Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan (SERP) Defined
A supplemental executive retirement plan is a non-qualified retirement plan for key company employees, such as executives, that provides benefits above and beyond those covered in other retirement plans. There are many kinds of SERPs available to companies wishing to ensure their key employees can maintain their current standards of living in retirement.
Understanding Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan (SERP)
A SERP is a form of deferred-compensation plan corporations often use to reward and retain key executives. Because SERPs are non-qualified, they may be offered selectively to high-earning executives whose qualified plan contributions are limited by top-heavy rules. The company and executive enter into a formal agreement that promises the executive a certain amount of supplemental retirement income based on vesting and other eligibility conditions the executive must meet. The company funds the plan out of current cash flows or through the funding of a cash-value life insurance policy, and the deferred benefits are not currently taxable to the executive. Upon retirement, the executive receives the income, which the IRS and state taxes as ordinary income.
Advantages of a Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan
Supplemental executive retirement plans are viable options for companies seeking to maximize key executives' retirement income. They are non-qualified and require no IRS approval and minimal reporting. The company controls the plan and can book an annual expense equal to the present value of the stream of future benefit payments.
When the benefits are paid, the company can deduct them as an expense. When a cash-value life insurance policy is used to fund the benefits, the company benefits from tax-deferred accumulation inside the policy. In most cases, the policy can be structured in a way that allows the company to recover its cost.
For executives, the plan can be tailored to meet their specific needs. The benefits accrue to the executive without any current tax consequences. When funded with a cash-value life insurance policy, the death benefits are available to provide a continued supplemental payment or a lump-sum payment to the executive’s beneficiaries in the event of a premature death.
• A SERP is a non-qualified retirement plan offered to executives as a long-term incentive to stay with the company.
• SERPs offer tax advantages to companies and offer executives the chance to earn benefits of up to 70 percent of their pre-retirement income. But the tax benefits that accrue to the company and employee are not immediate.
751 Plaza Blvd.
Coppell, TX 75019
Click Here to Email Us