- Profit-sharing agreement (USA)
A profit-sharing agreement in the
United Statesis the agreement that establishes a pension plan maintained by the employer to share its profits with its employees.
A profit-sharing agreement used to be supplemental to a type of pension called a defined benefits plan. For example, if an employee should become ill or incur economic hardship, then access to some or all of profit sharing account would prevent the employee from quitting
Today, most newer companies only have profit-sharing plans and don't have defined benefits plan.
Treasury regulations to the Internal Revenue Codesets out the requirements for a profit-sharing agreement. [ 26 CFR 1.401-1(b)(1)(ii)] The agreement must use a predetermined formula for allocating and distributing the profits. Then the agreement must set out whether allocations may begin after a fixed number of years, attainment of certain age or prior occurrence of some event.
The agreement must be tied to the basic compensation of the employee by allocating a profit sharing amount to the employee's account based on the proportion of the employee's salary to the total salary of the participants.
An employer does not need to earn profits to have a profit-sharing agreement. Contributions under the agreement need not be based on profits but rather salary and a phantom profit amount. [26 USCA 401(a)(27)] This phantom profit originates from a predetermined formula for allocations under the profit-sharing agreement.
Retirement plans in the United States
* [http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq_compliance_pension.html ERISA]
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