WHAT IS AN ESOP? The best way to explain an ESOP is to compare it to a profit sharing plan. ESOPs can do all the things a profit sharing plan can do. However, ESOPs can do a great many things that profit sharing plans cannot do. Profit sharing plans are regarded primarily as employee benefit plans. The ESOP is primarily regarded as a “tool of corporate finance,” according to IRS rulings and regulations. Accordingly, ESOPs are permitted under profit sharing plans. If one carefully analyzes the pros and cons of ESOPs versus profit sharing plans, the ESOP is almost always more beneficial both for the employees, the company, and the shareholders. SHAREHOLDER BENEFITS In the case of a profit sharing plan, the contribution is usually in cash, and the cash is invested in other investments. As a result, these contributions do not benefit either the corporation or the shareholders. In ... Read More..
The First ESOP (1956) San Francisco lawyer and economist Louis O. Kelso created the first employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) in 1956 as a way to transition ownership of Peninsula Newspapers, Inc. from its two founders (both then in their 80s) to their chosen successors, the managers and employees. Kelso had long believed that the company’s own employees should be the logical buyers and the ultimate owners; they were the ones who made the business successful in the first place, and the ones who knew the ins and outs of the business better than anyone else in the industry. The two founders had long wanted their employees to inherit ownership. They had promised that when the time came for them to retire, the employees would have the first right of refusal. They had seen too many of their competitors gobbled up by large newspaper chains, and they had seen the ... Read More..
I. INCREASES IN CONTRIBUTION, DEDUCTION AND BENEFIT LIMITS Contribution Deduction Limits. The limit on an employer’s deduction for contributions to a non-leveraged ESOP or a profit sharing plan is increased from 15% to 25% of participants’ aggregate compensation. 401(k) deferrals are not counted for purposes of the deduction limits. However, 401(k) deferrals will be included for purposes of calculating the compensation on which this limit is based. The deduction limit for money purchase pension plans remains at 25%. Effective: Taxable years beginning after 2001. Individual Benefit and Contribution Limits. The dollar limit on “annual additions” to a participant’s account in an ESOP, profit sharing, 401(k) or other defined contribution plan is increased to $40,000 in 2002. The alternative limit of 25% of compensation is increased to 100%. Effective: Limitation years beginning after 2001. Annual Compensation. The maximum annual compensation of a participant that may be used to calculate contributions and ... Read More..