By the book – Setting executive compensation correctly
Abstract: Overpaying executives is a sizzling topic this year, as legislators — and the public — fume over salaries in the financial, automotive and other industries getting federal bailout dollars. In the nonprofit arena, the IRS, too, is cracking down on salaries it considers unreasonable and is requiring stringent information about compensation on the new Form 990. To protect yourself from sanctions, you need to make sure that your board of directors, at the time it sets an executive salary, arrives at a “reasonable” amount based on comparables for similar positions and adequately documents that research. And, if compensation is above the norm, you need to be ready to justify it. Follow the tips in this article — and in a sidebar listing often-overlooked compensation items — to avoid trouble with Uncle Sam.