Benefits Notes |

Employee benefits are an important part of every employees' total compensation package. The continuously evolving landscape in the areas of health care reform, retirement plan design, and executive compensation makes it difficult for employee benefits professionals to keep up with relevant developments. The employee benefits attorneys at Stinson Leonard Street provide human resources professionals, plan fiduciaries, actuaries, accountants, and others in the industry with practical and cost-effective assistance as they navigate through the complex laws, regulations and guidance that govern employee benefits plans. This blog highlights key developments in the employee benefits field and items of interest to our clients. Our Bloggers →

Latest Executive Compensation Posts

Participants in Top Hat Plans Must Exhaust Administrative Remedies

By Angela Bohmann | September 29, 2015

Deferred Compensation and 409A, ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Executive Compensation So-called "Top Hat" plans are nonqualified deferred compensation plans for a select group of management or highly compensated employees. These executive compensation arrangements are exempt from many ERISA provisions, but are not exempt from ERISA's claims procedure requirements. Therefore, top hat plans must provide...

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Are Top Hat Plans Entitled to a Discretionary Standard of Review?

By Angela Bohmann | May 22, 2015

Deferred Compensation and 409A, Executive Compensation Many years ago the Supreme Court decided that qualified retirement plans that gave their fiduciaries discretion to determine plan benefits were entitled to have their decisions, reviewed by a court under a generous “abuse of discretion” standard. Although that standard may be limited in situations in which the...

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When is a LLC Profits Interest not a Profits Interest? U.S. Tax Court: “When it is a Capital Interest”*

By Jeffrey Cairns | February 6, 2014

Compensation Questions, Deferred Compensation and 409A, ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Executive Compensation, Uncategorized On December 2, 2013, the United States Tax Court issued its opinion in Crescent Holdings, LLC et al vs. Commissioner, 141 T.C. No. 15 (12/2/13) wherein it examined the tax rules applicable to transfers of partnership interests as compensation. Crescent Holdings, LLC (“Holdings”) was a limited liability company...

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Too Much Discretion With Respect to Annual Bonuses May Cause Deferral of the Employer’s Deduction

By Jeffrey Cairns | December 3, 2013

Compensation Questions, Deferred Compensation and 409A, Executive Compensation In an IRS Field Attorney Advice Memorandum (FAA 20134301F) dated September 18, 2013, the IRS Office of Chief Counsel reviewed several common bonus plan designs in connection with a request for an opinion with regard to the timing of the employer’s tax deduction with respect to the accrual and payment of bonuses....

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If the Tax Withholding is Wrong, Don’t Rely on the Employer to Fix it – Part 2

By Angela Bohmann | August 7, 2013

Deferred Compensation and 409A, Executive Compensation, Payroll Over a year ago I blogged about the situation of former employees of Verizon who had never worked or resided in the United States but who had U.S. income taxes withheld from payments under benefit plans in which they participated while they worked for Verizon. The former employees had brought a claim for breach of...

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Next Stop: IRS Compliance Checks of Non-Governmental 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plans

By Jeffrey Cairns and Angela Bohmann | June 26, 2013

Compensation Questions, Deferred Compensation and 409A, Executive Compensation, Retirement Plans Recently the Employee Plans Compliance Unit (EPCU) of the Internal Revenue Service completed an informal compliance check of 401(k) plans conducted via an extensive written questionnaire sent to plan sponsors. The results of the compliance checks are being used to refine the focus of plan examination efforts. This...

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Nonresident Employee Avoids New York Taxes on Deferred Compensation Payment

By Angela Bohmann | May 13, 2013

Deferred Compensation and 409A, Executive Compensation, Payroll A taxpayer we will call John worked for a savings bank in New York that was acquired by Washington Mutual Bank. John participated in the New York bank’s supplemental executive retirement plan (SERP) and its deferred compensation plan, both of which were nonqualified deferred compensation plans. When Washington...

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More on Discounted Stock Options Under Section 409A

By Angela Bohmann | March 12, 2013

Deferred Compensation and 409A, Executive Compensation My colleague Jeff Cairns blogged about a recent court case confirming the IRS’s position that discounted stock options can be considered noncompliant nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements under Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code. Unless structured to be exercised only on a fixed date or an allowable...

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Section 409A Tax Assessed on Discounted Stock Options – Taxpayer Sues for Refund in Federal Court of Claims

By Jeffrey Cairns | March 7, 2013

Deferred Compensation and 409A, ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Executive Compensation, Payroll Code Section 409A which was effective in January 1, 2005, provides strict rules that must be applied to most deferred compensation arrangements accruing benefits after the effective date. Failure to comply with the Code and the applicable Treasury Regulations can result in a 20% surtax plus interest on the amounts...

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New York Taxes a Portion of Stock Option Gain of Nonresident Retiree

By Angela Bohmann | December 10, 2012

Deferred Compensation and 409A, Executive Compensation Like a number of states, New York requires nonresidents to pay income taxes on wages earned in the state. Those rules extend to an allocable portion of deferred compensation and gain from the exercise of stock options earned while employed in the state. The state’s ability to tax a nonresident is limited to this...

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