What Types of Incentive Compensation Can Be Used in LLCs Taxed as Corporations?

Welcome back, esteemed business owners and managers, and thank you for joining us as we reach the fourth milestone in our enlightening series on incentive compensation. As we have traversed this journey together, you’ve gained valuable insights into how LLCs taxed as corporations can effectively harness incentive compensation to attract and retain top talent. Today, we delve deeper into the heart of the matter, shedding light on the various types of incentive compensation these organizations can use. This knowledge isn’t just power – it’s the fuel for driving your business to the pinnacle of success. So let’s embark on this next phase of our journey together, bringing clarity to the complex world of incentive compensation plans in LLCs taxed as corporations.

Incentive Compensation in LLCs Taxed as Corporations

As we venture further into this intricate landscape, we turn our attention to the diverse incentive compensation plans available to LLCs taxed as corporations. Essentially, these incentives are bifurcated into two primary categories - equity and cash. Each type carries its unique advantages, intricacies, and implications, providing a broad arsenal of tools for attracting, rewarding, and retaining talent.

Equity Incentives

Delving into equity incentives, these offer members an opportunity to own a slice of the organization, enhancing their connection to its growth and success. Let’s uncover these plans:

  1. Restricted Stock: Members receive actual shares of stock, though these are subject to forfeiture or repurchase until a certain restricted period ends. Despite these conditions, holders wield voting and dividend rights, reinforcing their stake in the company’s future.
  2. Restricted Stock Units (RSUs): The company promises to deliver shares of stock in the future. Each RSU matches the value of one share of the company’s stock, linking rewards directly to the company’s market performance.
  3. Stock Options: These can be either Incentive Stock Options (ISOs) or Non-Qualified Stock Options (NQSOs). ISOs allow holders to purchase employer stock at a predetermined price, while NQSOs, extendable to various service providers, offer similar purchase rights.
  4. Performance Shares: Representing an award of a target number of shares held until they vest, these shares create a strong link between individual performance and corporate success.

Each of these equity incentives plays a vital role in aligning member interests with the company’s strategic objectives, fostering a sense of ownership and commitment.

Cash Incentives

Transitioning to cash incentives, these provide immediate tangible rewards, offering members a direct financial benefit and contributing to their motivation and commitment. Let’s examine these options:

  1. Phantom Stock: Essentially a promise by the company to pay the value of shares of stock in cash at a future date. Phantom stocks are unfunded and unsecured, mirroring the performance of the company’s actual stock and thus tying reward to corporate success.
  2. Stock Appreciation Rights (SARs): These grant holders the right to enjoy the cash appreciation in the company’s stock’s fair market value from the grant to the exercise time, providing a substantial upside potential.
  3. Performance Share Units (PSUs): These represent the company’s commitment to award cash equivalent to a target number of shares in the future, contingent on the achievement of specified performance targets. This performance period typically spans a few years, aligning long-term incentives with the company’s strategic objectives.

These cash incentives offer an attractive mix of reward and motivation, fostering an environment that supports both individual performance and the broader success of the company. They underline the core principle of incentive compensation – that collective success is driven by individual efforts.


We hope this article has been informative and useful for your business. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at info@wilkinsonlawllc.com. We plan to answer general questions in an upcoming FAQ series. If you need legal advice specific to your situation, please ask to schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss your company’s goals.

We appreciate your commitment to this enriching journey into the world of incentive compensation in LLCs taxed as corporations. As we close today’s chapter, we extend an invitation for you to join us tomorrow as we explore the fascinating subject of phantom stock and other cash incentives. Unearth how these innovative compensation strategies can be effectively leveraged by LLCs taxed as corporations to reward and motivate their members - don’t miss this opportunity to broaden your business acumen and make informed decisions for your organization’s future.

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as tax or legal advice. Please consult professionals for advice tailored to your specific situation. The author and publisher assume no responsibility for any errors or omissions or for any actions taken based on the information presented.