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In this paper, we estimate that corporate deductions for executive compensation have been limited by this provision, with public corporations paying, on average, an extra .5 billion per year in federal taxes. Because actual tax return data are, by statute, confidential, our estimates are somewhat imprecise, as we have to infer both the tax deductibility of executive compensation and the corporation’s tax status from public filings.
They continue, however, to deduct the majority of their executive compensation, with these deductions costing the U. Our key findings are: Section 162 of the Internal Revenue Code covers trade and business expenses.
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In contrast to much of the debate today on the need of the federal government to raise tax revenue, the primary goal of Section 162(m), which limited tax deductions for executive compensation, was not to raise revenue but to reduce excessive, non-performance-based compensation—in other words, to do something about excessive compensation that 1992 presidential candidate William Jefferson Clinton campaigned against.
This paper will review the effectiveness of that provision in achieving its goals, and provide information on how much revenue it has raised or lost due to deductions for executive compensation. Companies have found it easy to get around the law. And it seems to have encouraged the options industry.
Shareholders are asked to, and usually do, approve plans without knowing whether the performance conditions are challenging or not, and the potential payouts from the plan.
Those details are left to the compensation committee, which must set the terms no later than the first quarter of the company’s fiscal year.
The paper will conclude with Section 5, which will look back on the impact of these tax provisions, specifically the limitations on deductions and their effect on executive compensation, and look forward to how certain current events, such as the adoption of say-on-pay policies, will affect the future of executive compensation.
In Section 2, we will go through the components of the compensation package and discuss the tax consequences of each.
Section 3 will utilize executive compensation information disclosed in corporate proxy statements—those required statements, useful in assessing how management is paid and identifying potential conflicts of interest, that must be filed with the U. Securities and Exchange Commission (Form DEF 14A)—to summarize and tabulate compensation reported for each year from 2007 to 2010 and to contrast the amounts reported with those actually deductible by those corporations.
Over the years, lawmakers have tweaked the tax code to limit disfavored forms of executive compensation, while regulators have increased the amount of disclosure companies must make. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) has introduced the Income Equity Act of 2011 (H. 382), which would amend the Internal Revenue Code to prohibit deductions for excessive compensation for any full-time employee; compensation is defined as “excessive” if it exceeds either 0,000 or 25 times the compensation of the lowest-paid employee, whichever is larger.
The objective of this study is to examine the impact of a prior limitation on deductibility of compensation, Internal Revenue Code Section 162(m).