Thursday, July 19, 2018

How Nonqualifying Deferred Compensation Plans Are Taxed

Financial advisor Robert Gill has been working in the financial services industry for more than 20 years. Robert Gill oversees daily operations at the independent brokerage firm of Epic Wealth Management in New Jersey,

Over the course of his career, Mr. Gill has handled many financial tools and plans designed for financial security, including nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plans. Also known as 409A plans, NQDC plans allow employees to delay the receipt of compensation such as salary, bonuses, and other taxable income. 

Most companies offer NQDC plans as an executive retirement benefit since 401(k) plans are not good fits for high-earners. However, other workers can also set up NQDC plans with their employers.

One of the benefits of NQDC plans is that when funds are deferred, a worker is not taxed on the deferred amount for that year. This allows high-earners to set aside a large portion of their salary for retirement without having to pay taxes on those earnings each year. 

However, when deferred compensation is collected, it is taxed. This means that a worker’s tax burden increases as their deferred compensation increases.

Extra taxes are also applied to the funds held by an NQDC plan if a worker receives funds from the plan early or if the plan doesn’t meet legal requirements. In these situations, workers are taxed on the entire amount of the deferred compensation as soon as they receive an early payout. This is true even if only part of the deferred funds are paid to the worker. Further, taxes are applied to the interest on the plan, and a 20-percent tax penalty may apply to all deferrals.