Internal Revenue Service officials announced an initiative aimed at providing relief for rank-and-file employees affected by their companies’ issuance of backdated stock options.The program is designed for employees who may be unaware that they held backdated options -- not for corporate executives or other insiders who exercised backdated options.

According to reports, the IRS and other federal regulators -- including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation -- are continuing to investigate more than 100 companies to determine if they have manipulated the grant dates and exercise prices of options to boost the value to the corporate executive recipients. The SEC has already brought charges in a handful of cases.

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