Lance Wallach
            Managing Director
         
   ExpertTaxAdvisors.org
 
Expert "Tax Resolution Services
The Offices of "Lance Wallach - Nationwide Assistance"
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wallachinc@gmail.com









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Can you or your business afford to pay the IRS $200,000 a year because of 6707A, a 419e or 412i plan, captive insurance or similar listed transaction?

“abusive tax shelter help” "tax letter" "irs letter" "irs letters" "irs determination letter" 419e 412i 6707a "form 8886" "listed transactions" "abusive tax shelter assistance" "irs penalty abatement" "expert witness irs" veba "expert witness services" "expert witness irs help" "pension audit" “abusive tax shelter help” “abusive tax shelter assistance”


Expert Witness Services

  • Litigation Consulting
  • Case Evaluation
  • Evidence Review and Forensic Analysis
  • Research
  • Complaint, Petition, and Response Preparation Assistance
  • Damage Calculations
  • Expert Declarations and Affidavits
  • Exhibits for Settlement Conference, Mediation, and Trial
  • Active Litigation: Rebuttal Witness
  • Deposition, Arbitration, and Trial Testimony
  • Reports

Expert Witness Credentials:

  • Speaker of the Year and member of the AICPA faculty of teaching professionals
  • Frequent speaker on retirement plans, financial and estate planning, and abusive tax shelters
  • Writes about 412(i), 419, listed transactions, reportable transactions, Section 79 plans, 6707A, abusive tax shelters, and captive insurance plans
  • Speaks at more than ten conventions annually
  • Writes for more than thirty publications
  • Is quoted regularly in the press and has been featured on television and radio financial talk shows including NBC, National Pubic Radio's All Things Considered, and others
  • Author of Protecting Clients from Fraud, Incompetence and Scams published by John Wiley and Sons
  • Author of Bisk Education's CPA's Guide to Life Insurance and Federal Estate and Gift Taxation
  • Author of AICPA best-selling books, including Avoiding Circular 230 Malpractice Traps and Common Abusive Small Business Hot Spots

Did you get a Section 6707A "letter from the IRS"?  If you haven't already, you still may get an "IRS letter".

"Grist Mill Trust" Benistar "SADI Trust" "Beta 419" "Millennium Plan" Bisys "Creative Services Group" "Sterling Benefit Plan" "Compass 419" Niche  "Sea Nine Veba" 419 412i 419e "expert witness insurance" "welfare benefit plans" "419 plan help" "expert witness irs"

Many businesses that participated in a "412i retirement plan" or "419 welfare benefit plan" are being "audited by the IRS".  Many of these plans were not in compliance with the law and are considered abusive tax shelters".  Many business owners are not even aware that the "welfare benefit plan" or "retirement plan" that they are participating in may be an "abusive tax shelter" and that they are in serious jeopardy of huge "IRS penalties" for each year that they have been in the plan.  "Grist Mill Trust" Benistar "SADI Trust" "Beta 419" "Millennium Plan" Bisys "Creative Services Group" "Sterling Benefit Plan" "Compass 419" Niche  "Sea Nine Veba" 419 412i 419e "expert witness insurance" "welfare benefit plans" "419 plan help" "expert witness irs"

"Insurance companies", CPAs, sellers of these "419 welfare benefit plans" or "412i retirement plans", as well as anyone that gave "tax advice" or recommended participation in one or more of these plans is in danger of being sued or fined by the IRS, or both.

“abusive tax shelter help” “irs appeal” “tax resolution services” “insurance expert witnesses” “pension plan audit” “tax preparer penalties” “tax audit defense” “business tax audit” “tax penalty abatement” “irs tax problems” “circular 230” “retirement tax shelters” “health insurance fraud” “employer insurance fraud” “irs trouble” “unfiled tax returns” “unfiled taxes”
There is help available if you think you may be involved with one of these "419 welfare benefit plans", 412i "retirement plans", or any "abusive tax shelter".  IRS "penalty abatement" is an option if you act now.  419 412i "listed transactions" "form 8886" 6707A "tax shelters" "IRS audit defense" "expert witness irs help" "welfare benefit plan help" "419 plan help" "irs penalty abatement"  "fight the irs" "412i retirement plans" "tax resolution services" "irs problem solvers" "how to avoid irs audit" "abusive tax shelter help"
Let "Lance Wallach" and his team of "419 welfare benefit plan" and "412i retirement plan" experts evaluate your plan.  You can avoid "IRS penalties and interest" and "prevent getting sued" and we will tell you how.
"Grist Mill Trust" Benistar "SADI Trust" "Beta 419" "Millennium Plan" Bisys "Creative Services Group" "Sterling Benefit Plan" "Compass 419" Niche  "Sea Nine Veba" 419 412i 419e "expert witness insurance" "welfare benefit plans" "419 plan help" "expert witness irs"
"Steling Benefit Plan" "Penn Mont" "Real VEBA" "United Financial Group" "Kenny Hartstein"

Lance is an expert about:
  •  The "Millennium Plan"
  • "SADI Trust"
  •  The "Beta Plan"
  •  Niche
  •  Benistar
  •  The "Grist Mill Trust"
  • "Compass Welfare Benefit Plan"
  • "Sea Nine" VEBA
  •  Bisys
  • "Professional Benefits Trust" (PBT)
  •  and other similar 412i "retirement plans" and "419 welfare benefit plans"


Small Business Retirement Plans Fuel Litigation


Maryland Trial Lawyer

Dolan Media Newswires                                                                                                                                      January 

 

Small businesses facing audits and potentially huge tax penalties over certain types of retirement plans are filing lawsuits against those who marketed, designed and sold the plans. The 412(i) and 419(e) plans were marketed in the past several years as a way for small business owners to set up retirement or welfare benefits plans while leveraging huge tax savings, but the IRS put them on a list of abusive tax shelters and has more recently focused audits on them.

The penalties for such transactions are extremely high and can pile up quickly.

 There are business owners who owe taxes but have been assessed 2 million in penalties. The existing cases involve many types of businesses, including doctors’ offices, dental practices, grocery store owners, mortgage companies and restaurant owners. Some are trying to negotiate with the IRS. Others are not waiting. A class action has been filed and cases in several states are ongoing. The business owners claim that they were targeted by insurance companies; and their agents to purchase the plans without any disclosure that the IRS viewed the plans as abusive tax shelters. Other defendants include financial advisors who recommended the plans, accountants who failed to fill out required tax forms and law firms that drafted opinion letters legitimizing the plans, which were used as marketing tools.

A 412(i) plan is a form of defined benefit pension plan. A 419(e) plan is a similar type of health and benefits plan. Typically, these were sold to small, privately held businesses with fewer than 20 employees and several million dollars in gross revenues. What distinguished a legitimate plan from the plans at issue were the life insurance policies used to fund them. The employer would make large cash contributions in the form of insurance premiums, deducting the entire amounts. The insurance policy was designed to have a “springing cash value,” meaning that for the first 5-7 years it would have a near-zero cash value, and then spring up in value.

Just before it sprung, the owner would purchase the policy from the trust at the low cash value, thus making a tax-free transaction. After the cash value shot up, the owner could take tax-free loans against it. Meanwhile, the insurance agents collected exorbitant commissions on the premiums – 80 to 110 percent of the first year’s premium, which could exceed million.

Technically, the IRS’s problems with the plans were that the “springing cash” structure disqualified them from being 412(i) plans and that the premiums, which dwarfed any payout to a beneficiary, violated incidental death benefit rules.

Under §6707A of the Internal Revenue Code, once the IRS flags something as an abusive tax shelter, or “listed transaction,” penalties are imposed per year for each failure to disclose it. Another allegation is that businesses weren’t told that they had to file Form 8886, which discloses a listed transaction.

According to Lance Wallach of Plainview, N.Y. (516-938-5007), who testifies as an expert in cases involving the plans, the vast majority of accountants either did not file the forms for their clients or did not fill them out correctly.

Because the IRS did not begin to focus audits on these types of plans until some years after they became listed transactions, the penalties have already stacked up by the time of the audits.

Another reason plaintiffs are going to court is that there are few alternatives – the penalties are not appeasable and must be paid before filing an administrative claim for a refund.

The suits allege misrepresentation, fraud and other consumer claims. “In street language, they lied,” said Peter Losavio, a plaintiffs’ attorney in Baton Rouge, La., who is investigating several cases. So far they have had mixed results. Losavio said that the strength of an individual case would depend on the disclosures made and what the sellers knew or should have known about the risks.

In 2004, the IRS issued notices and revenue rulings indicating that the plans were listed transactions. But plaintiffs’ lawyers allege that there were earlier signs that the plans ran afoul of the tax laws, evidenced by the fact that the IRS is auditing plans that existed before 2004.

“Insurance companies were aware this was dancing a tightrope,” said William Noll, a tax attorney in Malvern, Pa. “These plans were being scrutinized by the IRS at the same time they were being promoted, but there wasn’t any disclosure of the scrutiny to unwitting customers.”

A defense attorney, who represents benefits professionals in pending lawsuits, said the main defense is that the plans complied with the regulations at the time and that “nobody can predict the future.”

An employee benefits attorney who has settled several cases against insurance companies, said that although the lost tax benefit is not recoverable, other damages include the hefty commissions – which in one of his cases amounted to 400,000 the first year – as well as the costs of handling the audit and filing amended tax returns.

Defying the individualized approach an attorney filed a class action in federal court against four insurance companies claiming that they were aware that since the 1980s the IRS had been calling the policies potentially abusive and that in 2002 the IRS gave lectures calling the plans not just abusive but “criminal.” A judge dismissed the case against one of the insurers that sold 412(i) plans.

The court said that the plaintiffs failed to show the statements made by the insurance companies were fraudulent at the time they were made, because IRS statements prior to the revenue rulings indicated that the agency may or may not take the position that the plans were abusive. The attorney, whose suit also names law firm for its opinion letters approving the plans, will appeal the dismissal to the 5th Circuit.

In a case that survived a similar motion to dismiss, a small business owner is suing Hartford Insurance to recover a “seven-figure” sum in penalties and fees paid to the IRS. A trial is expected in August.

But tax experts say the audits and penalties continue. “There’s a bit of a disconnect between what members of Congress thought they meant by suspending collection and what is happening in practice. Clients are still getting bills and threats of liens,” Wallach said. “Thousands of business owners are being hit with million-dollar-plus fines. … The audits are continuing and escalating. I just got four calls today,” he said. A bill has been introduced in Congress to make the penalties less draconian, but nobody is expecting a magic bullet.

“From what we know, Congress is looking to make the penalties more proportionate to the tax benefit received instead of a fixed amount.”

Lance Wallach can be reached at: WallachInc@gmail.com

For more information, please visit www.taxadvisorexperts.org Lance Wallach, National Society of Accountants Speaker of the Year and member of the AICPA faculty of teaching professionals, is a frequent speaker on retirement plans, abusive tax shelters, financial, international tax, and estate planning.  He writes about 412(i), 419, Section79, FBAR, and captive insurance plans. He speaks at more than ten conventions annually, writes for over fifty publications, is quoted regularly in the press and has been featured on television and radio financial talk shows including NBC, National Pubic Radio’s All Things Considered, and others. Lance has written numerous books including Protecting Clients from Fraud, Incompetence and Scams published by John Wiley and Sons, Bisk Education’s CPA’s Guide to Life Insurance and Federal Estate and Gift Taxation, as well as the AICPA best-selling books, including Avoiding Circular 230 Malpractice Traps and Common Abusive Small Business Hot Spots. He does expert witness testimony and has never lost a case. Contact him at 516.938.5007, wallachinc@gmail.com or visit www.taxadvisorexperts.com.

 

 

 




The information provided herein is not intended as legal, accounting, financial or any type of advice for any specific individual or other entity. You should contact an appropriate professional for any such advice.

 

I have a CPA and an Attorney. Why do I need you? 
 
Lance Wallach

FACT - "The Federal Tax Code is composed of 45,662 pages that require taxpayers to choose from 703 different forms. The Internal Revenue Code has grown to almost 1.4 million words today and is now 500,000 words longer than the Bible."

There is another unequivocal fact that every small businessperson should know - "small privately held businesses pay a considerably higher percentage of their earnings to taxes than do large corporations in America."

Abusive Insurance, Welfare Benefit, and Retirement

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Abusive Insurance, Welfare Benefit, and Retirement Plans

Published in Tax Practice: Tax Notes

 By Lance Wallach

The IRS has various task forces auditing all section 419, section 412(i), and other plans that tend to be abusive. These plans are sold by most insurance agents. The IRS is looking to raise money and is not looking to correct plans or help taxpayers. The fines for being in a listed, abusive, or similar transaction are up to $200,000 per year (section 6707A), unless you report on yourself. The IRS calls accountants, attorneys, and insurance agents “material advisors” and also fines them the same amount, again unless the client’s participation in the transaction is reported. An accountant is a material advisor if he signs the return or gives advice and gets paid. More details can be found on www.irs.gov and href="http://vebaplan.com" target="_blank" class="">www.vebaplan.com.

Bruce Hink, who has given me written permission to use his name and circumstances, is a perfect example of what the IRS is doing to unsuspecting business owners. What follows is a story about how the IRS fines him $200,000 a year for being in what they called a listed transaction. Listed transactions can be found at www.irs.gov. Also involved are what the IRS calls abusive plans or what it refers to as substantially similar. Substantially similar to is very difficult to understand, but the IRS seems to be saying, “If it looks like some other listed transaction, the fines apply.” Also, I believe that the accountant who signed the tax return and the insurance agent who sold the retirement plan will each be fined $200,000 as material advisors. We have received many calls for help from accountants, attorneys, business owners, and insurance agents in similar situations. Don’t think this will happen to you? It is happening to a lot of accountants and business owners, because most of theses so-called listed, abusive, or substantially similar plans are being sold by insurance agents.

Recently I came across the case of Hink, a small business owner who is facing $400,000 in IRS penalties for 2004 and 2005 because of his participation in a section 412(i) plan. (The penalties were assessed under section 6707A.)

In 2002 an insurance agent representing a 100-year-old, well established insurance company suggested the owner start a pension plan. The owner was given a portfolio of information from the insurance company, which was given to the company’s outside CPA to review and give an opinion on. The CPA gave the plan the green light and the plan was started.

Contributions were made in 2003. The plan administrator came out with amendments to the plan, based on new IRS guidelines, in October 2004.

The business owner’s insurance agent disappeared in May 2005, before implementing the new guidelines from the administrator with the insurance company. The business owner was left with a refund check from the insurance company, a deduction claim on his 2004 tax return that had not been applied, and no agent.

It took six months of making calls to the insurance company to get a new insurance agent assigned. By then, the IRS had started an examination of the pension plan. Asking advice from the CPA and a local attorney (who had no previous experience in these cases) made matters worse, with a “big name” law firm being recommended and over $30,000 in additional legal fees being billed in three months.

To make a long story short, the audit stretched on for over 2 ½ years to examine a 2-year-old pension with four participants and the $178,000 in contributions. During the audit, no funds went to the insurance company, which was awaiting formal IRS approval on restructuring the plan as a traditional defined benefit plan, which the administrator had suggested and the IRS had indicated would be acceptable. The $90,000 in 2005 contributions was put into the company’s retirement bank account along with the 2004 contributions.

In March 2008 the business owner received a private e-mail apology from the IRS agent who headed the examination, saying that her hands were tied and that she used to believe she was correcting problems and helping taxpayers and not hurting people.

The IRS denied any appeal and ruled in October 2008 the $400,000 penalty would stand. The IRS fine for being in a listed, abusive, or similar transaction is $200,000 per year for corporations or $100,000 per year for unincorporated entities. The material advisor fine is $200,000 if you are incorporated or $100,000 if you are not.

Could you or one of your clients be next?

To this point, I have focused, generally, on the horrors of running afoul of the IRS by participating in a listed transaction, which includes various types of transactions and the various fines that can be imposed on business owners and their advisors who participate in, sell, or advice on these transactions. I happened to use, as an example, someone in a section 412(i) plan, which was deemed to be a listed transaction, pointing out the truly doleful consequences the person has suffered. Others who fall into this trap, even unwittingly, can suffer the same fate.

Now let’s go into more detail about section 412(i) plans. This is important because these defined benefit plans are popular and because few people think of retirement plans as tax shelters or listed transactions. People therefore may get into serious trouble in this area unwittingly, out of ignorance of the law, and, for the same reason, many fail to take necessary and appropriate precautions.

The IRS has warned against the section 412(i) defined benefit pension plans, named for the former code section governing them. It warned against trust arrangements it deems abusive, some of which may be regarded as listed transactions. Falling into that category can result in taxpayers having to disclose the participation under pain of penalties, potentially reaching $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for other taxpayers. Targets also include some retirement plans.

One reason for the harsh treatment of some 412(i) plans is their discrimination in favor of owners and key, highly compensated employees. Also, the IRS does not consider the promised tax relief proportionate to the economic realities of the transactions. In general, IRS auditors divide audited plan into those they consider noncompliant and other they consider abusive. While the alternatives available to the sponsor of noncompliant plan are problematic, it is frequently an option to keep the plan alive in some form while simultaneously hoping to minimize the financial fallout from penalties.

The sponsor of an abusive plan can expect to be treated more harshly than participants. Although in some situation something can be salvaged, the possibility is definitely on the table of having to treat the plan as if it never existed, which of course triggers the full extent of back taxes, penalties, and interest on all contributions that were made – not to mention leaving behind no retirement plan whatsoever.

Another plan the IRS is auditing is the section 419 plan. A few listed transactions concern relatively common employee benefit plans the IRS has deemed tax avoidance schemes or otherwise abusive. Perhaps some of the most likely to crop up, especially in small-business returns, are the arrangements purporting to allow the deductibility of premiums paid for life insurance under a welfare benefit plan or section 419 plan. These plans have been sold by most insurance agents and insurance companies.

Some of theses abusive employee benefit plans are represented as satisfying section 419, which sets limits on purposed and balances of “qualified asset accounts” for the benefits, although the plans purport to offer the deductibility of contributions without any corresponding income. Others attempt to take advantage of the exceptions to qualified asset account limits, such as sham union plans that try to exploit the exception for the separate welfare benefit funds under collective bargaining agreements provided by section 419A(f)(5). Others try to take advantage of exceptions for plans serving 10 or more employers, once popular under section 419A(f)(6). More recently, one may encounter plans relying on section 419(e) and, perhaps, defines benefit sections 412(i) pension plans.

Sections 419 and 419A were added to the code by the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 in an attempt to end employers’ acceleration of deductions for plan contributions. But it wasn’t long before plan promoters found an end run around the new code sections. An industry developed in what came to be known as 10-or-more-employer plans.

The IRS steadily added these abusive plans to its designations of listed transactions. With Revenue Ruling 90-105, it warned against deducting some plan contributions attributable to compensation earned by plan participants after the end of the tax year. Purported exceptions to limits of sections 419 and 419A claimed by 10-or-more-employer benefit funds were likewise prescribed in Notice 95-24 (Doc 95-5046, 95 TNT 98-11). Both positions were designated as listed transactions in 2000.

At that point, where did all those promoters go? Evidence indicates many are now promoting plans purporting to comply with section 419(e). They are calling a life insurance plan a welfare benefit plan (or fund), somewhat as they once did, and promoting the plan as a vehicle to obtain large tax deductions. The only substantial difference is that theses are now single-employer plans. And again, the IRS has tried to rein them in, reminding taxpayers that listed transactions include those substantially similar to any that are specifically described and so designated.

On October 17, 2007, the IRS issues Notices 2007-83 (Doc 2007-23225, 2007 TNT 202-6) and 2007-84 (Doc 2007-23220, 2007 TNT 202-5). In the former, the IRS identified some trust arrangements involving cash value life insurance policies, and substantially similar arrangements, as listed transactions. The latter similarly warned against some postretirement medical and life insurance benefit arrangements, saying they might be subject to “alternative tax treatment.” The IRS at the same time issued related Rev. Rul. 2007-65 (Doc 2007-23226, 2007 TNT 202-7) to address situations in which an arrangement is considered a welfare benefit fund but the employer’s deduction for its contributions to the fund id denied in whole or in part for premiums paid by the trust on cash value life insurance policies. It states that a welfare benefit fund’s qualified direct cost under section 419 does not include premium amounts paid by the fund for cash value life insurance policies if the fund is directly or indirectly a beneficiary under the policy, as determined under sections264(a).

Notice 2007-83 targets promoted arrangements under which the fund trustee purchases cash value insurance policies on the lives of a business’s employee/owners, and sometimes key employees, while purchasing term insurance policies on the lives of other employees covered under the plan.

These plans anticipate being terminated and anticipate that the cash value policies will be distributed to the owners or key employees, with little distributed to other employees. The promoters claim that the insurance premiums are currently deductible by the business and that the distributed insurance policies are virtually tax free to the owners. The ruling makes it clear that, going forward, a business under most circumstances cannot deduct the cost of premiums paid through a welfare benefit plan for cash value life insurance on the lives of its employees.

Should a client approach you with one of these plans, be especially cautious, for both of you. Advise your client to check out the promoter very carefully. Make it clear that the government has the names of all former section 419A(f)(6) promoters and, therefore, will be scrutinizing the promoter carefully if the promoter was once active in that area, as many current section 419(e) (welfare benefit fund or plan) promoters were. This makes an audit of your client more likely and far riskier.

It is worth noting that listed transactions are subject to a regulatory scheme applicable only to them, entirely separate from Circular 230 requirements, regulations, and sanctions. Participation in such a transaction must be disclosed on a tax return, and the penalties for failure to disclose are severe – up to $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for corporations. The penalties apply to both taxpayers and practitioners. And the problem with disclosure, of course, is that it is apt to trigger an audit, in which case even if the listed transaction was to pass muster, something else may not.

Lance Wallach, National Society of Accountants Speaker of the Year and member of the AICPA faculty of teaching professionals, is a frequent speaker on retirement plans, financial and estate planning, and abusive tax shelters. He writes about 412(i), 419, and captive insurance plans. He speaks at more than ten conventions annually, writes for over fifty publications, is quoted regularly in the press and has been featured on television and radio financial talk shows including NBC, National Public Radio's All Things Considered, and others. Lance has written numerous books including Protecting Clients from Fraud, Incompetence and Scams published by John Wiley and Sons, Bisk Education's CPA's Guide to Life Insurance and Federal Estate and Gift Taxation, as well as AICPA best-selling books, including Avoiding Circular 230 Malpractice Traps and Common Abusive Small Business Hot Spots. He does expert witness testimony and has never lost a case. Contact him at 516.938.5007, wallachinc@gmail.com or visit www.taxaudit419.com/TaxHelp.html and www.taxlibrary.us

The information provided herein is not intended as legal, accounting, financial or any type of advice for any specific individual or other entity. You should contact an appropriate professional for any such advice.

 

 

 

IRS Hiring Agents in Abusive Transactions Group

 

FAST PITCH NETWORKING

  Posted: Dec. 10

  By Lance Wallach

Here it is. Here is your proof of my predictions. Perhaps you didn’t believe me when I told you the IRS was coming after what it has deemed “abusive transactions,” but here it is, right from the IRS’s own job posting. If you were involved with a 419e, 412i, listed transaction, abusive tax shelter, Section 79, or captive, and you haven’t yet approached an expert for help with your situation, you had better do it now, before the notices start piling up on your desk.

A portion of the exact announcement from the Department of the Treasury:

Job Title: INTERNAL REVENUE AGENT (ABUSIVE TRANSACTIONS GROUP)

Agency: Internal Revenue Service

Open Period: Monday, October 18, 2010 to Monday, November 01, 2010

Sub Agency: Internal Revenue Service

Job Announcement Number: 11PH1-SBB0058-0512-12/13

Who May Be Considered:

·        IRS employees on Career or Career Conditional Appointments in the competitive service

·        Treasury Office of Chief Counsel employees on Career or Career Conditional Appointments or with prior competitive status

·        IRS employees on Term Appointments with potential conversion to a Career or Career Conditional Appointment in the same line of work

According to the job description, the agents of the Abusive Transactions Group will be conducting examinations of individuals, sole proprietorships, small corporations, partnerships and fiduciaries. They will be examining tax returns and will “determine the correct tax liability, and identify situations with potential for understated taxes.”

These agents will work in the Small Business/Self Employed Business Division (SB/SE) which provides examinations for about 7 million small businesses and upwards of 33 million self-employed and supplemental income taxpayers. This group specifically goes after taxpayers who generally have higher incomes than most taxpayers, need to file more tax forms, and generally need to rely more on paid tax preparers.” Their examinations can contain “special audit features or anticipated accounting, tax law, or investigative issues,” and look to make sure that, for example, specialty returns are filed properly.

The fines are severe. Under IRC 6707A, fines are up to $200,000 annually for not properly disclosing participation in a listed transaction. There was a moratorium on those fines until June 2010, pending new legislation to reduce them, but the new law virtually guarantees you will be fined. The fines had been $200,000 per year on the corporate level and $100,000 per year on the personal level. You got the fine even if you made no contributions for the year. All you had to do was to be in the plan and fail to properly disclose your participation.

You can possibly still avoid all this by properly filing form 8886 IMMEDIATELY with the IRS. Time is especially of the essence now. You MUST file before you are assessed the penalty. For months the Service has been holding off on actually collecting from people that they assessed because they did not know what Congress was going to do. But now they do know, so they are going to move aggressively to collection with people they have already assessed. There is no reason not to now. This is especially true because the new legislation still does not provide for a right of appeal or judicial review. The Service is still judge, jury, and executioner. Its word is absolute as far as determining what is a listed transaction.

So you have to file form 8886 fast, but you also have to file it properly. The Service treats forms that are incorrectly filed as if they were never filed. You get fined for filing incorrectly, or for not filing at all. The Statute of Limitations does not begin unless you properly file. That means IRS can come back to get you any time in the future unless you file properly.

If you don’t want these new IRS Agents, or any other IRS agents for that matter, to be earning their paychecks by coming after you, make sure you have done all you can to ensure that you have filed properly by reaching out for expert help today.

Lance Wallach, National Society of Accountants Speaker of the Year and member of the AICPA faculty of teaching professionals, is a frequent speaker on retirement plans, financial and estate planning, and abusive tax shelters. He writes about 412(i), 419, and captive insurance plans. He gives expert witness testimony and his side has never lost a case. Contact him at 516.938.5007, wallachinc@gmail.com or visit www.taxadvisorexperts.org or www.taxaudit419.com.

The information provided herein is not intended as legal, accounting, financial or any other type of advice for any specific individual or other entity. You should contact an appropriate professional for any such advice

 

 

 

 



Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accounts, Inc.
Winter 2010

IRS Attacks Business Owners in 419, 412, Section 79 and Captive Insurance Plans Under Section 6707A


By Lance Wallach

 

Taxpayers who previously adopted 419, 412i, captive

insurance or Section 79 plans are in big trouble.

 

In recent years, the IRS has identified many of these arrangements as abusive devices to funnel tax deductible dollars to shareholders and classified these arrangements as listed transactions." These plans were sold by insurance agents, financial planners, accountants and attorneys seeking large life insurance commissions. In general, taxpayers who engage in a “listed transaction” must report such transaction to the IRS on Form 8886 every year that they “participate” in the transaction, and you do not necessarily have to make a contribution or claim a tax deduction to participate. Section 6707A of the Code imposes severe penalties for failure to file Form 8886 with respect to a listed transaction. But you are also in trouble if you file incorrectly. I have received numerous phone calls from business owners who filed and still got fined. Not only do you have to file Form 8886, but it also has to be prepared correctly. I only know of two people in the U.S. who have filed these forms properly for clients. They tell me that was after hundreds of hours of research and over 50 phones calls to various IRS personnel. The filing instructions for Form 8886 presume a timely filling. Most people file late and follow the directions for currently preparing the forms. Then the IRS fines the business owner. The tax court does not have jurisdiction to abate or lower such penalties imposed by the IRS.

 

"Many taxpayers who are no longer taking current tax deductions for these plans continue to enjoy the benefit of previous tax deductions by continuing the deferral of income from contributions and deductions taken in prior years."

 

Many business owners adopted 412i, 419, captive insurance and Section 79 plans based upon representations provided by insurance professionals that the plans were legitimate plans and were not informed that they were engaging in a listed transaction. Upon audit, these taxpayers were shocked when the IRS asserted penalties under Section 6707A of the Code in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Numerous complaints from these taxpayers caused Congress to impose a moratorium on assessment of Section 6707A penalties.

 

The moratorium on IRS fines expired on June 1, 2010. The IRS immediately started sending out notices proposing the imposition of Section 6707A penalties along with requests for lengthy extensions of the Statute of Limitations for the purpose of assessing tax. Many of these taxpayers stopped taking deductions for contributions to these plans years ago, and are confused and upset by the IRS’s inquiry, especially when the taxpayer had previously reached a monetary settlement with the IRS regarding its deductions. Logic and common sense dictate that a penalty should not apply if the taxpayer no longer benefits from the arrangement. Treas. Reg. Sec. 1.6011-4(c)(3)(i) provides that a taxpayer has participated in a listed transaction if the taxpayer’s tax return reflects tax consequences or a tax strategy described in the published guidance identifying the transaction as a listed transaction or a transaction that is the same or substantially similar to a listed transaction.

 

Clearly, the primary benefit in the participation of these plans is the large tax deduction generated by such participation. Many taxpayers who are no longer taking current tax deductions for these plans continue to enjoy the benefit of previous tax deductions by continuing the deferral of income from contributions and deductions taken in prior years. While the regulations do not expand on what constitutes “reflecting the tax consequences of the strategy,” it could be argued that continued benefit from a tax deferral for a previous tax deduction is within the contemplation of a “tax consequence” of the plan strategy. Also, many taxpayers who no longer make contributions or claim tax deductions continue to pay administrative fees. Sometimes, money is taken from the plan to pay premiums to keep life insurance policies in force. In these ways, it could be argued that these taxpayers are still “contributing,” and thus still must file Form 8886.

 

It is clear that the extent to which a taxpayer benefits from the transaction depends on the purpose of a particular transaction as described in the published guidance that caused such transaction to be a listed transaction. Revenue Ruling 2004-20, which classifies 419(e) transactions, appears to be concerned with the employer’s contribution/deduction amount rather than the continued deferral of the income in previous years. Another important issue is that the IRS has called CPAs material advisors if they signed tax returns containing the plan, and got paid a certain amount of money for tax advice on the plan. The fine is $100,000 for the CPA, or $200,000 if the CPA is incorporated. To avoid the fine, the CPA has to properly file Form 8918.

 

Lance Wallach, National Society of Accountants Speaker of the Year and member of the AICPA faculty of teaching professionals, Wallach is a frequent speaker on retirement plans, financial and estate planning, and abusive tax shelters. He is also a featured writer and has been interviewed on television and financial talk shows including NBC, National Pubic Radio’s All Things Considered and others. Lance authored Protecting Clients from Fraud, Incompetence and Scams published by John Wiley and Sons, Bisk Education’s CPA’s Guide to Life Insurance and Federal Estate and Gift Taxation, as well as AICPA best-selling books including Avoiding Circular 230 Malpractice Traps and Common Abusive Small Business Hot Spots.

The information provided herein is not intended as legal, accounting, financial or any type of advice for any specific individual or other entity. You should contact an appropriate professional for any such advice.

Contact him at:

516.938.5007,

wallachinc@gmail.com, or

www.taxadvisorexperts.org, or

www.taxlibrary.us.



Abusive Insurance, Welfare Benefit, and Retirement Plans


The A2Z Directory                                              March 2011 Lance Wallach                                                  


 

The IRS has various task forces auditing all section 419, section 412(i), and other plans that tend to be abusive.  Most insurance agents sell these plans.  The IRS is looking to raise money and is not looking to correct plans or help taxpayers. The IRS calls accountants, attorneys, and insurance agents “material advisors” and also fines them the same amount, again unless the client’s participation in the transaction is reported.  An accountant is a material advisor if he signs the return or gives advice and gets paid.  More details can be found on www.irs.gov and vebaplan.org.

Bruce Hink, who has given me written permission to use his name and circumstances, is a perfect example of what the IRS is doing to unsuspecting business owners.  What follows is a story about how the IRS fines him each year for being in what they called a listed transaction.  Listed transactions can be found at www.irs.gov.  Also involved are what the IRS calls abusive plans or what it refers to as substantially similar.  Substantially similar to is very difficult to understand, but the IRS seems to be saying, “If it looks like some other listed transaction, the fines apply.”  Also, I believe that the accountant who signed the tax return and the insurance agent who sold the retirement plan will each be fined as material advisors.  We have received many calls for help from accountants, attorneys, business owners, and insurance agents in similar situations.  Don’t think this will happen to you?  It is happening to a lot of accountants and business owners, because most of theses so-called listed, abusive, or insurance agents are selling substantially similar plans. Recently I came across the case of Hink, a small business owner who is facing thousands in IRS penalties for 2004 and 2005 because of his participation in a section 412(i) plan.  (The penalties were assessed under section 6707A.) 

In 2002 an insurance agent representing a 100-year-old, well-established insurance company suggested the owner start a pension plan.  The owner was given a portfolio of information from the insurance company, which was given to the company’s outside CPA to review and give an opinion on.  The CPA gave the plan the green light and the plan was started. Contributions were made in 2003.  The plan administrator came out with amendments to the plan, based on new IRS guidelines, in October 2004. The business owner’s insurance agent disappeared in May 2005, before implementing the new guidelines from the administrator with the insurance company.  The business owner was left with a refund check from the insurance company, a deduction claim on his 2004 tax return that had not been applied, and no agent.

 

It took six months of making calls to the insurance company to get a new insurance agent assigned.  By then, the IRS had started an examination of the pension plan.  Asking advice from the CPA and a local attorney (who had no previous experience in these cases) made matters worse, with a “big name” law firm being recommended and over ,000 in additional legal fees being billed in three months. To make a long story short, the audit stretched on for over 2 ½ years to examine a 2-year-old pension with four participants and the 8,000 in contributions. During the audit, no funds went to the insurance company, which was awaiting formal IRS approval on restructuring the plan as a traditional defined benefit plan, which the administrator had suggested and the IRS had indicated would be acceptable.In March 2008 the business owner received a private e-mail apology from the IRS agent who headed the examination, saying that her hands were tied and that she used to believe she was correcting problems and helping taxpayers and not hurting people.

 Could you or one of your clients be next?

 

To this point, I have focused, generally, on the horrors of running afoul of the IRS by participating in a listed transaction, which includes various types of transactions and the various fines that can be imposed on business owners and their advisors who participate in, sell, or advice on these transactions.  I happened to use, as an example, someone in a section 412(i) plan, which was deemed to be a listed transaction, pointing out the truly doleful consequences the person has suffered.  Others who fall into this trap, even unwittingly, can suffer the same fate.

Now let’s go into more detail about section 412(i) plans.  This is important because these defined benefit plans are popular and because few people think of retirement plans as tax shelters or listed transactions.  People therefore may get into serious trouble in this area unwittingly, out of ignorance of the law, and, for the same reason, many fail to take necessary and appropriate precautions. The IRS has warned against the section 412(i) defined benefit pension plans, named for the former code section governing them.  It warned against trust arrangements it deems abusive, some of which may be regarded as listed transactions.  Falling into that category can result in taxpayers having to disclose the participation under pain of penalties. Targets also include some retirement plans.

One reason for the harsh treatment of some 412(i) plans is their discrimination in favor of owners and key, highly compensated employees.  Also, the IRS does not consider the promised tax relief proportionate to the economic realities of the transactions.  In general, IRS auditors divide audited plan into those they consider noncompliant and other they consider abusive.  While the alternatives available to the sponsor of noncompliant plan are problematic, it is frequently an option to keep the plan alive in some form while simultaneously hoping to minimize the financial fallout from penalties.

 

The sponsor of an abusive plan can expect to be treated more harshly than participants.  Although in some situation something can be salvaged, the possibility is definitely on the table of having to treat the plan as if it never existed, which of course triggers the full extent of back taxes, penalties, and interest on all contributions that were made – not to mention leaving behind no retirement plan whatsoever. Another plan the IRS is auditing is the section 419 plan.  A few listed transactions concern relatively common employee benefit plans the IRS has deemed tax avoidance schemes or otherwise abusive.  Perhaps some of the most likely to crop up, especially in small-business returns, are the arrangements purporting to allow the deductibility of premiums paid for life insurance under a welfare benefit plan or section 419 plan.  These plans have been sold by most insurance agents and insurance companies.

Lance Wallach, National Society of Accountants Speaker of the Year and member of the AICPA faculty of teaching professionals, is a frequent speaker on retirement plans, abusive tax shelters, financial, international tax, and estate planning.  He writes about 412(i), 419, Section79, FBAR, and captive insurance plans. He speaks at more than ten conventions annually, writes for over fifty publications, is quoted regularly in the press and has been featured on television and radio financial talk shows including NBC, National Pubic Radio’s All Things Considered, and others. Lance has written numerous books including Protecting Clients from Fraud, Incompetence and Scams published by John Wiley and Sons, Bisk Education’s CPA’s Guide to Life Insurance and Federal Estate and Gift Taxation, as well as the AICPA best-selling books, including Avoiding Circular 230 Malpractice Traps and Common Abusive Small Business Hot Spots. He does expert witness testimony and has never lost a case. Contact him at 516.938.5007, wallachinc@gmail.com or visit www.taxadvisorexperts.com

 

The information provided herein is not intended as legal, accounting, financial or any type of advice for any specific individual or other entity. You should contact an appropriate professional for any such advice.

 

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Contact  "Lance Wallach" and his team of "expert tax advisors right now! 

                            516-938-5007                             

Or visit TaxLibrary.US or Taxaudit419.com  for more information about 412i and "419e plans", "419 plan help", and the "tax resolution servicesLance and his 412(i) / 419(e) "Expert Tax Advisors" Team provides.

Late breaking news: Large 419 plan Millennium files for
Bankruptcy.  


Recent court cases and other developments have highlighted serious problems in plans, popularly know as
Benistar, issued by Nova Benefit Plans of Simsbury, Connecticut. Recently unsealed IRS criminal case
information now raises concerns with other plans as well. If you have any type plan issued by
NOVA Benefit
Plans
, U.S. Benefits Group, Benefit Plan Advisors, Grist Mill trusts, Rex Insurance Service or Benistar, get help

at once. You may be subject to an
audit or in some cases, criminal prosecution.


On November 17th, 59 pages of search warrant materials were unsealed in the
Nova Benefit Plans litigation
currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. According to these documents, the

IRS believes that Nova is involved in a significant criminal conspiracy involving the crimes of Conspiracy to
Impede the IRS and Assisting in the Preparation of False Income Tax Returns.
 Read more here.

Breaking News: Don't Become A Material 
Advisor
Accountants, insurance professionals and others need to be careful that they 
don’t become what the IRS calls 
material advisors.  If they sell or give advice, 
or sign tax returns for abusive, listed or similar plans; they risk a minimum 
$100,000 fine. Their client will then probably sue them after having dealt with 
the IRS.  

In 2010, the IRS raided the offices of 
Benistar in Simsbury, Conn., and seized 
the retirement benefit plan administration firm’s files and records. In 
McGehee Family Clinic, the Tax Court ruled that a clinic and shareholder’s 
investment in an employee benefit plan marketed under the name “Benistar” 
was a listed transaction because it was substantially similar to the 
transaction described in Notice 95-34 (1995-1 C.B. 309). This is at least the 
second case in which the court has ruled against the Benistar welfare benefit 
plan, by denominating it a 
listed transaction.

The McGehee Family Clinic enrolled in the Benistar Plan in May 2001 and 
claimed deductions for contributions to it in 2002 and 2005. The returns did 
not include a
 Form 8886, Reportable Transaction Disclosure Statement, or 
similar disclosure. The IRS disallowed the latter deduction and adjusted the 
2004 return of shareholder Robert Prosser and his wife to include the 
$50,000 payment to the plan.  
Click here to read more.


California Broker, June 2011


Employee Retirement Plans

By Lance Wallach

412i, 419, Captive Insurance and Section 79 Plans; Buyer Beware

The IRS has been attacking all 419 welfare benefit plans, many 412i retirement plans, captive insurance plans with life insurance in them, and Section 79 plans.  IRS is aggressively auditing various plans and calling them “listed transactions,” “abusive tax shelters,” or “reportable transactions,” participation in any of which must be disclosed to the Service.  The result has been IRS audits, disallowances, and huge fines for not properly reporting under IRC 6707A.  

In a recent tax court case, Curico v. Commissioner (TC Memo 2010-115), the Tax Court ruled that an investment in an employee welfare benefit plan marketed under the name “Benistar” was a listed transaction.  It was substantially similar to the transaction described in IRS Notice 95-34.  A subsequent case, McGehee Family Clinic, largely followed Curico, though it was technically decided on other grounds.  The parties stipulated to be bound by Curico regarding whether the amounts paid by McGehee in connection with the Benistar 419 Plan and Trust were deductible.  Curico did not appear to have been decided yet at the time McGehee was argued.  The McGehee opinion (Case No. 10-102) (United States Tax Court, September 15, 2010) does contain an exhaustive analysis and discussion of virtually all of the relevant issues.  Taxpayers and their representatives should be aware that the Service has disallowed deductions for 
contributions to these arrangements.  The IRS is cracking down on small business owners who participate in tax reduction insurance plans and the brokers who sold them.  Some of these plans include defined benefit retirement plans, IRAs, or even 401(k) plans with life insurance. Click here to read full article.

 Captive Insurance

Forms of captive structures: In general.
■ Single parent.
■ Segregated cell or the incorporated cell. A cell captive is less expensive to
form and operate.
■ Group captive. The lowest cost alternative. When using the group captive,
the insured is not the owner of the insurance company.
■ Risk retention group.
■ Fronting company (provides access to reinsurance).
■ Special purpose captive. 

Last of Defendant Sentenced In Tax Conspiracy Case

On January 18, 2011, in Little Rock, Ark., Randall Jarvis, of Salt Lake City, Utah, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and three years supervised release for his role in a tax conspiracy. This sentencing was the culmination of a case that was originally indicted in 2006 and involved five defendants. The other defendants have previously been sentenced. Julia Freeman, aka Judy Ford, formerly of Little Rock, was sentenced in April 2010, to 33 months in prison and order to pay $1,100,492 in restitution Lydia Prisock, formerly of Little Rock, was sentenced to time served and ordered to pay $82,519 in restitution. Carol Spackman Reese, of Scottsdale, Ariz., was sentenced in May 2010, to three years probation. Robert Colee, of Grant’s Pass, Ore., was sentenced in August 2010, to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay $604,208 in restitution. The five were charged with conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service for tax years 1997 through 2004. Freeman, Colee, and Prisock controlled a distributorship for Nikken, a multi-level marketing company that sold alternative health care products, which generated commissions in excess of $5,000,000 during the years 1997 through 2004. Spackman Reese was a tax preparer for the three, and Jarvis assisted in setting up fraudulent ministerial entities through which the Nikken commissions were funneled. This was done to disguise the income received and to evade payment of personal income taxes of over $1 million. 

Captive Insurance

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits is that excess net premiums can be recouped by the parent company when claims are low, and they can increase reinsurance in riskier areas. Like traditional insurance, captive insurance can cover several types of risk. It can underwrite public and product liability, physical property damage, professional indemnity, employee benefits such as medical aid, and employer’s liability.

  • These include segregated portfolio companies (SPCs), risk retention groups, and special purpose vehicles (SPVs), along with agency, group, single parent, and association captive insurance. For companies unable to support their own captive insurance, rent-a-captive is available, offering similar services for a fee to smaller companies and organizations.
  • Be careful as the IRS looks at captives.