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This article first reviews the statutory definitions of compensation and then looks as some common situations where definitional mishaps can occur as well as some types of compensation that can present traps for the unwary. While issues involving a plan's definition of compensation can arise in the context of both defined benefit and defined contribution plans, many of the more thorny issues tend to arise in the context of defined contribution plans. Accordingly, this article primarily focuses on the potential issues as they relate to defined contribution plans.

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