Photo of John C. Khil
Partner / Honolulu

John C. Khil


John Khil is the Chair of the firm's Tax practice group, and concentrates in tax law with an  emphasis on pensions, profit sharing and employee benefits.  He is a former attorney-advisor in the Employee Plans and Exempt Organizations Division, Office of Chief Counsel, Internal  Revenue Service in Washington, D.C., where he was responsible for providing legal opinions,  drafting Treasury regulations, and assisting in the formulation of tax legislation relating to  pension and welfare plans.  Mr. Khil lectures on employee benefit matters and is active in the  Employee Benefits Committee of the American Bar Association Section on Taxation.   He has  been a member of the Subcommittee on ESOPs, TRASOPs, and PAYSOPs, the Task Force on  Welfare Benefits Funds, and the Subcommittee on Special Compensation Problems of Small  Businesses.

Mr. Khil is listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2024 for Employee Benefits & Compensation (Band 1).  Chambers said: "John Khil has  expertise in tax law and is particularly adept at advising employers on pension plans, IRS  approvals and employee benefits."

Qualified Retirement Plans


Advise hundreds of employers in the tax treatment and fiduciary obligations relating to the design, investment, and maintenance of plans, including profit sharing, 401(k), money purchase, defined benefit, target benefit, age-weighted, cash balance, ESOPs, and other plans.

Executive Compensation


Advise public and private corporations in nonqualified deferred compensation plans and executive compensation, including SERPs stock options, stock appreciation rights, phantom stock, rabbi trusts, golden parachutes, and excess benefit plans.

Employee Stock Ownership Plans


Handle leveraged employee stock ownership plan transactions for public corporations from acquisition of stock to disposition of stock upon takeover. Structure succession of closely held corporations through tax-deferred sale of stock to ESOPs.

Collectively Bargained Pension & Welfare Trust Funds


Advise jointly administered Taft Hartley welfare and pension funds, including qualified 401(k), pension, and VEBA plans, on all facets of tax, fiduciary, and ERISA law compliance.

Prototype Plan Sponsors


Represented financial institution in obtaining favorable closing agreement with IRS for failure to timely adopt and amend prototype retirement plan and IRA documents on behalf of customers.

Exempt Organizations


Advise tax-exempt health care organizations and other charitable entities in compliance with special deferred compensation requirements such as Sections 457 and 403(b).

Funding Waiver


Obtained $30 million pension plan funding waiver from IRS relating to employer's financial distress. Structure hundreds of plan terminations and obtain IRS and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) approvals.

Window Benefit Program


Advised public corporation in structure and implementation of early retirement window benefit program, including treatment of age discrimination issues.

Postretirement Medical Plan


Advise employers on postretirement medical benefits, cost containment methods, and funding methods for purposes of FAS 106. Draft VEBA and nonqualified plans providing postretirement medical benefits.


  • Selected by attorney peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2023 for Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, and Tax Law; listed since 1995
  • Listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2024 for Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation (Band 1)
  • Named Best Lawyers 2018 "Lawyer of the Year" for Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law
  • Selected by attorney peers for inclusion in Super Lawyers for Employee Benefits/ERISA


  • Hawaii State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association, Committee on Employee Benefits; Member, Section of Taxation; Subcommittee on ESOPs, TRASOPs, and PAYSOPs and the Task Force on Welfare Benefits Funds; Subcommittee on Special Compensation Problems of Small Business