I live in the USA. I have some RSUs that are all long vested. I want to sell some, but not all of them. Many of the shares vested at different values, but they're all obviously at the same value now. Does it make any difference which shares I choose to sell?

I'm guessing if I sell the ones that vested the highest, then I'll pay the least capital gains taxes from the sale, which seems in my best interest for the short term at least. Is this correct? Are there other considerations I'm missing?


1 Answer 1


No, you're not missing anything. RSUs are pretty simple when it comes to taxes. They are taxed as compensation at fair market value when they vest, basically equivalent to the company giving you a cash bonus and then using it to buy company stock. The fair market value at vesting then becomes your cost basis. Assuming the value has increased since vesting, selling the shares that vested at least a year ago (to qualify for lower long-term capital gains tax rates) with the highest cost basis with result in the minimum taxes.

  • +1.The answer above is correct. If you were attempting to do something like tax loss harvesting, it might have an impact, as a note.
    – oBreak
    Aug 21, 2016 at 4:24
  • 1
    I ended up selling some that were less than a year old, but vested at very close to current value, so tax should still be minimal that way. Otherwise yeah I would have sold some older ones.
    – The111
    Aug 22, 2016 at 18:24

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