M. John Burgess assists clients with all types of employee benefit plans, including tax-qualified pension plans, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), health and welfare plans, and executive compensation arrangements. He counsels clients on plan documentation (including drafting plan documents, SPDs, amendments, and plan administrative procedures), plan qualification (including representing clients before the Internal Revenue Service), and other benefit plan issues, including tax and fiduciary matters. In addition, he regularly advises clients on benefits issues in the context of business mergers and acquisitions, including assistance with due diligence on benefit plans sponsored by an acquired company.
John is also a certified public accountant with an extensive tax and accounting background, which includes experience as an auditor with a large accounting firm. He is well versed in individual, corporate, partnership and estate and gift taxation issues at both the federal and state levels and uses that knowledge to assist clients in tax planning and compliance issues, including matters for international employees and non-profit organizations.
John currently devotes a significant portion of his practice to ESOPs, advising clients on matters such as plan design, distribution policies, the structure and implementation of ESOP transactions, and administration matters. He is active within the ESOP community and frequently presents on ESOP issues at national and regional conferences.
John has significant experience in assisting clients with the correction of errors in both qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, including representing clients in Voluntary Compliance Program applications before the IRS. He also regularly assists clients with executive employment agreements, severance agreements, change in control agreements and non-qualified deferred compensation plans, including compliance with Internal Revenue Code Sections 409A, 457(b) and 457(f).