(d) Parachute Payments. Except as otherwise provided in an individual Participation Agreement, if any payment or benefit an Eligible Employee will or may receive from the Company or otherwise (a Payment) would (i) constitute a parachute payment within the meaning of Section 280G of the Code, and (ii) but for this sentence, be subject to the excise tax imposed by Section 4999 of the Code (the Excise Tax), then any such Payment shall be equal to the Reduced Amount. The Reduced Amount shall be either (x) the largest portion of the Payment that would result in no portion of the Payment (after reduction) being subject to the Excise Tax or (y) the largest portion, up to and including the total, of the Payment, whichever amount (i.e., the amount determined by clause (x) or by clause (y)), after taking into account all applicable federal, state and local employment taxes, income taxes, and the Excise Tax (all computed at the highest applicable marginal rate), results in the Eligible Employees receipt, on an after-tax basis, of the greater economic benefit notwithstanding that all or some portion of the Payment may be subject to the Excise Tax. If a reduction in a Payment is required pursuant to the preceding sentence and the Reduced Amount is determined pursuant to clause (x) of the preceding sentence, the reduction shall occur in the manner (the Reduction Method) that results in the greatest economic benefit for the Eligible Employee. If more than one method of reduction will result in the same economic benefit, the items so reduced will be reduced pro rata (the Pro Rata Reduction Method).
Notwithstanding any provisions in this Section above to the contrary, if the Reduction Method or the Pro Rata Reduction Method would result in any portion of the Payment being subject to taxes pursuant to Section 409A that would not otherwise be subject to taxes pursuant to Section 409A, then the Reduction Method and/or the Pro Rata Reduction Method, as the case may be, shall be modified so as to avoid the imposition of taxes pursuant to Section 409A as follows: (A) as a first priority, the modification shall preserve to the greatest extent possible, the greatest economic benefit for the Eligible Employee as determined on an after-tax basis; (B) as a second priority, Payments that are contingent on future events (e.g., being terminated without Cause), shall be reduced (or eliminated) before Payments that are not contingent on future events; and (C) as a third priority, Payments that are deferred compensation within the meaning of Section 409A shall be reduced (or eliminated) before Payments that are not deferred compensation within the meaning of Section 409A.
The Company shall appoint a nationally recognized accounting or law firm to make the determinations required by this Section 3. The Company shall bear all expenses with respect to the determinations by such accounting or law firm required to be made hereunder. If the Eligible Employee receives a Payment for which the Reduced Amount was determined pursuant to clause (x) above and the Internal Revenue Service determines thereafter that some portion of the Payment is subject to the Excise Tax, Eligible Employee agrees to promptly return to the Company a sufficient amount of the Payment (after reduction pursuant to clause (x) above) so that no portion of the remaining Payment is subject to the Excise Tax. For the avoidance of doubt, if the Reduced Amount was determined pursuant to clause (y) above, the Eligible Employee shall have no obligation to return any portion of the Payment pursuant to the preceding sentence.
Section 4. RETURN OF COMPANY PROPERTY.
An Eligible Employee will not be entitled to any severance benefit under the Plan unless and until the Eligible Employee returns all Company Property. For this purpose, Company Property means all Company documents (and all copies thereof) and other Company property which the Eligible Employee had in his or her possession at any time, including, but not limited to, Company files, notes, drawings, records, plans, forecasts, reports, studies, analyses, proposals, agreements, financial information, research and development information, sales and marketing information, operational and personnel information, specifications, code, software, databases, computer-recorded information, tangible property and equipment (including, but not limited to, computers, facsimile machines, mobile telephones, servers), credit cards, entry cards, identification badges and keys; and any materials of any kind which