December 9, 2004
BB 04—122

Committee Leaders Clarify Treasury's Authority to Rule on SARs

On December 8, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA), ranking member Max Baucus (D-MT) and House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA) sent a letter to the U.S. Treasury Department clarifying the Treasury secretary's authority to rule on stock appreciation rights (SARs) under the deferred compensation provisions of the recently enacted tax bill (H.R. 4520).

The Council has been actively working on all of the issues raised by the deferred compensation provisions including those relating to the definition of deferred compensation and its overly broad reach to severance pay plans and supplemental pension plans. The inclusion of equity appreciation rights, including SARs, is a concern that has been raised by many Council members. It is particularly complicated by the difficulty of redesigning existing programs. We will keep you informed as further developments occur. For more information, contact Lynn Dudley, Council vice president and senior counsel, at (202) 289-6700.

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The American Benefits Council is the national trade association for companies concerned about federal legislation and regulations affecting all aspects of the employee benefits system. The Council's members represent the entire spectrum of the private employee benefits community and either sponsor directly or administer retirement and health plans covering more than 100 million Americans.