To most company owners, Section 89 of the tax code is an enormous headache. To Bruce Robey, it's a chance to sell headache relief. That's more or less the idea behind Compliance 89, a software program created by Robey's company, AlphaBytes Inc., in Washington, D.C. Designed with guidance from lawyers and benefits experts, the program is intended to help companies navigate through the regulatory maze of Section 89.

That maze involves a series of complicated tests that employers must conduct to determine whether their benefit plans discriminate against lower-paid employees. Compliance 89 helps employers apply the tests and comes with a legal synopsis of Section 89 and suggestions for bringing plans into compliance. The $595 package also includes free updates for a year and telephone support by Employee Benefits Review, a Washington publisher.

Of course, no one is very happy about the circumstances that make such a package necessary. But, as the saying goes, if you have a lemon . . .

-- Jay Finegan