The “intermediate sanctions” rules under Section 4958 of the Internal Revenue Code have long governed the payment of compensation to executives of public charities. While these rules are highly prescriptive, if followed, they offer taxpayers a significant advantage in the form or a rebuttable presumption of reasonableness. While there was concern among tax-exempts that the tax bill might reduce or even eliminate the presumption of reasonableness, that turned out not to be the case. But the final version of the legislation for the first time imposed a tax on certain excess compensation and excess parachute payments, which we discuss in more detail below.
As the nation recovers from the latest series of winter storms, let the rise of temperatures serve as a reminder of the incoming season – tax filing season. For institutional non-profits such as colleges and universities, this means the filing of the Form 990, a required informational tax return of the IRS. This year’s 990 reporting will have heightened scrutiny, particularly on executive compensation in the higher education community, in light of recent findings by the IRS from its Colleges and Universities Compliance Project.