Executive Compensation

In-house counsel and human resources professionals at tax-exempt colleges and universities often face a variety of challenges when structuring, and determining obligations due under, severance arrangements. There are some key considerations to bear in mind, which are outlined in this article.

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With the uncertainty of the general election just one year away—and change on the horizon—now is the time to take stock of the legal and regulatory environment to prepare your organization for the future.

On September 10 in Boston, the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC), Fidelity and McDermott invite you to join your peers and colleagues

Executives are no longer reluctant to lawyer up. News reports on executive/employer contretemps at Papa John’s, Barnes & Noble, Uber and other companies have drawn press attention in the past year; countless other executive/employer disputes have flown below radar.

Underlying these controversies is the executive’s employment agreement, typically the most high-stakes and closely negotiated employment

Those were the days: when family-owned businesses paid only passing attention to the business value of providing tax-efficient—and incentivizing—benefit plans and compensation options. Tomorrow, Employee Benefits partner Todd Solomon and Private Client partner Bobbi Bierhals join host Judith Wethall during our Fridays with Benefits webinar series to discuss benefit plans and compensation strategies for modern

As an update on an important matter that we raised during McDermott’s May 8 Tax Symposium, it is critical to promptly assess whether to report any excise taxes imposed under Section 4960 as the deadline for filing Form 4720 is May 15, 2019 for calendar year taxpayers. Section 4960 of the Internal Revenue Code imposes a 21% excise tax on compensation over $1 million paid to the five highest paid employees of a tax exempt organization, including a private foundation (PF). For purposes of applying Section 4960, the Internal Revenue Service includes compensation paid by related taxable organizations, which may include publicly held or privately held corporations that control who sits on the PF’s board of trustees.

Set forth below are the key issues relevant to establishing a reasonable, good faith position under Notice 2019-9 that the Section 4960 excise tax should not apply to volunteer officers of a PF who receive all of their compensation from taxable organizations related to such PF. What is important to understand is that the Section 4960 excise tax only applies if volunteer officers are treated as employees of the related PF. Whether an employee relationship exists is a facts and circumstances test, and having someone serve as an officer to meet state law nonprofit corporation requirements does not result, by itself, in employee status.

We have also provided steps that companies may follow in developing the facts necessary to establish such reasonable, good faith position pending the issuance of proposed regulations. Please feel free to contact us for assistance in developing such position or with any questions concerning Section 4960.


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In a presentation at McDermott’s Employment and Employee Benefits Forum, Jeffrey Holdvogt discussed qualified plans, including student loan repayment benefits and the rise of DOL/IRS/PBGC plan activity. He also commented on the scrutiny on plan governance and fiduciary process materials. He addressed the legal challenges and mandates, such as state laws protecting against balance billing

In a presentation at McDermott’s Employment and Employee Benefits Forum, Andrew Liazos discussed areas of focus for Section 162(m) and third-party loan funding for employee stock purchase plans (ESPPs). He also provided insight on the new SEC final rule on hedging, and the 21 percent excise tax on pay over $1 million to covered employees

In a presentation at McDermott’s Employment and Employee Benefits Forum, our lawyers discuss the patchwork of state and local laws surrounding pay equity for similarly situated employees doing the same job. Particularly in California, new developments have emerged further clarifying pay equity laws. For best practices, they recommend:

  • Establishing compensation ranges across substantially similar jobs

One of the more controversial and complex provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has been the 21 percent excise tax on certain nonprofit executive compensation. On December 31, 2018, the IRS issued interim guidance that addresses how this tax will apply in various situations that commonly arise for tax-exempt employers. Establishing internal systems

Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. and Glass, Lewis & Co., LLC both recently issued their annual proxy voting guideline updates. As revised, these guidelines have important implications for companies preparing for the 2019 proxy season.

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