Curriculum Guide · Courses
Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)
Professors Diamond and Holzman
LL.M Course 952 | 1 credit hours
Congress created Employee Stock Ownership Plans, commonly called ESOPs, in order to encourage private industry to extend the benefits of business ownership to employees in general, rather than limit such benefits to highly-compensated executives. As a result, outstanding tax benefits are available to those private businesses that opt into the ESOP tax regime, and ESOPs have accordingly become an important and valuable tool in estate planning and in ensuring orderly business succession for closely-held companies. Even non-specialists need to be aware that ESOPs exist, and to understand the potential benefits they offer, in order to be effective tax planners. This course will cover IRC and ERISA statutory requirements applicable to ESOPs, as well as Treasury and Labor Department regulations and case law interpreting these provisions. The course will begin with the genesis of ESOPs and explain the structural and operating requirements that govern them. The course will then investigate contemporary applications of ESOPs to (1) enhance worker productivity; (2) create an effective exit strategy for a principal business owner; (3) facilitate employee buy-outs; (4) establish effective estate and business succession planning; (5) achieve business financing objectives; and (6) achieve business and personal objectives through innovative uses of ESOPs in non-traditional settings.
Prerequisite: Either Retirement Plan Design and Taxation OR Retirement Plan Qualification Requirements.
This course will meet during the first 7 weeks of the semester.