The recent release of the long-awaited final regs on nonqualified deferred compensation under Code Sec. 409A did not bring a much-hoped-for extension of the effective date for full implementation of the rules. The final regs - all 209 pages of them, and the 186 pages it took to explain the changes made or not made to the proposed regs - do not extend the transition relief for compliance beyond Dec. 31, 2007.That does not leave much time for compliance, let alone formulating tax strategies that take maximum advantage of the small leeway that the final regs provide to employers. Compensation plans drafted under the proposed regulations must be compared against the final regs. Decisions on whether a plan should be terminated must be made. Final plan designs must be drafted and adopted. And then an explanation of the terms of the compliant plan must be explained (and sold) to the key executives who the plan has been adopted to keep happy in the first place.

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