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Suzanne G. Odom


P 864-672-8091
F 864-235-1381


Suzanne G. Odom is a Principal in the Greenville, South Carolina office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She focuses her practice on ERISA plans, employee benefits, and executive compensation matters.

Ms. Odom has worked extensively with all types of employer-sponsored retirement and welfare benefit plans, including pension, profit sharing, 401(k), 403(b), and 457(b) plans, ESOPs, and health, accident, disability, Section 125, flexible spending, and other welfare plans. Her clients include large and small for-profit companies across all industry sectors, non-profit corporations, and governmental entities.

As a result of Ms. Odom’s vast number of submissions and compliance matters, she has developed a close and professional working relationship with both the IRS and Department of Labor Representatives. Her practice is centered on providing her clients with solid and proactive fiduciary and business advice that assists them in avoiding the time and expense of employee benefits litigation.

Ms. Odom prides herself on her ability to think outside the box and work with clients deliver the best business solutions possible.

Ms. Odom has experience working with tax-exempt organizations, including:

  • Advising clients about tax-exempt organization matters, including public charities and private foundations described in Section 501(c)(3), social welfare organizations under Section 501(c)(4), Section 501(c)(6) trade associations, Section 501(c)(12) electric cooperatives, and many others
  • Establishing and dissolving non-profit entities, submitting determination letter requests to the IRS, and advising about on-going compliance issues involving:
    • Private inurement and private benefit; Excess benefit transactions
    • Conflict of interest issues
    • Lobbying and political activity restrictions
    • Annual report (Form 990) requirements
    • Unrelated business income tax (UBIT)

Employee Benefits Experience

  • Providing guidance about strategic employee benefit matters, such designing or modifying retirement plans to address eligibility exclusions, safe harbor options, automatic enrollment, and employer contribution allocation formulas, and implementing group health plan coverage in a manner that mitigates risk under the Affordable Care Act
  • Updating plans for regulatory changes and submitting plans to the IRS as part of the determination letter program
  • Working on plan correction matters, including self-correction and voluntary correction with the IRS of operational and document failures and addressing Form 5500 filing deficiencies
  • Representing clients on IRS and Department of Labor audit matters and proactively helping clients prepare for the same by making sure they understand what actions are expected of them and what documentation the government expects them to maintain
  • Establishing, terminating, or handling ongoing compliance issues involving VEBA (Section 501(c)(9) trusts) and Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOP), including helping with shareholder stock sales, ESOP loans and pledge agreements, allocation issues, and distribution policies
  • Assisting with business planning or resolving legal compliance issues involving businesses under common control and affiliated service groups
  • Advising businesses about complicated tax law discrimination issues affecting retirement, health, group term life insurance and other plans, especially when coverage levels vary between executives or other highly-paid workforce members and other employees
  • Planning, drafting, and assisting with the administration of executive compensation plans, including extensive experience with the design and implementation of nonqualified deferred compensation plans, 457(b) plans, and 457(f) plans
  • Working with tax-exempt organization clients to minimize potential excises taxes that may result from excess benefit transactions, excessive compensation, or excess parachute payments by following the rebuttable presumption process and thoughtfully and proactively addressing these taxes in the design and implementation of executive benefit programs
  • Working with wellness programs, including advice about the imposition of health insurance surcharges on employees who smoke and reasonable alternative standards
  • Providing guidance regarding the taxation treatment of various fringe benefits, such as employee discounts, moving expenses, and cell phones
  • Advising clients about income and payroll tax withholding and reporting requirements
  • Resolving contingent workforce issues (e.g. leased employees, temporary employees, etc.), including considering the impact of these workers on the benefits program, preparing needed plan amendments, advising about the needed recordkeeping requirements
  • Drafting and reviewing plan documents, summary plan descriptions, enrollment materials, and other employee communications
  • Providing guidance about annual notice and filing requirements, such as the notices required by healthcare reform, COBRA notices, the HIPAA Privacy Notice of Privacy Practices and annual reports (Form 5500 series)
  • Addressing employee claim and fiduciary issues
  • Reviewing Qualified Domestic Relations Orders for compliance with applicable law and the terms of the governing plan

Honors and Recognitions

Best Lawyers Award Badge
The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms

Published Works

  • “Benefits Guide: Basics, Requirements for Qualified Retirement Plans, Participation Requirements,” Bloomberg Law (August 2019) [Author]

Speeches and Presentations

  • "What's Your Next Step? Surviving an IRS/DOL Audit," CSHRM Seminar (Columbia, SC, April 2018) (presenter)
  • “Deferred Compensation Plans and their Role in Succession and Family Planning,” Estate Planning for the Family Business Owner 2017, hosted by American Law Institute (Charleston, SC, November 2017) (presenter)
  • “Buy-Sell Agreements,” Estate Planning for the Family Business Owner 2017, hosted by American Law Institute (Charleston, SC, November 2017) (panelist)
  • “Hot Topics in Employee Benefits,” 2017 SCACPA Spring Conferences (Columbia, SC) (presenter)
  • "Navigating Legal and Ethical Issues," Essential Skills and Strategies for New Grantmakers Conference, hosted by the Southeastern Council on Foundations (Columbia, SC, August 2016) (presenter)
  • "The Latest Developments in Employee Benefits," SCACPA Seminar (Columbia, SC, May 2016) (presenter)
  • "What You Need-to-Know, but Want-to-Forget," CSHRM Seminar (Columbia, SC, April 2016) (presenter)
  • "Hot Topics in Tax and Employee Benefits Law," SCACPA, CPAs in Business and Industry Conference (Columbia, SC, May 2015) (presenter)
  • "Legal Considerations for Wellness Programs," SCHA Working Well Spring Meeting (Columbia, SC, April 2015) (presenter)
  • "4 Gotchas and 1 Gimme: Important Developments in Tax and Employee Benefits Law," CPAs in Business and Industry Conference (Columbia, SC, May 2014) (presenter)
  • "Trends in Executive and Physician Compensation and Benefits" NC/SC Healthcare Human Resources Associations Joint Conference, Wild Dunes Resort (Isle of Palms, SC, May 2014) (presenter)
  • "WIS Investigates: The Affordable Care Act," WIS TV (Columbia, SC, September 2013) (presenter)
  • "A Year in the Life of a 401(k) Plan" CPAs in Business & Industry Conference, The South Carolina Association of CPAs (Columbia, SC, May 2012) (presenter)
  • "Plan Sponsor Perspectives on Health Care Reform" 41st Annual Retirement and Benefits Management Seminar, University of South Carolina's Darla Moore School of Business (Columbia, SC, April 2012) (presenter)
  • "Classifying Workers - Who is Eligible?" 2012 National Institute of Pension Administrators Annual Forum & Expo (Las Vegas, NV, April-May 2012) (presenter)
  • "The Classification of Workers and Impact on Benefit Plans" 40th Annual Retirement and Benefits Management Seminar, University of South Carolina's Darla Moore School of Business (Charlotte, NC, April 2011) (presenter)
  • "The Economy Takes a Swing at 401(k) Plans" & "The New 'Normal' for Plan Administration" 2010 National Institute of Pension Administrators Annual Forum & Expo (Las Vegas, NV, May 2010) (presenter)
  • “Employee Benefits: Legalities in Discrimination of Health Benefits" 2010 SCACPA Industry Conference (Columbia, SC, October 2010) (presenter)

See AllSuzanne G. Odom in the News

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August 15, 2019
Jackson Lewis

The Best Lawyers in America 2020 Honors Jackson Lewis Attorneys

August 15, 2019

WHITE PLAINS, NY (August 15, 2019) Jackson Lewis P.C., one of the country’s preeminent workplace law firms, is pleased to announce more than 210 attorneys throughout the firm’s locations have been recognized in the 2020 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America, a publication that has become universally regarded as a definitive... Read More

May 30, 2019
Jackson Lewis

Jackson Lewis Recommended in The Legal 500 2019

May 30, 2019

WHITE PLAINS, NY (May 30, 2019) Jackson Lewis P.C., one of the country’s preeminent workplace law firms, is pleased to announce the firm and its attorneys have been recommended in The Legal 500 United States 2019 in the following practice areas falling under the Labor and Employment designation: Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation... Read More

March 4, 2019
Law 360

C. John Wentzell Jr. Discusses Joining Jackson Lewis' Employee Benefits Practice

March 4, 2019

C. John Wentzell Jr. discusses joining the firm's Greenville office as a member of the Employee Benefits Practice Group in "Jackson Lewis Nabs Benefits Pro From Ogletree," published by Law360. Subscription may be required to view article Read More

Showing 1-3 of 7


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January 24, 2019

IRS Notice 2019-9 Provides Interim Guidance for Tax-Exempt Organizations Paying Excess Executive Compensation

January 24, 2019

The IRS has released a technical interim guidance on Section 4960, which was added to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Very generally, Section 4960 imposes an excise tax in an amount equal to the corporate tax rate (currently, 21 percent) on that portion of a covered employee’s pay that... Read More

See AllBlog Posts by Suzanne G. Odom

Benefits Outside the Box: Using a Charitable Foundation to Enhance Your Culture and Community
August 19, 2019

If your Company leadership is looking for an innovative employee benefit – something outside the standard employee benefit package of retirement, health, and welfare benefits, a Company-sponsored charitable foundation might be your answer.   A charitable foundation not only can further your Company culture while serving the community, but Read More

Employers Beware: SC Abolishes Common-Law Marriage
July 29, 2019

On July 24, 2019, South Carolina joined the ranks of Alabama, Pennsylvania, and others in abolishing future recognition of common law marriages in the state.  The state will continue to recognize all common law marriages in effect before this date, but they will be subject to a higher standard of proof.  On and after July...… Read More

IRS Releases Proposed Form W-4 Redesign
June 3, 2019

On Friday, May 31, 2019, the IRS released a new proposed design of the IRS Form W-4 to be used starting in 2020.  The goal is to make it easier for employees to calculate accurate withholdings under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  Employees who already have completed a Form W-4 will not be...… Read More