26 CFR 53.4958-4 - Excess benefit transaction.

§ 53.4958-4 Excess benefit transaction.
(a) Definition of excess benefit transaction—
(1) In general. An excess benefit transaction means any transaction in which an economic benefit is provided by an applicable tax-exempt organization directly or indirectly to or for the use of any disqualified person, and the value of the economic benefit provided exceeds the value of the consideration (including the performance of services) received for providing the benefit. Subject to the limitations of paragraph (c) of this section (relating to the treatment of economic benefits as compensation for the performance of services), to determine whether an excess benefit transaction has occurred, all consideration and benefits (except disregarded benefits described in paragraph (a)(4) of this section) exchanged between a disqualified person and the applicable tax-exempt organization and all entities the organization controls (within the meaning of paragraph (a)(2)(ii)(B) of this section) are taken into account. For example, in determining the reasonableness of compensation that is paid (or vests, or is no longer subject to a substantial risk of forfeiture) in one year, services performed in prior years may be taken into account. The rules of this section apply to all transactions with disqualified persons, regardless of whether the amount of the benefit provided is determined, in whole or in part, by the revenues of one or more activities of the organization. For rules regarding valuation standards, see paragraph (b) of this section. For the requirement that an applicable tax-exempt organization clearly indicate its intent to treat a benefit as compensation for services when paid, see paragraph (c) of this section.
(2) Economic benefit provided indirectly—
(i) In general. A transaction that would be an excess benefit transaction if the applicable tax-exempt organization engaged in it directly with a disqualified person is likewise an excess benefit transaction when it is accomplished indirectly. An applicable tax-exempt organization may provide an excess benefit indirectly to a disqualified person through a controlled entity or through an intermediary, as described in paragraphs (a)(2)(ii) and (iii) of this section, respectively.
(ii) Through a controlled entity—
(A) In general. An applicable tax-exempt organization may provide an excess benefit indirectly through the use of one or more entities it controls. For purposes of section 4958, economic benefits provided by a controlled entity will be treated as provided by the applicable tax-exempt organization.
(B) Definition of control— (1) In general. For purposes of this paragraph, control by an applicable tax-exempt organization means—
(i) In the case of a stock corporation, ownership (by vote or value) of more than 50 percent of the stock in such corporation;
(ii) In the case of a partnership, ownership of more than 50 percent of the profits interests or capital interests in the partnership;
(iii) In the case of a nonstock organization (i.e., an entity in which no person holds a proprietary interest), that at least 50 percent of the directors or trustees of the organization are either representatives (including trustees, directors, agents, or employees) of, or directly or indirectly controlled by, an applicable tax-exempt organization; or
(iv) In the case of any other entity, ownership of more than 50 percent of the beneficial interest in the entity.
(2) Constructive ownership.Section 318 (relating to constructive ownership of stock) shall apply for purposes of determining ownership of stock in a corporation. Similar principles shall apply for purposes of determining ownership of interests in any other entity.
(iii) Through an intermediary. An applicable tax-exempt organization may provide an excess benefit indirectly through an intermediary. An intermediary is any person (including an individual or a taxable or tax-exempt entity) who participates in a transaction with one or more disqualified persons of an applicable tax-exempt organization. For purposes of section 4958, economic benefits provided by an intermediary will be treated as provided by the applicable tax-exempt organization when—
(A) An applicable tax-exempt organization provides an economic benefit to an intermediary; and
(B) In connection with the receipt of the benefit by the intermediary—
(1) There is evidence of an oral or written agreement or understanding that the intermediary will provide economic benefits to or for the use of a disqualified person; or
(2) The intermediary provides economic benefits to or for the use of a disqualified person without a significant business purpose or exempt purpose of its own.
(iv) Examples. The following examples illustrate when economic benefits are provided indirectly under the rules of this paragraph (a)(2):
Example 1.
K is an applicable tax-exempt organization for purposes of section 4958. L is a wholly-owned taxable subsidiary of K. J is employed by K, and is a disqualified person with respect to K. K pays J an annual salary of $12m, and reports that amount as compensation during calendar year 2001. Although J only performed services for K for nine months of 2001, J performed equivalent services for L during the remaining three months of 2001. Taking into account all of the economic benefits K provided to J, and all of the services J performed for K and L, $12m does not exceed the fair market value of the services J performed for K and L during 2001. Therefore, under these facts, K does not provide an excess benefit to J directly or indirectly.
Example 2.
F is an applicable tax-exempt organization for purposes of section 4958. D is an entity controlled by F within the meaning of paragraph (a)(2)(ii)(B) of this section. T is the chief executive officer (CEO) of F. As CEO, T is responsible for overseeing the activities of F. T's duties as CEO make him a disqualified person with respect to F. T's compensation package with F represents the maximum reasonable compensation for T's services as CEO. Thus, any additional economic benefits that F provides to T without T providing additional consideration constitute an excess benefit. D contracts with T to provide enumerated consulting services to D. However, the contract does not require T to perform any additional services for D that T is not already obligated to perform as F's chief executive officer. Therefore, any payment to T pursuant to the consulting contract with D represents an indirect excess benefit that F provides through a controlled entity, even if F, D, or T treats the additional payment to T as compensation.
Example 3.
P is an applicable tax-exempt organization for purposes of section 4958. S is a taxable entity controlled by P within the meaning of paragraph (a)(2)(ii)(B) of this section. V is the chief executive officer of S, for which S pays V $w in salary and benefits. V also serves as a voting member of P's governing body. Consequently, V is a disqualified person with respect to P. P provides V with $x representing compensation for the services V provides P as a member of its governing body. Although $x represents reasonable compensation for the services V provides directly to P as a member of its governing body, the total compensation of $w $x exceeds reasonable compensation for the services V provides to P and S collectively. Therefore, the portion of total compensation that exceeds reasonable compensation is an excess benefit provided to V.
Example 4.
G is an applicable tax-exempt organization for section 4958 purposes. F is a disqualified person who was last employed by G in a position of substantial influence three years ago. H is an entity engaged in scientific research and is unrelated to either F or G. G makes a grant to H to fund a research position. H subsequently advertises for qualified candidates for the research position. F is among several highly qualified candidates who apply for the research position. H hires F. There was no evidence of an oral or written agreement or understanding with G that H will use G's grant to provide economic benefits to or for the use of F. Although G provided economic benefits to H, and in connection with the receipt of such benefits, H will provide economic benefits to or for the use of F, H acted with a significant business purpose or exempt purpose of its own. Under these facts, G did not provide an economic benefit to F indirectly through the use of an intermediary.
(3) Exception for fixed payments made pursuant to an initial contract—
(i) In general. Except as provided in paragraph (a)(3)(iv) of this section, section 4958 does not apply to any fixed payment made to a person pursuant to an initial contract.
(ii) Fixed payment—
(A) In general. For purposes of paragraph (a)(3)(i) of this section, fixed payment means an amount of cash or other property specified in the contract, or determined by a fixed formula specified in the contract, which is to be paid or transferred in exchange for the provision of specified services or property. A fixed formula may incorporate an amount that depends upon future specified events or contingencies, provided that no person exercises discretion when calculating the amount of a payment or deciding whether to make a payment (such as a bonus). A specified event or contingency may include the amount of revenues generated by (or other objective measure of) one or more activities of the applicable tax-exempt organization. A fixed payment does not include any amount paid to a person under a reimbursement (or similar) arrangement where discretion is exercised by any person with respect to the amount of expenses incurred or reimbursed.
(B) Special rules. Amounts payable pursuant to a qualified pension, profit-sharing, or stock bonus plan under section 401(a), or pursuant to an employee benefit program that is subject to and satisfies coverage and nondiscrimination rules under the Internal Revenue Code (e.g., sections 127 and 137), other than nondiscrimination rules under section 9802, are treated as fixed payments for purposes of this section, regardless of the applicable tax-exempt organization's discretion with respect to the plan or program. The fact that a person contracting with an applicable tax-exempt organization is expressly granted the choice whether to accept or reject any economic benefit is disregarded in determining whether the benefit constitutes a fixed payment for purposes of this paragraph.
(iii) Initial contract. For purposes of paragraph (a)(3)(i) of this section, initial contract means a binding written contract between an applicable tax-exempt organization and a person who was not a disqualified person within the meaning of section 4958(f)(1) and § 53.4958-3 immediately prior to entering into the contract.
(iv) Substantial performance required. Paragraph (a)(3)(i) of this section does not apply to any fixed payment made pursuant to the initial contract during any taxable year of the person contracting with the applicable tax-exempt organization if the person fails to perform substantially the person's obligations under the initial contract during that year.
(v) Treatment as a new contract. A written binding contract that provides that the contract is terminable or subject to cancellation by the applicable tax-exempt organization (other than as a result of a lack of substantial performance by the disqualified person, as described in paragraph (a)(3)(iv) of this section) without the other party's consent and without substantial penalty to the organization is treated as a new contract as of the earliest date that any such termination or cancellation, if made, would be effective. Additionally, if the parties make a material change to a contract, it is treated as a new contract as of the date the material change is effective. A material change includes an extension or renewal of the contract (other than an extension or renewal that results from the person contracting with the applicable tax-exempt organization unilaterally exercising an option expressly granted by the contract), or a more than incidental change to any amount payable under the contract. The new contract is tested under paragraph (a)(3)(iii) of this section to determine whether it is an initial contract for purposes of this section.
(vi) Evaluation of non-fixed payments. Any payment that is not a fixed payment (within the meaning of paragraph (a)(3)(ii) of this section) is evaluated to determine whether it constitutes an excess benefit transaction under section 4958. In making this determination, all payments and consideration exchanged between the parties are taken into account, including any fixed payments made pursuant to an initial contract with respect to which section 4958 does not apply.
(vii) Examples. The following examples illustrate the rules governing fixed payments made pursuant to an initial contract. Unless otherwise stated, assume that the person contracting with the applicable tax-exempt organization has performed substantially the person's obligations under the contract with respect to the payment. The examples are as follows:
Example 1.
T is an applicable tax-exempt organization for purposes of section 4958. On January 1, 2002, T hires S as its chief financial officer by entering into a five-year written employment contract with S. S was not a disqualified person within the meaning of section 4958(f)(1) and § 53.4958-3 immediately prior to entering into the January 1, 2002, contract (initial contract). S's duties and responsibilities under the contract make S a disqualified person with respect to T (see § 53.4958-3(c)(3)). Under the initial contract, T agrees to pay S an annual salary of $200,000, payable in monthly installments. The contract provides that, beginning in 2003, S's annual salary will be adjusted by the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the prior year. Section 4958 does not apply because S's compensation under the contract is a fixed payment pursuant to an initial contract within the meaning of paragraph (a)(3) of this section. Thus, for section 4958 purposes, it is unnecessary to evaluate whether any portion of the compensation paid to S pursuant to the initial contract is an excess benefit transaction.
Example 2.
The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that the initial contract provides that, in addition to a base salary of $200,000, T may pay S an annual performance-based bonus. The contract provides that T's governing body will determine the amount of the annual bonus as of the end of each year during the term of the contract, based on the board's evaluation of S's performance, but the bonus cannot exceed $100,000 per year. Unlike the base salary portion of S's compensation, the bonus portion of S's compensation is not a fixed payment pursuant to an initial contract, because the governing body has discretion over the amount, if any, of the bonus payment. Section 4958 does not apply to payment of the $200,000 base salary (as adjusted for inflation), because it is a fixed payment pursuant to an initial contract within the meaning of paragraph (a)(3) of this section. By contrast, the annual bonuses that may be paid to S under the initial contract are not protected by the initial contract exception. Therefore, each bonus payment will be evaluated under section 4958, taking into account all payments and consideration exchanged between the parties.
Example 3.
The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that in 2003, T changes its payroll system, such that T makes biweekly, rather than monthly, salary payments to its employees. Beginning in 2003, T also grants its employees an additional two days of paid vacation each year. Neither change is a material change to S's initial contract within the meaning of paragraph (a)(3)(v) of this section. Therefore, section 4958 does not apply to the base salary payments to S due to the initial contract exception.
Example 4.
The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that on January 1, 2003, S becomes the chief executive officer of T and a new chief financial officer is hired. At the same time, T's board of directors approves an increase in S's annual base salary from $200,000 to $240,000, effective on that day. These changes in S's employment relationship constitute material changes of the initial contract within the meaning of paragraph (a)(3)(v) of this section. As a result, S is treated as entering into a new contract with T on January 1, 2003, at which time S is a disqualified person within the meaning of section 4958(f)(1) and § 53.4958-3. T's payments to S made pursuant to the new contract will be evaluated under section 4958, taking into account all payments and consideration exchanged between the parties.
Example 5.
J is a performing arts organization and an applicable tax-exempt organization for purposes of section 4958. J hires W to become the chief executive officer of J. W was not a disqualified person within the meaning of section 4958(f)(1) and § 53.4958-3 immediately prior to entering into the employment contract with J. As a result of this employment contract, W's duties and responsibilities make W a disqualified person with respect to J (see § 53.4958-3(c)(2)). Under the contract, J will pay W $x (a specified amount) plus a bonus equal to 2 percent of the total season subscription sales that exceed $100z. The $x base salary is a fixed payment pursuant to an initial contract within the meaning of paragraph (a)(3) of this section. The bonus payment is also a fixed payment pursuant to an initial contract within the meaning of paragraph (a)(3) of this section, because no person exercises discretion when calculating the amount of the bonus payment or deciding whether the bonus will be paid. Therefore, section 4958 does not apply to any of J's payments to W pursuant to the employment contract due to the initial contract exception.
Example 6.
Hospital B is an applicable tax-exempt organization for purposes of section 4958. Hospital B hires E as its chief operating officer. E was not a disqualified person within the meaning of section 4958(f)(1) and § 53.4958-3 immediately prior to entering into the employment contract with Hospital B. As a result of this employment contract, E's duties and responsibilities make E a disqualified person with respect to Hospital B (see § 53.4958-3(c)(2)). E's initial employment contract provides that E will have authority to enter into hospital management arrangements on behalf of Hospital B. In E's personal capacity, E owns more than 35 percent of the combined voting power of Company X. Consequently, at the time E becomes a disqualified person with respect to B, Company X also becomes a disqualified person with respect to B (see § 53.4958-3(b)(2)(i)(A)). E, acting on behalf of Hospital B as chief operating officer, enters into a contract with Company X under which Company X will provide billing and collection services to Hospital B. The initial contract exception of paragraph (a)(3)(i) of this section does not apply to the billing and collection services contract, because at the time that this contractual arrangement was entered into, Company X was a disqualified person with respect to Hospital B. Although E's employment contract (which is an initial contract) authorizes E to enter into hospital management arrangements on behalf of Hospital B, the payments made to Company X are not made pursuant to E's employment contract, but rather are made by Hospital B pursuant to a separate contractual arrangement with Company X. Therefore, even if payments made to Company X under the billing and collection services contract are fixed payments (within the meaning of paragraph (a)(3)(ii) of this section), section 4958 nonetheless applies to payments made by Hospital B to Company X because the billing and collection services contract itself does not constitute an initial contract under paragraph (a)(3)(iii) of this section. Accordingly, all payments made to Company X under the billing and collection services contract will be evaluated under section 4958.
Example 7.
Hospital C, an applicable tax-exempt organization, enters into a contract with Company Y, under which Company Y will provide a wide range of hospital management services to Hospital C. Upon entering into this contractual arrangement, Company Y becomes a disqualified person with respect to Hospital C. The contract provides that Hospital C will pay Company Y a management fee of x percent of adjusted gross revenue (i.e., gross revenue increased by the cost of charity care provided to indigents) annually for a five-year period. The management services contract specifies the cost accounting system and the standards for indigents to be used in calculating the cost of charity care. The cost accounting system objectively defines the direct and indirect costs of all health care goods and services provided as charity care. Because Company Y was not a disqualified person with respect to Hospital C immediately before entering into the management services contract, that contract is an initial contract within the meaning of paragraph (a)(3)(iii) of this section. The annual management fee paid to Company Y is determined by a fixed formula specified in the contract, and is therefore a fixed payment within the meaning of paragraph (a)(3)(ii) of this section. Accordingly, section 4958 does not apply to the annual management fee due to the initial contract exception.
Example 8.
The facts are the same as in Example 7, except that the management services contract also provides that Hospital C will reimburse Company Y on a monthly basis for certain expenses incurred by Company Y that are attributable to management services provided to Hospital C (e.g., legal fees and travel expenses). Although the management fee itself is a fixed payment not subject to section 4958, the reimbursement payments that Hospital C makes to Company Y for the various expenses covered by the contract are not fixed payments within the meaning of paragraph (a)(3)(ii) of this section, because Company Y exercises discretion with respect to the amount of expenses incurred. Therefore, any reimbursement payments that Hospital C pays pursuant to the contract will be evaluated under section 4958.
Example 9.
X, an applicable tax-exempt organization for purposes of section 4958, hires C to conduct scientific research. On January 1, 2003, C enters into a three-year written employment contract with X (initial contract). Under the terms of the contract, C is required to work full-time at X's laboratory for a fixed annual salary of $90,000. Immediately prior to entering into the employment contract, C was not a disqualified person within the meaning of section 4958(f)(1) and § 53.4958-3, nor did C become a disqualified person pursuant to the initial contract. However, two years after joining X, C marries D, who is the child of X's president. As D's spouse, C is a disqualified person within the meaning of section 4958(f)(1) and § 53.4958-3 with respect to X. Nonetheless, section 4958 does not apply to X's salary payments to C due to the initial contract exception.
Example 10.
The facts are the same as in Example 9, except that the initial contract included a below-market loan provision under which C has the unilateral right to borrow up to a specified dollar amount from X at a specified interest rate for a specified term. After C's marriage to D, C borrows money from X to purchase a home under the terms of the initial contract. Section 4958 does not apply to X's loan to C due to the initial contract exception.
Example 11.
The facts are the same as in Example 9, except that after C's marriage to D, C works only sporadically at the laboratory, and performs no other services for X. Notwithstanding that C fails to perform substantially C's obligations under the initial contract, X does not exercise its right to terminate the initial contract for nonperformance and continues to pay full salary to C. Pursuant to paragraph (a)(3)(iv) of this section, the initial contract exception does not apply to any payments made pursuant to the initial contract during any taxable year of C in which C fails to perform substantially C's obligations under the initial contract.
(4) Certain economic benefits disregarded for purposes of section 4958. The following economic benefits are disregarded for purposes of section 4958—
(i) Nontaxable fringe benefits. An economic benefit that is excluded from income under section 132, except any liability insurance premium, payment, or reimbursement that must be taken into account under paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B)(2) of this section;
(ii) Expense reimbursement payments pursuant to accountable plans. Amounts paid under reimbursement arrangements that meet the requirements of § 1.62-2(c) of this chapter;
(iii) Certain economic benefits provided to a volunteer for the organization. An economic benefit provided to a volunteer for the organization if the benefit is provided to the general public in exchange for a membership fee or contribution of $75 or less per year;
(iv) Certain economic benefits provided to a member of, or donor to, the organization. An economic benefit provided to a member of an organization solely on account of the payment of a membership fee, or to a donor solely on account of a contribution for which a deduction is allowable under section 170 (charitable contribution), regardless of whether the donor is eligible to claim the deduction, if—
(A) Any non-disqualified person paying a membership fee or making a charitable contribution above a specified amount to the organization is given the option of receiving substantially the same economic benefit; and
(B) The disqualified person and a significant number of non-disqualified persons make a payment or charitable contribution of at least the specified amount;
(v) Economic benefits provided to a charitable beneficiary. An economic benefit provided to a person solely because the person is a member of a charitable class that the applicable tax-exempt organization intends to benefit as part of the accomplishment of the organization's exempt purpose; and
(vi) Certain economic benefits provided to a governmental unit. Any transfer of an economic benefit to or for the use of a governmental unit defined in section 170(c)(1), if the transfer is for exclusively public purposes.
(5) Exception for certain payments made pursuant to an exemption granted by the Department of Labor under ERISA. Section 4958 does not apply to any payment made pursuant to, and in accordance with, a final individual prohibited transaction exemption issued by the Department of Labor under section 408(a) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (88 Stat. 854) (ERISA) with respect to a transaction involving a plan (as defined in section 3(3) of ERISA) that is an applicable tax exempt organization.
(b) Valuation standards—
(1) In general. This section provides rules for determining the value of economic benefits for purposes of section 4958.
(i) Fair market value of property. The value of property, including the right to use property, for purposes of section 4958 is the fair market value (i.e., the price at which property or the right to use property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy, sell or transfer property or the right to use property, and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts).
(ii) Reasonable compensation—
(A) In general. The value of services is the amount that would ordinarily be paid for like services by like enterprises (whether taxable or tax-exempt) under like circumstances (i.e., reasonable compensation). Section 162 standards apply in determining reasonableness of compensation, taking into account the aggregate benefits (other than any benefits specifically disregarded under paragraph (a)(4) of this section) provided to a person and the rate at which any deferred compensation accrues. The fact that a compensation arrangement is subject to a cap is a relevant factor in determining the reasonableness of compensation. The fact that a State or local legislative or agency body or court has authorized or approved a particular compensation package paid to a disqualified person is not determinative of the reasonableness of compensation for purposes of section 4958.
(B) Items included in determining the value of compensation for purposes of determining reasonableness under section 4958. Except for economic benefits that are disregarded for purposes of section 4958 under paragraph (a)(4) of this section, compensation for purposes of determining reasonableness under section 4958 includes all economic benefits provided by an applicable tax-exempt organization in exchange for the performance of services. These benefits include, but are not limited to—
(1) All forms of cash and noncash compensation, including salary, fees, bonuses, severance payments, and deferred and noncash compensation described in § 53.4958-1(e)(2);
(2) Unless excludable from income as a de minimis fringe benefit pursuant to section 132(a)(4), the payment of liability insurance premiums for, or the payment or reimbursement by the organization of—
(i) Any penalty, tax, or expense of correction owed under section 4958;
(ii) Any expense not reasonably incurred by the person in connection with a civil judicial or civil administrative proceeding arising out of the person's performance of services on behalf of the applicable tax-exempt organization; or
(iii) Any expense resulting from an act or failure to act with respect to which the person has acted willfully and without reasonable cause; and
(3) All other compensatory benefits, whether or not included in gross income for income tax purposes, including payments to welfare benefit plans, such as plans providing medical, dental, life insurance, severance pay, and disability benefits, and both taxable and nontaxable fringe benefits (other than fringe benefits described in section 132), including expense allowances or reimbursements (other than expense reimbursements pursuant to an accountable plan that meets the requirements of § 1.62-2(c)), and the economic benefit of a below-market loan (within the meaning of section 7872(e)(1)). (For this purpose, the economic benefit of a below-market loan is the amount deemed transferred to the disqualified person under section 7872(a) or (b), regardless of whether section 7872 otherwise applies to the loan).
(C) Inclusion in compensation for reasonableness determination does not govern income tax treatment. The determination of whether any item listed in paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B) of this section is included in the disqualified person's gross income for income tax purposes is made on the basis of the provisions of chapter 1 of Subtitle A of the Internal Revenue Code, without regard to whether the item is taken into account for purposes of determining reasonableness of compensation under section 4958.
(2) Timing of reasonableness determination—
(i) In general. The facts and circumstances to be taken into consideration in determining reasonableness of a fixed payment (within the meaning of paragraph (a)(3)(ii) of this section) are those existing on the date the parties enter into the contract pursuant to which the payment is made. However, in the event of substantial non-performance, reasonableness is determined based on all facts and circumstances, up to and including circumstances as of the date of payment. In the case of any payment that is not a fixed payment under a contract, reasonableness is determined based on all facts and circumstances, up to and including circumstances as of the date of payment. In no event shall circumstances existing at the date when the payment is questioned be considered in making a determination of the reasonableness of the payment. These general timing rules also apply to property subject to a substantial risk of forfeiture. Therefore, if the property subject to a substantial risk of forfeiture satisfies the definition of fixed payment (within the meaning of paragraph (a)(3)(ii) of this section), reasonableness is determined at the time the parties enter into the contract providing for the transfer of the property. If the property is not a fixed payment, then reasonableness is determined based on all facts and circumstances up to and including circumstances as of the date of payment.
(ii) Treatment as a new contract. For purposes of paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section, a written binding contract that provides that the contract is terminable or subject to cancellation by the applicable tax-exempt organization without the other party's consent and without substantial penalty to the organization is treated as a new contract as of the earliest date that any such termination or cancellation, if made, would be effective. Additionally, if the parties make a material change to a contract (within the meaning of paragraph (a)(3)(v) of this section), it is treated as a new contract as of the date the material change is effective.
(iii) Examples. The following examples illustrate the timing of the reasonableness determination under the rules of this paragraph (b)(2):
Example 1.
G is an applicable tax-exempt organization for purposes of section 4958. H is an employee of G and a disqualified person with respect to G. H's new multi-year employment contract provides for payment of a salary and provision of specific benefits pursuant to a qualified pension plan under section 401(a) and an accident and health plan that meets the requirements of section 105(h)(2). The contract provides that H's salary will be adjusted by the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the prior year. The contributions G makes to the qualified pension plan are equal to the maximum amount G is permitted to contribute under the rules applicable to qualified plans. Under these facts, all items comprising H's total compensation are treated as fixed payments within the meaning of paragraph (a)(3)(ii) of this section. Therefore, the reasonableness of H's compensation is determined based on the circumstances existing at the time G and H enter into the employment contract.
Example 2.
The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that the multi-year employment contract provides, in addition, that G will transfer title to a car to H under the condition that if H fails to complete x years of service with G, title to the car will be forfeited back to G. All relevant information about the type of car to be provided (including the make, model, and year) is included in the contract. Although ultimate vesting of title to the car is contingent on H continuing to work for G for x years, the amount of property to be vested (i.e., the type of car) is specified in the contract, and no person exercises discretion regarding the type of property or whether H will retain title to the property at the time of vesting. Under these facts, the car is a fixed payment within the meaning of paragraph (a)(3)(ii) of this section. Therefore, the reasonableness of H's compensation, including the value of the car, is determined based on the circumstances existing at the time G and H enter into the employment contract.
Example 3.
N is an applicable tax-exempt organization for purposes of section 4958. On January 2, N's governing body enters into a new one-year employment contract with K, its executive director, who is a disqualified person with respect to N. The contract provides that K will receive a specified amount of salary, contributions to a qualified pension plan under section 401(a), and other benefits pursuant to a section 125 cafeteria plan. In addition, the contract provides that N's governing body may, in its discretion, declare a bonus to be paid to K at any time during the year covered by the contract. K's salary and other specified benefits constitute fixed payments within the meaning of paragraph (a)(3)(ii) of this section. Therefore, the reasonableness of those economic benefits is determined on the date when the contract was made. However, because the bonus payment is not a fixed payment within the meaning of paragraph (a)(3)(ii) of this section, the determination of whether any bonus awarded to N is reasonable must be made based on all facts and circumstances (including all payments and consideration exchanged between the parties), up to and including circumstances as of the date of payment of the bonus.
(c) Establishing intent to treat economic benefit as consideration for the performance of services—
(1) In general. An economic benefit is not treated as consideration for the performance of services unless the organization providing the benefit clearly indicates its intent to treat the benefit as compensation when the benefit is paid. Except as provided in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, an applicable tax-exempt organization (or entity controlled by an applicable tax-exempt organization, within the meaning of paragraph (a)(2)(ii)(B) of this section) is treated as clearly indicating its intent to provide an economic benefit as compensation for services only if the organization provides written substantiation that is contemporaneous with the transfer of the economic benefit at issue. If an organization fails to provide this contemporaneous substantiation, any services provided by the disqualified person will not be treated as provided in consideration for the economic benefit for purposes of determining the reasonableness of the transaction. In no event shall an economic benefit that a disqualified person obtains by theft or fraud be treated as consideration for the performance of services.
(2) Nontaxable benefits. For purposes of section 4958(c)(1)(A) and this section, an applicable tax-exempt organization is not required to indicate its intent to provide an economic benefit as compensation for services if the economic benefit is excluded from the disqualified person's gross income for income tax purposes on the basis of the provisions of chapter 1 of Subtitle A of the Internal Revenue Code. Examples of these benefits include, but are not limited to, employer-provided health benefits and contributions to a qualified pension, profit-sharing, or stock bonus plan under section 401(a), and benefits described in sections 127 and 137. However, except for economic benefits that are disregarded for purposes of section 4958 under paragraph (a)(4) of this section, all compensatory benefits (regardless of the Federal income tax treatment) provided by an organization in exchange for the performance of services are taken into account in determining the reasonableness of a person's compensation for purposes of section 4958.
(3) Contemporaneous substantiation—
(i) Reporting of benefit—
(A) In general. An applicable tax-exempt organization provides contemporaneous written substantiation of its intent to provide an economic benefit as compensation if—
(1) The organization reports the economic benefit as compensation on an original Federal tax information return with respect to the payment (e.g., Form W-2, “Wage and Tax Statement”, or Form 1099, “Miscellaneous Income”) or with respect to the organization (e.g., Form 990, “Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax”), or on an amended Federal tax information return filed prior to the commencement of an Internal Revenue Service examination of the applicable tax-exempt organization or the disqualified person for the taxable year in which the transaction occurred (as determined under § 53.4958-1(e)); or
(2) The recipient disqualified person reports the benefit as income on the person's original Federal tax return (e.g., Form 1040, “U.S. Individual Income Tax Return”), or on the person's amended Federal tax return filed prior to the earlier of the following dates—
(i) Commencement of an Internal Revenue Service examination described in paragraph (c)(3)(i)(A)(1) of this section; or
(ii) The first documentation in writing by the Internal Revenue Service of a potential excess benefit transaction involving either the applicable tax-exempt organization or the disqualified person.
(B) Failure to report due to reasonable cause. If an applicable tax-exempt organization's failure to report an economic benefit as required under the Internal Revenue Code is due to reasonable cause (within the meaning of § 301.6724-1 of this chapter), then the organization will be treated as having clearly indicated its intent to provide an economic benefit as compensation for services. To show that its failure to report an economic benefit that should have been reported on an information return was due to reasonable cause, an applicable tax-exempt organization must establish that there were significant mitigating factors with respect to its failure to report (as described in § 301.6724-1(b) of this chapter), or the failure arose from events beyond the organization's control (as described in § 301.6724-1(c) of this chapter), and that the organization acted in a responsible manner both before and after the failure occurred (as described in § 301.6724-1(d) of this chapter).
(ii) Other written contemporaneous evidence. In addition, other written contemporaneous evidence may be used to demonstrate that the appropriate decision-making body or an officer authorized to approve compensation approved a transfer as compensation for services in accordance with established procedures, including but not limited to—
(A) An approved written employment contract executed on or before the date of the transfer;
(B) Documentation satisfying the requirements of § 53.4958-6(a)(3) indicating that an authorized body approved the transfer as compensation for services on or before the date of the transfer; or
(C) Written evidence that was in existence on or before the due date of the applicable Federal tax return described in paragraph (c)(3)(i)(A)(1) or (2) of this section (including extensions but not amendments), of a reasonable belief by the applicable tax-exempt organization that a benefit was a nontaxable benefit as defined in paragraph (c)(2) of this section.
(4) Examples. The following examples illustrate the requirement that an organization contemporaneously substantiate its intent to provide an economic benefit as compensation for services, as defined in paragraph (c) of this section:
Example 1.
G is an applicable tax-exempt organization for purposes of section 4958. G hires an individual contractor, P, who is also the child of a disqualified person of G, to design a computer program for it. G executes a contract with P for that purpose in accordance with G's established procedures, and pays P $1,000 during the year pursuant to the contract. Before January 31 of the next year, G reports the full amount paid to P under the contract on a Form 1099 filed with the Internal Revenue Service. G will be treated as providing contemporaneous written substantiation of its intent to provide the $1,000 paid to P as compensation for the services P performed under the contract by virtue of either the Form 1099 filed with the Internal Revenue Service reporting the amount, or by virtue of the written contract executed between G and P.
Example 2.
G is an applicable tax-exempt organization for purposes of section 4958. D is the chief operating officer of G, and a disqualified person with respect to G. D receives a bonus at the end of the year. G's accounting department determines that the bonus is to be reported on D's Form W-2. Due to events beyond G's control, the bonus is not reflected on D's Form W-2. As a result, D fails to report the bonus on D's individual income tax return. G acts to amend Forms W-2 affected as soon as G is made aware of the error during an Internal Revenue Service examination. G's failure to report the bonus on an information return issued to D arose from events beyond G's control, and G acted in a responsible manner both before and after the failure occurred. Thus, because G had reasonable cause (within the meaning § 301.6724-1 of this chapter) for failing to report D's bonus, G will be treated as providing contemporaneous written substantiation of its intent to provide the bonus as compensation for services when paid.
Example 3.
H is an applicable tax-exempt organization and J is a disqualified person with respect to H. J's written employment agreement provides for a fixed salary of $y. J's duties include soliciting funds for various programs of H. H raises a large portion of its funds in a major metropolitan area. Accordingly, H maintains an apartment there in order to provide a place to entertain potential donors. H makes the apartment available exclusively to J to assist in the fundraising. J's written employment contract does not mention the use of the apartment. H obtains the written opinion of a benefits compensation expert that the rental value of the apartment is not includable in J's income by reason of section 119, based on the expectation that the apartment will be used for fundraising activities. Consequently, H does not report the rental value of the apartment on J's Form W-2, which otherwise correctly reports J's taxable compensation. J does not report the rental value of the apartment on J's individual Form 1040. Later, the Internal Revenue Service correctly determines that the requirements of section 119 were not satisfied. Because of the written expert opinion, H has written evidence of its reasonable belief that use of the apartment was a nontaxable benefit as defined in paragraph (c)(2) of this section. That evidence was in existence on or before the due date of the applicable Federal tax return. Therefore, H has demonstrated its intent to treat the use of the apartment as compensation for services performed by J.
[T.D. 8978, 67 FR 3083, Jan. 23, 2002; 67 FR 12472, Mar. 19, 2002]

Title 26 published on 2014-04-01

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