On December 2, 2017, the Senate approved its version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which contains proposals modifying certain executive compensation provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. The Senate’s approval of the executive compensation provisions follows substantively the same provisions proposed by the Senate Finance Committee’s bill, and the House of Representatives’ version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (known as H.R. 1, released on November 2, 2017 and modified by the House Committee on Ways & Means (the “Ways & Means Committee”)).  Currently, both bills approved by the House and the Senate include proposals to (1) create a new Section 83(i) that will allow the deferral of income from certain qualified equity grants made by private corporations, (2) significantly expand the scope of the $1 million deductibility limitation on executive compensation described in Section 162(m) (including an elimination of the exceptions for performance-based compensation and commissions) and (3) create a new Section 4960 that subjects excess remuneration paid to certain employees of tax-exempt organizations to an additional 20% tax payable by the employer.  The presence of these proposals in both plans makes it more likely that they will appear in a final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, if approved by Congress.

The chart in the link below provides a comparison of bills adopted by the House and Senate bills: (1) H.R. 1 as reported by the Ways & Means Committee on November 10, 2017 and passed by the House on November 16, 2017 and (2) as approved by the Senate on December 2, 2017, based on the draft reported by the Senate Finance Committee on November 20, 2017, with substantively similar executive compensation provisions as the bill passed by the House.

Comparison Chart of the Executive Compensation Provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

This summary does not describe all of the proposals in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.   As of the date of posting, the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is uncertain.  Ultimate enactment will require the passage of identical bills by both the House and Senate, and the signature of the President. Reconciliation of the two bills as a whole will require negotiation between the two houses. As a result, the precise form that tax reform legislation will take, when ultimately enacted, remains uncertain. Republican leadership has stated that it plans to present legislation for the President’s approval before the end of 2017.  Therefore, taxpayers should consider the effects of the proposals in the bills now. Please feel free to contact any member of the Proskauer Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group with any questions about this post.



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Photo of Andrea Rattner Andrea Rattner

Andrea S. Rattner is a partner in the Tax Department and member of the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group. For more than 30 years, her practice has focused on a broad range of executive compensation and employee benefits matters, advising clients on…

Andrea S. Rattner is a partner in the Tax Department and member of the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group. For more than 30 years, her practice has focused on a broad range of executive compensation and employee benefits matters, advising clients on an ongoing basis as well as in the context of corporate transactions and other transformative and unique situations. Her clients include public and private companies, boards of directors, compensation committees and senior executives in a broad range of industries. Andrea has been involved in Firm management for many years, having served as a member of the Executive Committee and a former chair of the Tax Department.

Andrea counsels clients with respect to the tax, securities, corporate governance, stock exchange, ERISA and other implications affecting executive compensation arrangements. Andrea regularly provides advice regarding equity arrangements (such as stock options, restricted stock, RSUs, LLC/partnership interests and phantom equity), employment agreements, change-in-control agreements and all other types of compensation arrangements (including incentive awards, SERPs, deferred compensation and “409A” covered and exempt arrangements).

She counsels clients on benefits and compensation matters arising in all types of corporate transactions, including mergers & acquisitions, spin-offs, restructurings, joint ventures, debt and equity offerings and bankruptcies. In numerous transactions, she has addressed the treatment of stock options and other equity awards, change-in-control and “golden parachute” tax issues, severance obligations and separation agreements, the negotiation of new employment agreements and other executive arrangements, retention and other bonus plans, benefit plan liabilities, COBRA, PBGC-related issues and post-closing benefit plan and compensation structures and integration.

Andrea also advises clients on compliance with ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code, and other laws affecting employee benefit plans, as well as plan design, administration, termination, fiduciary duty issues, prohibited transactions, qualification requirements and other matters concerning pension, profit-sharing, employee stock ownership, 401(k), and other types of plans. She has extensive experience with respect to the legal consequences relating to the use of employer stock in tax-qualified plans such as ESOPs, profit-sharing, stock bonus and pension plans.

Andrea has been lauded by various legal rankings directories, including Chambers USA and Legal 500, noting that her “depth of knowledge and involvement in this practice area, [including] the business and trends, is terrific.” She is also recognized for having an “excellent understanding of the business community” and for being “pro-active in keeping clients up to date.” She writes and lectures frequently on employee benefits and executive compensation matters and is a co-editor and chapter author of Executive Compensation (Law Journal Press). Since 1993, she has served as an adjunct professor on the faculty of Cornell University (New York State School of Industrial & Labor Relations-Management Programs). Andrea is also active in Proskauer’s relationship with the Women Corporate Directors (WCD), the only global membership organization of its kind focused on helping women obtain and succeed in board positions.