Executive Compensation

Executives required to repay compensation as a result of a compensation clawback regulation, provision or policy should be mindful of certain tax consequences to the executive as a result of the repayment. As described below, the tax consequences will be different when repayment occurs in a year subsequent to the year of the original payment versus when payment and repayment occur in the same year, and with respect to the former, there is more than one avenue of tax relief available to the executive stemming from the repayment.

IRC Section 162(m) provides that a public company may not deduct annual compensation paid to a “covered employee” in excess of $1,000,000 per year, other than certain “qualified performance-based compensation.” For these purposes, “covered employees” generally include the company’s CEO and its three most highly compensated executive officers (other than the CEO and CFO) identified in the company’s “Summary Compensation Table.”

General:  The SEC recently released final pay ratio rules, which can be found here. As a new Item 402(u) of Regulation S-K, these rules codify the Dodd-Frank requirement for companies to disclose:

  • The median annual total compensation of all employees, excluding the Principal Executive Officer (“PEO”),
  • The annual total compensation of the PEO, and
  • The ratio of (i) and (ii).

The rules provide that this pay ratio must be expressed in a way that uses the median compensation as a base factor (i.e. 10 to 1, 10:1 or “the PEO compensation is ten times the median compensation”).