Be reasonable! – Court weighs in on executive compensation
Abstract: The Internal Revenue Code allows a business to deduct a “reasonable allowance for salaries or other compensation” it pays to executives and other employees. When an executive is also a shareholder of a C corporation, the IRS may challenge compensation it believes is unreasonably high, arguing that the excess is really a disguised dividend. Dividends aren’t deductible, so by characterizing payments as deductible compensation, the company reduces its tax bill. This article reviews a recent case, Menard, Inc. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue (March 10, 2009), and the potential impact on businesses.