1. 10 RSU shares vested February 20 on Fidelity.
  2. I immediately distributed them using net share tax settings.
  3. As soon as they hit my individual portfolio, I sold 10 shares, not knowing that I was using FIFO.
  4. I recently noticed that because of this, I still have 10 RSUs sitting in my portfolio.

I'm guessing that I already lost out on tax advantages by possibly selling shortly held stock on that transaction.

If these units are still labeled as RSUs, does that mean that they will still be treated as RSUs for taxes and should I sell them ASAP?

  • 2
    RSU are just shares, there's no special tax treatment
    – littleadv
    Jun 20 at 17:12
  • I thought that they were not considered to be short term stocks. Am I incorrect?
    – dev_etter
    Jun 20 at 17:17
  • 1
    You are. The acquisition date for RSU is when they vest, and the cost basis is the vest value, from thereon it's just another share you own.
    – littleadv
    Jun 20 at 17:46

1 Answer 1


The ordinary income tax impact for the RSUs occurs at vesting, and the price at vest sets the cost basis of those shares. Your holding period for long-term capital gains treatment also starts at vesting. Everything after that is a capital gain/loss based on the new cost basis (long-term if the holding period is longer than one year). Like littleadv said, they're just normal shares at that point. Selling the RSUs now will only have an additional tax impact to the extent that the sale price is higher/lower than the price at the time of vesting.

The sale of your ESPP shares may have increased (or decreased) your tax impact, though. Qualified ESPPs (Section 423 plans) have an ordinary income component and a capital gain/loss component at sale.

  • If the grant date was more than 2 years before the sale date and the shares were held for longer than 1 year, it's a qualifying disposition.
  • If the grant date was 2 years or less before the sale date or the shares were held for shorter than one year, it's a disqualifying disposition.

Your tax impact depends on your grant date, purchase date (or exercise date), sale date, discount percentage (if any), and the respective prices on those dates.

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