and part ways. As part of that agreement, the employer agreed to let me keep my company laptop, phone, and iPad, and some software projects that I had worked on, and additionally agreed to eventually pay me a sum of money that we felt was fair in consideration of the hardware/software. There was no explicit monetary value given to the hardware/software in the severance agreement. We signed the agreement in summer 2018, I kept the hardware/software, and I was eventually paid the full lump sum just this past March, 2019.
I assume that since I finally got paid the lump sum this year, that it will be part of my 2019 income? I researched a bit online and this seems to be the case. I wish it wasn't, because my income was low in 2018 and it would be better to pay at my 2018 rate.
How should I handle the hardware/software? Originally I figured I wouldn't have to worry about it, but then thought that maybe I would owe taxes on it. It certainly seems like a pain to go and try to value it-- and my employer didn't even include it's value in my W-2 anyways. And what's stopping someone from giving it an arbitrarily low valuation?