Try getting this deal at H&R Block!

August 13, 2010

There’s an H&R Block (HRB) office not too far away from world headquarters and while it’s closed right now (as many of their offices probably are off-season), it would be tempting to go there one day and talk about tax gross-ups, like the kind offered to their new CEO, Alan Bennett.

Though H&R Block announced Bennett’s hiring last month and provided the basic details in this 8-K filed last month, it filed the actual offer letter just yesterday.

There’s a $950K salary and a $900K signing bonus and 1 million options granted on July 12. But the part that really caught our attention was the gross-ups to cover Bennett’s use of an apartment in Kansas City, access to a full-size car and weekly travel “between your Connecticut or Florida residences” for Bennett and his family on the company’s Net Jets share. Here’s a snip:

the Company will pay to you such additional amount as is necessary to —gross up such benefits and cover the anticipated income, earnings and employment tax liability resulting from such taxable income so that the economic benefit to you is the same as if such payments were provided to you on a non-taxable basis.

Granted, the bulk of the grossed up perks last only six months, presumably while Bennett finds a suitable home in the Kansas City area (though we’ve certainly seen these deals extended before). But a gross-up is a gross-up. And at a time when many companies have been getting rid of these vestiges of imperial CEO-hood, H&R Block is going in a different direction.

Image source: Shops of Randall Square

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