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“How is a lump-sum payout of unused vacation treated for plan purposes–is it compensation?”

How is a lump-sum payout of unused vacation treated for plan purposes–is it compensation?”

ERISA consultants at the Retirement Learning Center (RLC) Resource Desk regularly receive calls from financial advisors on a broad array of technical topics related to IRAs, qualified retirement plans and other types of retirement savings and income plans, including nonqualified plans, stock options, and Social Security and Medicare.  We bring Case of the Week to you to highlight the most relevant topics affecting your business. A recent call with an advisor in Massachusetts is representative of a common question compensation for plan purposes.

Highlights of Discussion

Conclusion

The IRS treats the lump-sum payout of unused vacation as supplemental wages for tax purposes. As supplemental wages, a lump-sum payout of unused vacation would be included in the definition of compensation for plan purposes—unless it is explicitly excluded under the terms of the plan document. For specific tax advice, please see the guidance of a tax professional.