The multi-billion-dollar-gap between what publicly traded companies book as expenses for executive stock options and what they report cost the U.S. Treasury roughly $43 billion between 2004 and 2005, charged Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. Levin, who chairs the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said at a hearing earlier this week that companies are reporting higher deductions for stock options to the Internal Revenue Service than what they are reporting to their shareholders. Levin said when company directors who approve executive compensation learn that the options, while an expense, also produce a huge tax break, it "becomes a tempting proposition for them to pay their executives with stock options instead of cash." Levin proposed that the massive gap be closed via legislation that requires a uniform reporting standards for options.
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