FAQs: Bonus

1. I received salary and a cash bonus from the same source. Can I combine these?

Yes. You may write the phrase “salary and bonus” in either Block A or the “Other Income” column. Be sure to provide the combined amount of your salary and bonus. However, you may not combine salary and a bonus receivable (i.e., a bonus you have not yet received). Also, do not combine salary and a bonus in the form of stock options, restricted stock or other equity. Do not combine salary and deferred compensation.

2. I received my bonus in the form of stock options. How should I report this?

Follow the instructions for “incentive stock option.”

3. I have an outstanding bonus that I have not yet received. Do I have to receive this bonus prior to beginning government service?

A non-discretionary bonus may pose no issue. In some cases, however, the answer to this question may depend on an analysis of a criminal statute, 18 U.S.C. § 209. The payment also may implicate 5 C.F.R. § 2635.503. If you have an outstanding bonus that you have not received, you should be sure to discuss this issue with your ethics official before you receive the payment. 


This guide is not intended to provide investment advice, and you should not rely on statements in this guide when making investment decisions.

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