In-Depth Guide to NonQualified Deferred Compensation Plans


Tax savings should be a component of the decision to participate, but not the main driver. The Trump presidency and the current Republican-controlled Congress continue to express interest in lowering federal tax rates, but delays and political obstacles have clouded the legislative prospects of tax reform. Does this uncertainty mean you should stop deferring compensation into your company’s NQDC plan or increase your deferrals? Of course, planning NQDC deferrals depends on many factors, not just your tax outlook. Interestingly, however, the proposed tax decreases, with just three tax brackets, may make deferral more appealing.

Income tax is payable in the year money is actually received by the Key Employee. It’s best to think about whether participating in one makes sense based on your own financial circumstances. For example, participating in an NQDC plan because you want to save more money for retirement might be pointless if you’re not maxing out your 401(k) every year.

What are the tax consequences of NQDC?

Tax laws and regulations are complex and subject to change, which can materially impact investment results. Fidelity cannot guarantee that the information herein is accurate, complete, or timely. Fidelity makes no warranties with regard to such information or results obtained by its use, and disclaims any liability arising out of your use of, or any tax position taken in reliance on, such information. Consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific situation. Securities offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Advisor. Advisory services and financial planning offered through Global Wealth Advisors are separate and unrelated to Commonwealth.

Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plan Faqs For Employers

It’s best to think about whether participating in one makes sense based on your own financial circumstances. For example, participating in a NQDC plan because you want to save more money for retirement might be pointless if you’re not maxing out your 401(k) every year. With qualified contribution limits, highly compensated employees often fall short of the recommended savings goal of 80 to 85% of pre-retirement income. Nonqualified deferred comp plans give them an easy way to contribute more and eliminate the gap.

How often should I review my NQDC plan(s) for compliance with section 409A?

This simple strategy is highly effective – even some pro athletes with multi-million dollar deals save this way. The PSCA findings of an uptick in noncompete clauses for NQDCs come just as the Federal Trade Commission has proposed a ban on noncompete clauses nationally. “An NQDC plan can typically be structured to meet an employer’s goals while still complying with other applicable laws,” she says.

  • This doesn’t prevent the business from using financial vehicles such as life insurance to plan for future liabilities.
  • Anticipated tax changes (and uncertainty around them) may then affect your decision-making.
  • The total on Schedule 2 is then entered on Line 23 (“Other taxes”) of Form 1040.
  • Oswald Financial can help with the initial evaluation to determine if this type of plan would be suitable for your company.

However, due to the fact that NQDC plans are entirely custom, it often doesn’t make sense to use them on a company-wide basis. It would be very labor-intensive for your Human Resources department to craft individual retirement plans for each employee. It may help to understand that the current limitations on NQDC plans arose out of some of the most significant business failures of the late 1900s and early 2000s.

Are Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans Right for My Business?

The timing for these plans could not be better for high earners and their employers. For 2020 tax returns, the usual April 15 filing deadline has been postponed to May 17, 2021. If you still need to file an extension of your tax-return deadline because of nonqualified deferred compensation, see the myNQDC FAQ on mistakes to avoid with extensions. Also, even with the delayed filing deadline, your first-quarter 2021 estimated taxes remain due by April 15. The IRS has still not finalized the Section 409A rules on W-2 reporting.

You should consider an amendment to your NQDC plan upon discovering an error in the way in which the documents were drafted, to correct a section 409A failure or to make changes to the terms of the plan. Before pursuing any amendments, it is important to have a discussion of the amendments with your tax advisor or legal counsel, as certain amendments may inadvertently trigger a section 409A failure. Set by the Social Security Administration, the Social Security wage cap also has not been increased for 2016 and remains at $118,500. With the 6.2% rate of Social Security tax, the maximum possible Social Security withholding in 2016 is $7,347.

When you defer receiving income, you also defer paying federal and state taxes on that income until it’s paid out to you. This can be especially appealing if you’re currently in a high tax bracket and expect to be in a lower tax bracket in the future. You can take advantage of reducing your present taxable income and scheduling your distributions to arrive in lower tax bracket years. Marginal Tax Rate is the percentage of tax paid on the next dollar of incremental taxable income. This tax rate would typically apply to any current deferrals, as each dollar of deferral is coming off the top of the total taxable income.

Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plan Faqs For Employers

If an employee defers compensation, they also defer the taxes they owe on it. If you have concerns about your company’s solvency, you may want to avoid contributions to nonqualified plans because of the risks presented by corporate bankruptcy. If you lose your job during the deferral period, the income in the plan will be distributed to you immediately, triggering taxes you may not want to pay at that time. From, our other website, comes news affecting nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plans.

There are some timing exceptions for new participants to existing plans, as well as for certain performance-based compensation. If your employer agrees to allow certain
changes, such as to a schedule distribution date or form of payment
(installment or lump sum), Section 409A rules provide boundaries. These types
of changes must be elected at least a year before the scheduled date and must delay
the distribution timing by at least five years. In
the simplest form, an NQDC plan is an unsecured promise from your employer to
pay your NQDC account balance at a future date. The plan gives you the
opportunity to defer a portion of your salary or bonus before taxes. The money you
defer is withheld from your paycheck and credited to your NQDC account.

  • Some plans may offer as many investment choices as in your company’s 401(k) investment menu.
  • With qualified contribution limits, highly compensated employees often fall short of the recommended savings goal of 80 to 85% of pre-retirement income.
  • When it comes to recruitment, there are many creative methods your business can use to attract good executive leadership.
  • SmartAsset Advisors, LLC (“SmartAsset”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Financial Insight Technology, is registered with the U.S.
  • Maximizing the amount you can contribute to your 401(k) plans.You should participate in the NQDC plan only if you can also afford the maximum annual contributions to your qualified deferral plans, as those are fully funded and protected by ERISA.

And, an employee can contribute as much as they want to their nonqualified deferred compensation plan. That’s why they can be beneficial to high-income earners who want to contribute more than qualified deferred compensation plans allow them to. At the same time, since NQDC plans are merely agreements there’s no guarantee that the benefits will be available to employees (especially if a company has financial problems and has to declare bankruptcy in the future). Employers choose to offer a nonqualified plan—among them, split dollar, executive bonus, stock incentive, and deferred compensation—for a variety of reasons. And when properly drafted, they are exempt from Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) qualified plan rules, such as limits on contributions, making them attractive to highly compensated employees. However, a special rule for Social Security and Medicare taxes (payroll tax) under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) applies to some NQDC plans.

Cash needs for the year ahead and multi-year projections for your income. At a minimum, these considerations will tell you whether you have extra cash to defer. Your cash-flow projections should factor in all sources of income, including equity compensation, against spending needs in the near future to help you decide how much to defer. is available through individual premium memberships or through corporate licensing. Premium members have access to all of, including the Learning Center, which offers up to 6 continuing education credits for CFPs, 6 PACE credit hours for CLU® and ChFC® professionals, and 12 CPE hours for ASPPA members. To learn about the corporate services offered by, please see the website’s About Us and Licensing sections.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *