This excerpt taken from the AAPL DEF 14A filed Jan 23, 2008.
7. Tax and Accounting Considerations
Tax Deductibility of Compensation Expense. Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the Internal Revenue Code), places a limit of $1,000,000 on the amount of compensation to certain officers that may be deducted by the Company as a business expense in any tax year unless, among other things, the compensation is performance-based and has been approved by the shareholders. To qualify as performance-based compensation, the amount of compensation must depend on the officers performance against pre-determined performance goals established by a committee that consists solely of at least two outside directors who have never been employed by the Company or its subsidiaries. Two members of the Compensation Committee, Messrs. Drexler and Gore, qualify as outside directors under the IRS definition. Although Mr. Campbell is an independent director under SEC and NASDAQ governance standards, he does not qualify as an outside director because he was an officer of the Company from 1983 to 1987 and a subsidiary of the Company from 1987 to 1991. For this reason, he does not discuss or vote on any Section 162(m)-related matters.
Salaries for the named executive officers do not qualify as performance-based compensation. The Companys performance-based cash incentives, however, are exempt from the Section 162(m) limit because they are paid based on predetermined goals established by the Compensation Committee pursuant to the shareholder-approved Performance Bonus Plan. The RSUs do not qualify as performance-based compensation for purposes of Section 162(m) because vesting is based on continued employment rather than specific performance goals. See the section entitled Executive Compensation Program Design and Implementation3. The Crucial Role of Long-Term Equity Awards for an explanation of the Companys decision not to implement performance-based vesting.
Tax Implications for Officers. Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code imposes additional income taxes on executive officers for certain types of deferred compensation that do not comply with Section 409A. Because the Company does not generally provide deferred compensation to the named executive officers, this limitation has no impact on the structure of the compensation program for the officers. Section 280G of the Internal Revenue Code imposes an excise tax on payments to executives of severance or change of control compensation that exceed the levels specified in Section 280G. The named executive officers could receive the amounts shown on the table in the section entitled Potential Payments Upon Termination or Change in Control below as severance or change of control payments, but the Compensation Committee does not consider their potential impact in compensation program design.
Accounting Considerations. The Compensation Committee also considers the accounting and cash flow implications of various forms of executive compensation. In its financial statements, the Company records salaries and performance-based compensation incentives as expenses in the amount paid, or to be paid, to the named executive officers. Accounting rules also require the Company to record an expense in its financial statements for equity awards, even though equity awards are not paid as cash to employees. The accounting expense of equity awards to employees is calculated in accordance with SFAS 123R. The Compensation Committee believes, however, that the many advantages of equity compensation, as discussed above, more than compensate for the non-cash accounting expense associated with them.