An employee stock ownership plan, or an ESOP, is a retirement program that allows its participants to be owners of the company for which they work. As a business owner, you might consider an ESOP as a way to provide a valuable benefit for your employees. But this isn’t the only reason why an ESOP might make sense.
- You’re ready to start thinking of an exit strategy.
If you’re looking to transition out of your business, you have a few options: you can sell to an employee or family member, you can sell to an outside party, or you can implement an ESOP. Setting up an ESOP lets you transition the ownership of your business to your employees. This may make sense for you if you value giving back to your employees more than getting top dollar for the sale of your business.
- You want to attract and retain quality employees.
It can be difficult to attract talented employees, especially in today’s marketplace. As a desirable workplace benefit, an ESOP can serve to differentiate your business from competitors. Giving your employees ownership can also help to increase engagement and workplace morale.
- You wish to diversify your investment.
Is your business your largest asset? If so, establishing an ESOP gives you a way to redeem all or some of its stock, allowing you to reinvest those funds in other investments or companies. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able defer the gain related to the sale of the business if you invest it in qualified property under IRC Section 1042.
- Gain a competitive advantage.
When contributions are made to the ESOP, they are allocated into the individual participants’ accounts. Taxes on these accounts are due at the individual level when redemption of their ownership occurs. In most cases, if a company is a 100-percent ESOP, it does not owe income tax on company earnings. This tax savings can provide extra cash to use for revenue-generating initiatives, such as expansion.
- Give back to your employees.
The success of any business depends largely on the people it employs. An ESOP provides a way for you to give back to those who helped your business become what it is today.
Let us help you understand your options.
If you’re considering an ESOP, JAK can help you explore your options. Together, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of an ESOP as they relate to your situation. To learn more about the benefits we’ve mentioned here, please give us a call.