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Tax Considerations of NQDC Plans: Meeting 409(A) Requirements, Remitting FICA, Vested Withholding Payments

Note: CLE credit is not offered on this program

Recording of a 110-minute CPE webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Thursday, September 23, 2021

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This course will discuss the complexities of non-qualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plans, including the timing and reporting of tax obligations for the employer and employee, meeting the requirements of IRC Section 409(A), and avoiding plan disqualification.


Deferred compensation is the portion of earnings that is earned in one year but paid in another. Contributions can be made by the employee or employer and can include stock, salary, property, other in-kind items, and certain incentive arrangements. Properly structured, deferring compensation allows deferral of income tax on the amount deferred and any interest or investment return credited to the plan.

NQDCs offer employers the flexibility to provide deferred compensation to certain selected employees without the burden of discrimination and compliance testing. With this flexibility comes significant compliance obligations. Section 409A stipulates that these plans must be in writing and must include specifics outlining how and when to pay the amounts deferred. The repercussions of noncompliance are severe and impact both the employer and employee. The amount deferred and its earnings could be immediately taxable to the employee and subject the employee to a 20 percent penalty plus an enhanced underpayment interest penalty.

Unless limited by the plan itself, an NQDC plan has no contribution limits. However, these plans lack the protection from creditors in the event of the employer's insolvency that is afforded qualified deferred compensation plans. Tax professionals working with businesses and individuals participating in or considering these plans must have a solid understanding of these employers' and employees' tax and compliance obligations.

Listen as our panel of deferred compensation experts explains the caveats and considerations of NQDC plans.



  1. NQDC plans: an overview
  2. IRC Section 409(a) requirements
  3. Penalties and sanctions
  4. Payment of FICA and federal taxes
  5. W-2 reporting
  6. Notable cases
  7. State tax considerations


The panel will discuss these and other critical issues:

  • What are the primary differences between qualified and non-qualified deferred compensation plans?
  • When does FICA tax on amounts deferred have to be remitted?
  • How does the rule of administrative convenience affect withholding payments on amounts vested?
  • What steps should employers take to ensure their plans meet 409(a) requirements?


Fosse, J. Marc
J. Marc Fosse

Trucker Huss

Mr. Fosse focuses on all the tax, securities, corporate and accounting issues related to executive and equity...  |  Read More

Pandya, Yatindra
Yatindra Pandya

Trucker Huss

Mr. Pandya practices in the areas of qualified retirement plans, multiemployer plans and executive compensation.

 |  Read More

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