CAUTION: IRS is attacking 419, 412i, 412(e)(3), and Section 79 plans, and many other benefit plans described as 'captive insurance.'

The 419 and 412i  "Tax Resolution" Offices
“Grist Mill Trust lawsuit” “Millennium Plan lawsuit” “Sterling Benefit Plan lawsuit” “Benistar lawsuit” “SADI Trust lawsuit” “Beta 419 lawsuit” “Bisys lawsuit” “Creative Services Group lawsuit” “Compass 419 lawsuit” “Niche 419 lawsuit” “Sea Nine Veba lawsuit”
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Like Notice 2007-83 and Notice 2007-84, Revenue Ruling 2007-65 is aimed at promoted arrangements under which the fund trustee purchases cash value life insurance policies on the lives of the employees who are owners of the business (and sometimes key employees), while purchasing term insurance policies on the lives of other employees covered under the plan.  They are currently sold as IRC §419(e), IRC §419A(f)(6), or IRC §419 plans.  These are sometimes sold as single employer plans.  These plans anticipate that the plan will be terminated and the cash value policies will be distri­buted to the owners or key employees with very little distributed to other employees.  The promoters claim 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 clear that, going forward, a business cannot deduct the cost of pre­miums paid through a welfare benefit plan for cash value life insurance on the lives of its employees.  Some arrangements described by this ruling may qualify as listed transactions.

Life Insurnance
When you receive a denial letter in a life insurance claim, the words used by the life insurance company can sometimes be confusing.  The starting point for every beneficiary whose claim has been denied should be the actual wording of the life insurance policy.  For example, if your accidental death claim has been denied but your loved one passed away after what you could only interpret as a sudden accident, you might be confused.   The policy definition of a covered accident, however, might be so specifically written that if your loved one died from an injury that in some manner was contributed to by a disease, you may not collect a benefit.

That is what happened in a recent very sad case in which a young woman collapsed in a subway bathroom after eating a peach.  She ultimately passed away in the hospital from a blood clot.  The insurer, Life Insurance Company of North America, argued that the woman died from a genetic disorder.   Her mother argued that she died as a result of a fall from choking on a peach pit, which caused her to suffer a blood clot that ultimately caused her demise.

Unfortunately, the Court did not agree with the deceased girl’s mother.  The court held that the life insurance policy would not pay a claim if death was contributed to by disease or sickness, and the girl had a history of a genetic disorder that increased the likelihood that she would suffer from blood clots.   The Court applied the strict wording of the policy to the chain of events, and unfortunately for the girl’s mother, the insurance company did not have to pay the claim.

How to Avoid IRS Fines for You and Your Clients

 

Published: 2010/2011

By Lance Wallach

Beware: The IRS is cracking down on small-business owners who participate in tax-reduction insurance plans sold by insurance agents, including defined benefit retirement plans, IRAs, and even 401(k) plans with life insurance. In these cases, the business owner is motivated by a large tax deduction; the insurance agent is motivated by a substantial commission.

A few years ago, I testified as an expert witness in a case in which a physician was in an abusive 401(k) plan with life insurance. It had a so-called “springing cash value policy” in it. The IRS calls plans with these types of policies “listed transactions.” The judge called the insurance agent “a crook.”

If your client was currently is in a 412(i), 419, captive insurance, or Section 79 plan, they may be in big trouble. Accountants who signed a tax return for a client in one of these plans may be what the IRS calls a “material advisor” and subject to a maximum $200,000 fine. Read more here


IRS Makes Taxpayers Aware of Many Scams That Will Get Them in Trouble


Published in RetirementSociety.com | January 19

By Lance Wallach

 

“Taxpayers should be wary of scams to avoid paying taxes that seem too good to be true, especially during these challenging economic times,” IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said. “There is no secret trick that can eliminate a person’s tax obligations. People should be wary of anyone peddling any of these scams.”

Tax schemes are illegal and can lead to problems for both scam artists and taxpayers who risk significant penalties, interest and possible criminal prosecution.

The IRS urges taxpayers to avoid these common schemes.

Abusive Retirement Plans

The IRS continues to uncover abuses in retirement plan arrangements, including Roth Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs). The IRS is looking for transactions that taxpayers are using to avoid the limitations on contributions to IRAs as well as transactions that are not properly reported as early distributions. Taxpayers should be wary of advisers who encourage them to shift appreciated assets into IRAs or companies owned by their IRAs at less than fair market value to circumvent annual contribution limits. Other variations have included the use of limited liability companies to engage in activity that is considered prohibited.

419 Plans

If they have cash value life insurance in them they are abusive. Some of the plans like Nova, run by Benistar can also be criminal. For more on 419 plans visit www.taxaudit419.com

412i Plans

Such plans can be abusive with cash value life insurance. For more information visit www.taxlibrary.com or www.experttaxadvisors.org.

Captive Insurance Plans

These were listed transactions and then taken off the list. IRS still looks closely at them. They are usually sold by life insurance agents.

Section 79 plans

 IRS is looking very closely at section 79 plans. They are usually sold by life insurance agents.

Hiding Income Offshore

The IRS aggressively pursues taxpayers and promoters involved in abusive offshore transactions. Taxpayers have tried to avoid or evade U.S. income tax by hiding income in offshore banks, brokerage accounts or through other entities. Recently, the IRS provided guidance to auditors on how to deal with those hiding income offshore in undisclosed accounts. The IRS draws a clear line between taxpayers with offshore accounts who voluntarily come forward and those who fail to come forward.

Taxpayers also evade taxes by using offshore debit cards, credit cards, wire transfers, foreign trusts, employee-leasing schemes, private annuities or life insurance plans. The IRS has also identified abusive offshore schemes including those that involve use of electronic funds transfer and payment systems, offshore business merchant accounts and private banking relationships.

Filing False or Misleading Forms

The IRS is seeing scam artists file false or misleading returns to claim refunds that they are not entitled to. Frivolous information returns, such as Form 1099-Original Issue Discount (OID), claiming false withholding credits are used to legitimize erroneous refund claims. The new scam has evolved from an earlier phony argument that a “strawman” bank account has been created for each citizen. Under this scheme, taxpayers fabricate an information return, arguing they used their “strawman” account to pay for goods and services and falsely claim the corresponding amount as withholding as a way to seek a tax refund.

Abuse of Charitable Organizations and Deductions

The IRS continues to observe the misuse of tax-exempt organizations. Abuse includes arrangements to improperly shield income or assets from taxation and attempts by donors to maintain control over donated assets or income from donated property. The IRS also continues to investigate various schemes involving the donation of non-cash assets, including easements on property, closely held corporate stock and real property. Often, the donations are highly overvalued or the organization receiving the donation promises that the donor can purchase the items back at a later date at a price the donor sets. The Pension Protection Act of 2006 imposed increased penalties for inaccurate appraisals and new definitions of qualified appraisals and qualified appraisers for taxpayers claiming charitable contributions.

Return Preparer Fraud

Dishonest return preparers can cause many headaches for taxpayers who fall victim to their ploys. Such preparers derive financial gain by skimming a portion of their clients’ refunds and charging inflated fees for return preparation services. They attract new clients by promising large refunds. Taxpayers should choose carefully when hiring a tax preparer. As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. No matter who prepares the return, the taxpayer is ultimately responsible for its accuracy. Since 2002, the courts have issued injunctions ordering dozens of individuals to cease preparing returns, and the Department of Justice has filed complaints against dozens of others, which are pending in court.

Frivolous Arguments

Promoters of frivolous schemes encourage people to make unreasonable and unfounded claims to avoid paying the taxes they owe. The IRS has a list of frivolous legal positions that taxpayers should stay away from. Taxpayers who file a tax return or make a submission based on one of the positions on the list are subject to a $5,000 penalty. More information is available on IRS.gov.

False Claims for Refund and Requests for Abatement

This scam involves a request for abatement of previously assessed tax using Form 843 Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement. Many individuals who try this have not previously filed tax returns. The tax they are trying to have abated has been assessed by the IRS through the Substitute for Return Program. The filer uses Form 843 to list reasons for the request. Often, one of the reasons given is “Failed to properly compute and/or calculate Section 83-Property Transferred in Connection with Performance of Service.”

Disguised Corporate Ownership

Some taxpayers form corporations and other entities in certain states for the primary purpose of disguising the ownership of a business or financial activity. Such entities can be used to facilitate underreporting of income, fictitious deductions, non-filing of tax returns, participating in listed transactions, money laundering, financial crimes, and even terrorist financing. The IRS is working with state authorities to identify these entities and to bring the owners of these entities into compliance.

Zero Wages

Filing a phony wage- or income-related information return to replace a legitimate information return has been used as an illegal method to lower the amount of taxes owed. Typically, a Form 4852 (Substitute Form W-2) or a “corrected” Form 1099 is used as a way to improperly reduce taxable income to zero. The taxpayer also may submit a statement rebutting wages and taxes reported by a payer to the IRS. Sometimes fraudsters even include an explanation on their Form 4852 that cites statutory language on the definition of wages or may include some reference to a paying company that refuses to issue a corrected Form W-2 for fear of IRS retaliation. Taxpayers should resist any temptation to participate in any of the variations of this scheme.

Misuse of Trusts

For years, unscrupulous promoters have urged taxpayers to transfer assets into trusts. While there are many legitimate, valid uses of trusts in tax and estate planning, some promoted transactions promise reduction of income subject to tax, deductions for personal expenses and reduced estate or gift taxes. Such trusts rarely deliver the promised tax benefits and are being used primarily as a means to avoid income tax liability and hide assets from creditors, including the IRS.

The IRS has recently seen an increase in the improper use of private annuity trusts and foreign trusts to divert income and deduct personal expenses. As with other arrangements, taxpayers should seek the advice of a trusted professional before entering into a trust arrangement.

Fuel Tax Credit Scams

The IRS is receiving claims for the fuel tax credit that are unreasonable. Some taxpayers, such as farmers who use fuel for off-highway business purposes, may be eligible for the fuel tax credit. But some individuals are claiming the tax credit for nontaxable uses of fuel when their occupation or income level makes the claim unreasonable. Fraud involving the fuel tax credit is considered a frivolous tax claim, potentially subjecting those who improperly claim the credit to a $5,000 penalty.

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 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 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 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.

 

Lance Wallach
68 Keswick Lane
Plainview, NY 11803
Ph.: (516)938-5007
Fax: (516)938-6330
www.vebaplan.com

National Society of Accountants Speaker of The Year



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.

 

 


 California Broker June 2011                               Breaking News!!!

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. Read more here



IRS Audits 419, 412i, Captive Insurance Plans With Life Insurance, and Section 79 Scams

 

 

By Lance Wallach

 

The IRS started auditing 419 plans in the ‘90s, and then continued going after 412i and other plans that they considered abusive, listed, or reportable transactions, or substantially similar to such transactions.

 

In a recent Tax Court Case, Curcio 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 in that the transaction in question was substantially similar to the transaction described in IRS Notice 95-34. A subsequent case, McGehee Family Clinic, largely followed Curcio, though it was technically decided on other grounds. The parties stipulated to be bound by Curcio on the issue of whether the amounts paid by McGehee in connection with the Benistar 419 Plan and Trust were deductible. Curcio 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.  Click here to read more.



Get Sued

June 2011

The IRS is cracking down on what it considers to be abusive tax shelters. Many of them are being marketed to small business owners by insurance professionals, financial planners and even accountants and attorneys. I speak at numerous conventions, for both business owners and accountants. And after I speak, I am always approached by many people who have questions about tax reduction plans that they have heard about. Below are the most common 419 tax reduction insurance plans. 

These come in various versions, and most of them have or will get the participant audited and the salesman sued. They purportedly allow the business owner to make a large tax-deductible contribution, and some or all of the contribution pays for a life insurance product. The IRS has been disallowing most versions of these plans for years, yet they continue to be sold. After everyone gets into trouble and the insurance agents get sued, the promoters of the abusive versions sometimes change the name of their company and call the plan something else. The insurance companies whose policies are sold are legitimate companies. What usually is not legitimate is the way that most of the plans are operated. There can also be a $200,000 IRS fine facing the insurance agent who sold the plan if Form 8918 has not been properly filed. I've reviewed hundreds of these forms for agents and have yet to see one that was filled out correctly. 

 

When the IRS audits a participant in one of these plans, the tax deductions are lost. There is also the interest and large penalties to consider. The business owner can also be facing a $200,000-a-year fine if he did not properly file Form 8886. Most of these forms have been filled out improperly. In my talks with the IRS, I was told that the IRS considers not filling out Form 8886 properly almost the same as not filing at all. 

412(i) retirement plans 

The IRS has been auditing participants in these types of retirement plans. While there is generally nothing wrong with many of the newer plans, the IRS considered most of the older abusive plans. Forms 8918 and 8886 are also required for abusive 412(i) plans. 

I have been an expert witness in a lot of these 419 and 412(i) lawsuits and I have not lost one of them. If you sold one or more of these plans, get someone who really knows what they are doing to help you immediately. Many advisors will take your money and claim to be able to help you. Make sure they have experience helping agents that have sold these types of plans. Don't let them learn on the job, with your career and money at stake.

 

Do not wait for IRS to come and get you, or for your client to sue you. Time is of the essence. Most insurance professionals need help to correct their improperly completed Form 8918 or to fill it out properly in the first place. If you have not previously filled out the form it is late, and therefore you should immediately seek assistance. There are plenty of legitimate tax reduction insurance plans out there. Just make sure that you know the history of the people with whom you conduct business. 

Remember, if something looks too good to be true, it usually is. Be careful. 


Lance Wallach, the National Society of Accountants Speaker of the Year, speaks and writes extensively about retirement plans, Circular 230 problems and tax reduction strategies. He speaks at more than 40 conventions annually, writes for over 50 publications, is quoted regularly in the press, and has written numerous best-selling AICPA books, including Avoiding Circular 230 Malpractice Traps and Common Abusive Business Hot Spots. Contact him at 516.938.5007 or visit www.vebaplan.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.


Offshore International Today                                                                                     Aug 2011

FBAR Offshore Bank Accounts and Foreign Income Attacked by IRS

By: Lance Wallach

 

You may want to think about participation in the IRS’ offshore tax amnesty program (called the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative). Do you want to play audit roulette with the IRS?  Some clients think they are too small to be prosecuted. They are wrong.

To the average businessperson, only the guys with tens of millions secretly stashed in Swiss bank accounts get prosecuted. Don't tell that to Michael Schiavo. He was just prosecuted for hiding money in a Swiss account back in 2003. How much money does the IRS say he hid? A whopping $90,000. That’s it.

But wait, there is more to the story. Schiavo attempted to do a quiet disclosure during the 2009 amnesty but instead of filling out the amnesty paperwork, he simply trusted that by coming forward voluntarily he could avoid criminal prosecution. He was wrong on all counts. Nothing is too small for the IRS, and nothing is too old.

“So, to save a whopping $40,624 in taxes, this guy risked a felony conviction and prison time, not to mention steep penalties that could very easily eat up the entire $90,000, and also his criminal and civil defense costs.

 The smart taxpayers are the ones coming forward and not having to look over their shoulders for the next 10 years.

Time is running out. The tax amnesty runs through August but it takes at least days to jump through all the hoops. We will also fight hard to reduce the penalties down even more. Remember, the IRS can go as low as 5%. Don’t want this to happen to you? Visit www.taxadvisorexpert.com today!

Lance Wallach, the National Society of Accountants Speaker of the Year, speaks and writes extensively about retirement plans, Circular 230 problems and tax reduction strategies. He speaks at more than 40 conventions annually, writes for over 50 publications, is quoted regularly in the press, and has written numerous best-selling AICPA books, including Avoiding Circular 230 Malpractice Traps and Common Abusive Business Hot Spots. Contact him at 516.938.5007 or visit www.vebaplan.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.


The Team Approach to Tax, Financial and Estate Planning.

 

by Lance Wallach

 

 

CPAs are the best and most qualified professionals when it comes to serving their clients needs, but they need to know when and how to coordinate with other experts.

 

Over the last twenty years we have worked with thousands of practitioners who have decided to add financial services to their practices. They do it for a variety of reasons, but the most common are as follows:

 

 

*They don’t want to refer their client elsewhere when they request financial services.

 

* They want to remain competitive.

 

*They want to diversify and increase their revenue as opposed to depending solely on tax and accounting revenue.

Click here to read the full article

IRS Audits 419, 412i, Captive Insurance Plans With Life Insurance, and Section 79 Scams

By Lance Wallach                                                                                          June 2011

 

 

The IRS started auditing 419 plans in the ‘90s, and then continued going after 412i and other plans that they considered abusive, listed, or reportable transactions, or substantially similar to such transactions.

 

In a recent Tax Court Case, Curcio 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 in that the transaction in question was substantially similar to the transaction described in IRS Notice 95-34. A subsequent case, McGehee Family Clinic, largely followed Curcio, though it was technically decided on other grounds. The parties stipulated to be bound by Curcio on the issue of whether the amounts paid by McGehee in connection with the Benistar 419 Plan and Trust were deductible. Curcio 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.

 

In order to fully grasp the severity of the situation, one must have an understanding of Notice 95-34, which was issued in response to trust arrangements sold to companies that were designed to provide deductible benefits such as life insurance, disability and severance pay benefits. The promoters of these arrangements claimed that all employer contributions were tax-deductible when paid, by relying on the 10-or-more-employer exemption from the IRC § 419 limits. It was claimed that permissible tax deductions were unlimited in amount.

 

In general, contributions to a welfare benefit fund are not fully deductible when paid. Sections 419 and 419A impose strict limits on the amount of tax-deductible prefunding permitted for contributions to a welfare benefit fund. Section 419A(F)(6) provides an exemption from Section 419 and Section 419A for certain “10-or-more employers” welfare benefit funds. In general, for this exemption to apply, the fund must have more than one contributing employer, of which no single employer can contribute more than 10% of the total contributions, and the plan must not be experience-rated with respect to individual employers.

 

According to the Notice, these arrangements typically involve an investment in variable life or universal life insurance contracts on the lives of the covered employees. The problem is that the employer contributions are large relative to the cost of the amount of term insurance that would be required to provide the death benefits under the arrangement, and the trust administrator may obtain cash to pay benefits other than death benefits, by such means as cashing in or withdrawing the cash value of the insurance policies. The plans are also often designed so that a particular employer’s contributions or its employees’ benefits may be determined in a way that insulates the employer to a significant extent from the experience of other subscribing employers. In general, the contributions and claimed tax deductions tend to be disproportionate to the economic realities of the arrangements.

 

Benistar advertised that enrollees should expect to obtain the same type of tax benefits as listed in the transaction described in Notice 95-34. The benefits of enrollment listed in its advertising packet included: 

  • Virtually unlimited deductions for the employer;
  • Contributions could vary from year to year;
  • Benefits could be provided to one or more key executives on a selective basis;
  • No need to provide benefits to rank-and-file employees;
  • Contributions to the plan were not limited by qualified plan rules and would not interfere with pension, profit sharing or 401(k) plans;
  • Funds inside the plan would accumulate tax-free;
  • Beneficiaries could receive death proceeds free of both income tax and estate tax;
  • The program could be arranged for tax-free distribution at a later date;
  • Funds in the plan were secure from the hands of creditors.

The Court said that the Benistar Plan was factually similar to the plans described in Notice 95-34 at all relevant times. In rendering its decision the court heavily cited Curcio, in which the court also ruled in favor of the IRS. As noted in Curcio, the insurance policies, overwhelmingly variable or universal life policies, required large contributions relative to the cost of the amount of term insurance that would be required to provide the death benefits under the arrangement. The Benistar Plan owned the insurance contracts.

 

Following Curcio, as the Court has stipulated, the Court held that the contributions to Benistar were not deductible under section 162(a) because participants could receive the value reflected in the underlying insurance policies purchased by Benistar—despite the payment of benefits by Benistar seeming to be contingent upon an unanticipated event (the death of the insured while employed). As long as plan participants were willing to abide by Benistar’s distribution policies, there was no reason ever to forfeit a policy to the plan. In fact, in estimating life insurance rates, the taxpayers’ expert in Curcio assumed that there would be no forfeitures, even though he admitted that an insurance company would generally assume a reasonable rate of policy lapses.

 

The McGehee Family Clinic had 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. The IRS also assessed tax deficiencies and the enhanced 30% penalty totaling almost $21,000 against the clinic and $21,000 against the Prossers. The court ruled that the Prossers failed to prove a reasonable cause or good faith exception.

 

 

More you should know:

 

  • In recent years, some section 412(i) plans have been funded with life insurance using face amounts in excess of the maximum death benefit a qualified plan is permitted to pay.  Ideally, the plan should limit the proceeds that can be paid as a death benefit in the event of a participant’s death.  Excess amounts would revert to the plan.  Effective February 13, 2004, the purchase of excessive life insurance in any plan is considered a listed transaction if the face amount of the insurance exceeds the amount that can be issued by $100,000 or more and the employer has deducted the premiums for the insurance.
  • A 412(i) plan in and of itself is not a listed transaction; however, the IRS has a task force auditing 412i plans.
  • An employer has not engaged in a listed transaction simply because it is a 412(i) plan.
  • Just because a 412(i) plan was audited and sanctioned for certain items, does not necessarily mean the plan engaged in a listed transaction. Some 412(i) plans have been audited and sanctioned for issues not related to listed transactions.

 

 

Companies should carefully evaluate proposed investments in plans such as the Benistar Plan. The claimed deductions will not be available, and penalties will be assessed for lack of disclosure if the investment is similar to the investments described in Notice 95-34. In addition, under IRC 6707A, IRS fines participants a large amount of money for not properly disclosing their participation in listed, reportable or similar transactions; an issue that was not before the Tax Court in either Curcio or McGehee. The disclosure needs to be made for every year the participant is in a plan. The forms need to be properly filed even for years that no contributions are made. I have received numerous calls from participants who did disclose and still got fined because the forms were not filled in properly. A plan administrator told me that he assisted hundreds of his participants file forms, and they still all received very large IRS fines for not properly filling in the forms.

 

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.

 

 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, lawallach@aol.com or visit www.vebaplan.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.

 

 

The IRS and Treasury have issued major warnings about abusive 419 Plans!  We've been warning about them for some time.

 

 

 


 

On February 28, 2012, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois entered a final judgment of permanent injunction against Tracy L. Sunderlage and related parties concerning the PBT plan and Mavin transactions.  As a result of the court’s order, Tracy Sunderladge and the related parties are required to provide a complete list of PBT/Mavin participants to the Internal Revenue Service.

Tracy Sunderland, Final Judgment on PBT Plan and Mavin Transactions: Complete Participant List

The IRS may assert that participants in the PBT/Mavin transactions are subject to substantial additional income taxes and various penalties for failure to properly report these transactions in accordance with federal laws which require the disclosure of foreign accounts and certain abusive tax avoidance transactions.  Federal tax penalties could be asserted that exceed 50% of the value of the assets held in the PBT/Mavin accounts.

The IRS may consider reducing penalties if participants voluntarily come forward, make disclosure of their PBT/Mavin participation to the IRS and take advantage of the opportunity to settle their federal tax issues before the IRS opens an audit. 

 

 

New Motions Filed in Welfare Benefit Plan Case - NOVA's Latest Attempt to Hide the Truth

Brian M


View Article Summary

IRS Special Agent Shaun Schrader's affidavit in support of a search warrant for NOVA Benefit Plan's offices in Connecticut has been widely circulated and reported. That affidavit is particularly damning for NOVA and apparently NOVA now wants to restrict your right to read it.

On January 31st, NOVA's lawyers filed an Emergency Motion to Seal the affidavit. No ruling has yet been made by the court. NOVA Benefit Plans, Benistar 419 Plan & Trust, Grist Mill Trust, US Benefits Group and others - all players or promoters in welfare benefit and 419 plans - filed the motion.

During the investigation leading up to the raid of NOVA's headquarters, several undercover IRS special agents posed as potential customers. The agents recorded conversations with senior company officials. These officials all but admitted the program was a scam. These recordings are transcribed in part in the search warrant affidavit. Apparently the promoters don't want their clients hearing the truth - the truth that they probably have sunk hundreds of millions of dollars in abusive tax shelters. Investments that NOVA said were legal.

In one conversation, a NOVA representative discussed how easy it was to claim a disability and withdraw one's money from the plan tax-free. He told the undercover agent, "We've never denied a claim… I recently, I don't want to say the client's name, but he went through a minor surgery, had a little-had a mole removed off his elbow I think and left a little scar the size of a pencil eraser, and, you know, that-that qualified."

When discussing the "independent plan trustee" that must approve the claims, a Nova representative is recorded saying, "I, I'm gonna put this very simply for you, we control the trustee, okay, and I, I don't mean that in a bad way. He's independent but he's part of the family and we control the stuff that happens, we have ways to make stuff happen…It's best for us to pay out as much claims so when it times for us to fight this in tax court, we can play and sing the welfare benefit song."

Why NOVA and its progeny now want to silence the truth is baffling. The affidavit has been unsealed for several months and multiple copies exist on the Internet.

Company lawyers have also disclosed in their own filings how 50 "heavily armed" IRS agents raided their offices and carted off a "tractor trailer" full of documents. Not the thing to say if you wish to keep your clients thinking everything is fine.

What are the real reasons for filing the motion? That too is a secret, at least for now. Plaintiff's Emergency Motion to Seal filed January 31st is itself sealed.

Keeping the truth from clients, vendors and the public does not engender trust. It makes it look like the companies and their officers are as guilty as the IRS says they are.

If you purchased or invested in a welfare benefit, contact a qualified tax attorney or CPA well versed in welfare benefit plans. The stakes are very, very high. The attorney or CPA should be able to help you unwind the plan, amend returns and help abate the penalties that will certainly follow. An attorney can also represent you if the matter goes to tax court, if you elect to bring a lawsuit to recover your losses or if you become the target of a criminal investigation.

Penalties can be as high as $100,000 to $200,000 per year for having an unqualified or unreported plan.

 

I do not agree with all of the above, but it should alert those who are in 419 welfare benefit plans.  Lance Wallach comment, Google me for more.

 

 Lance Wallach, CLU, ChFC, CIMC, speaks and writes extensively about financial planning, retirement plans, and tax reduction strategies.  He is an American Institute of CPA’s course developer and instructor and has authored numerous best selling books about abusive tax shelters, IRS crackdowns and attacks and other tax matters. He speaks at more than 20 national conventions annually and writes for more than 50 national publications.  For more information and additional articles on these subjects, visit www.vebaplan.com, www.taxlibrary.us, lawyer4audits.com or call 516-938-5007.



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.

 

 

 

 

Our areas of expertise include:
  • "SADI Trust"
  • "Professional Benefits Trust" PBI
  • "Sea Nine Veba"
  •  Bisys
  •  The "Beta Plan"
  •  The "Millennium Plan"
  •  Benistar
  •  Niche
  •  The "Ridge Plan"
  •  The "Grist Mill Trust"
  •  The "Compass Welfare Benefit Plan"
  • "Section 79 Plans""
  • "Captive Insurance
  •  and other similar 412i "retirement plans" and "419 welfare benefit plans"
  • benistar.suck
  • lancewallack.sucks





 
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Lance Wallach, Consultant & Expert Witness


Lance Wallach, a member of the AICPA faculty of teaching professionals and an AICPA course developer, is a frequent and popular speaker on retirement plans, financial and estate planning, reducing health insurance costs, and tax oriented strategies at accounting and financial planning conventions. 

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 .

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.

 

 

     Grist Mill Trust
        & Nova

 

      The IRS Raids Plan Promoter Benistar, and What Does All This Mean To You?

 

   Articlebase

      Posted: Dec. 9

 

 

       By Lance Wallach

 

Recently IRS raided Benistar, which is also known as the Grist Mill Trust, the promoter and operator of one of the better known and more heavily scrutinized of the Section 419 life insurance plans. IRS attacked the Benistar 419 plan, and one of its tactics was to demand the names of all the clients Benistar worked with — so they could be audited by the IRS, Benistar refused to give the names and actually appealed the decision to turn over the names. The appeal was unsuccessful, but Benistar officials still refused to give up the names. Recently, the IRS raided the Benistar office and took hundreds of boxes of information, which included information on clients who were in their 419 plan. In documents filed by Benistar itself, they stated that 35 to 50 armed IRS agents descended upon their office to seize documents.

IRS has visited, and is still visiting most of the other plans and obtaining names of participants, selling insurance agents, accountants, etc. They have a whole task force devoted to auditing 419, 412i and other abusive plans.

It’s important to understand what could happen to unsuspecting business owners if they get involved in plans that are not above board. Their names could be turned over to the IRS, where audits could ensue, and where the outcome could be the payment of back taxes and significant penalties. Then they would be fined another time under Section 6707A for not properly reporting on themselves.

Most 419 life insurance and 412i defined benefit pension plans were sold to successful business owners as plans with large tax deductions where money would grow tax free until needed in retirement. I would speak at national accounting and other conventions talking about the problems with most of these plans. I would be attacked by some attendees who where making large insurance commissions selling the plans. I would try to warn insurance company home office executives, but they too had their heads in the sand because of all the money these plans brought in. Then the IRS got tough and started fining the unsuspecting business owners hundreds of thousands a year for not reporting on themselves for being in the plan. The agents and insurance companies advise against filing. “This is a good plan. We have approval.” Not only were the business owners fined under IRS Code 6707A, but the insurance agents were also fined $100,000 for not reporting on themselves. Accountants who signed tax returns are even being fined 100,000 by IRS. Then the business owners sue the accountants, insurance agents, etc. I have been following these scenarios for a long time. In fact, I have been an expert witness in many of these cases, and my side has never lost.

Most promoters of 419 plans told clients that their plans complied with the laws and, therefore, were not listed tax transactions. Unfortunately, the IRS doesn’t care what a promoter of a tax-avoidance plan says; it makes its own determination and punishes those who don’t comply.

 

The McGehee Family Clinic, P.A. was recently hit with back taxes and a penalty under Code Sec. 666A in conjunction with a deduction to the Benistar 419 plan

 Dr. McGehee's clinic took a deduction for a 419 plan (the Benistar plan) back in 2005. Eventually, the McGhee Family Clinic was audited. After the audit, the doctor was told that the deduction would be disallowed and that back taxes were due. Additionally, Dr. McGehee was hit with a 20 percent accuracy-related penalty under Code Sec. 6662A. Finally, the tax court sustained the IRS's determination that McGehee was subject to the increased 30 percent penalty, because its return did not include a disclosure statement indicating its participation in the Benistar Trust. I think that in addition to the aforementioned fines, IRS will now fine him, both on a corporate and personal level, another $200,000 or more, under IRC 6707A, for not properly disclosing his participation in a listed transaction. There was a moratorium on those fines until June 2010, pending new legislation to reduce them. 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. So Dr. McGehee's fine would be a total of $300,000 per year for every year that he and his corporation were in the plan.

IRS also says the fine is not appealable. His fine would be in the million-dollar range and it would be in addition to the back taxes, interest, and penalties already discussed earlier in this paragraph.

Legislation just passed slightly reducing those fines, but you still have to properly file to start the Statute of Limitations running to avoid the fines. IRS is fining people who report on themselves, but make a mistake on the forms.  Now that the moratorium on the fines has passed, and so has the new legislation, IRS has aggressively moved to fine unsuspecting business owners hundreds of thousands. This is usually after they get audited, and sometimes reach agreement with IRS. Then another division or department of the IRS imposes a fine under 6707A. I am receiving a lot of phone calls from business owners who this is happening to. Unfortunately, some of these people already had called me. I warned them to properly file under 6707A. Either they did not believe me - it is unbelievable -  or their accountant or tax attorney filed incorrectly. Then they called again after being fined.

If you were involved with one of these abusive plans, there are steps that you can take to minimize IRS problems. With respect to filing under Section 6707A, I know the two best people in the country at filing after the fact, which is what you would be doing at this point, and still somehow avoiding the fine. It is an art that both learned through countless hours of research and numerous conversations with IRS personnel. Both have filed dozens of times for clients, after the fact, without the clients being fined. Either may well still be able to help you.

And the right accountant, one with the proper knowledge, experience, and Service contacts, can help with the other IRS problems as well. I recall a case where a CPA I knew and recommended was able to get $300,000 or so in liabilities reduced to three thousand dollars and change. Do not count on a result like this, but help is available.


It’s not worth it!

Stay away from 419 and similar plans like Section 79 plans. Be very careful with 412i plans. Avoid most captive insurance plans.

It’s getting closer to the end of the year. This is when every scammer known to man/woman comes out of the woodwork to sell some fly-by-night tax-deductible plan to clients. Sometimes they come in the form of an accountant, insurance agent-financial planner, or even an attorney. I see this in all of my expert witness cases and when I speak at conventions. I have seen this since the 1990s. I wanted to remind readers that, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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 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 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.

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.

 

Lance Wallach
68 Keswick Lane
Plainview, NY 11803
Ph.: (516)938-5007
Fax: (516)938-6330
www.vebaplan.com

National Society of Accountants Speaker of The Year



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.

 

Lance Wallach Newsletter July 2011

419, 412i, Captive Insurance and section 79 plans continue to get large IRS fines. 

By Lance Wallach

Life insurance agents recently have started pushing the newest variety of high ticket items. After the IRS has almost put 419 plans out of business and severely curtailed abusive 412i plans they needed another way to sell large commission life insurance policies. Many of the promoters of the 419 and 412i plans are now promoting section 79 and captive insurance plans. They claim that these plans allow businesses to tax deduct life insurance. These promoters as in the past claim, that most of the benefits would be for the business owners. I have been an expert witness in many cases against these abusive plans and my side has never lost a case.

Recently my office has been receiving over fifty calls per month from people that are being threatened with large IRS fines. Most of these people (including CPAs) do not understand why this is happening. These fines are primarily the result of greed. Insurance company, insurance agent, plan promoter and even IRS greed. Insurance companies are always looking for ways to sell large amounts of life insurance. Taxpayers are constantly looking for larger tax deductions. Insurance agents want to earn large life insurance commissions. The IRS has started additional enforcement action against taxpayers and accountants.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.



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.


"
Lance Wallach", Managing Director, is the nation's leading expert on 412i retirement plans, 419 welfare benefit plans, "employee benefit plans", "tax problem" resolution and "IRS audit defense".


Mr. Wallach's team of highly experienced tax attorneys, CPAs and ex IRS agents have helped his clients save hundreds of thousands of dollars successfully.

WIth his expert witness testimony, Lance Wallach's side had never lost a case!!

MORE INFORMATION AT:

WWW.TAXLIBRARY.US
WWW.TAXAUDIT419.COM
WWW.VEBAPLAN.ORG
LISTEDTRANSACTIONS
ReportableTransactions

 

“Grist Mill Trust” “Millennium Plan” “Sterling Benefit Plan” Benistar “SADI Trust” “Beta 419” Bisys “Creative Services Group” “Compass 419” “Niche 419” “Sea Nine Veba” “Lance Wallach” “abusive tax shelter” “abusive tax shelter lawsuit” “6707a lawsuit” “expert witness taxation and finance” “expert witness tax” “expert witness 412i” “expert witness 419 plans” “expert witness tax and insurance” “expert witness insurance fraud” “expert witness 6707a” “sue insurance agent” “insurance agent lawsuit"

 

“Grist Mill Trust lawsuit” “Millennium Plan lawsuit” “Sterling Benefit Plan lawsuit” “Benistar lawsuit” “SADI Trust lawsuit” “Beta 419 lawsuit” “Bisys lawsuit” “Creative Services Group lawsuit” “Compass 419 lawsuit” “Niche 419 lawsuit” “Sea Nine Veba lawsuit”


6707A 

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.

Our tax resolution offices have received calls regarding the following companies or plans: CJA, CJA and Associates

Welfare Benefit Plan 

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service announced today that it has reached an agreement with the Millennium Multiple Employer Welfare Benefit Plan (Millennium Plan).

The Millennium Plan is presently the subject of a bankruptcy proceeding that was filed on June 9, 2010, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Oklahoma (Case No. 10-13528). Under the agreement reached with the IRS and the terms of the Order Confirming Modified Plan dated June 16, 2011, the Millennium Plan will terminate its operations, liquidate its assets and distribute approximately $80 million in assets to individual participants.

The agreement with the IRS resolves certain issues relating to an IRS investigation into the design, marketing, operation and management of the Millennium Plan. The agreement with the IRS also provides a procedure for resolving hundreds of income tax and penalty examinations of employers and employees who participated in the Millennium Plan.  Finally, the agreement with the IRS addresses tax issues relating to the liquidation of the Millennium Plan, including information reporting and income tax withholding requirements.

 

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

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."

 

Why? Well, two reasons are on the payrolls of most small businesses. Though competent and qualified, the attorneys and accountants serving the small business community are not tax specialist. They are general practitioners. Small business attorneys focus mainly on legal matters such as contracts, entity formation and debt collections. Small business accountants wear many hats, such as: handling the books, interacting with the state and federal revenue services, reconciling bank records, preparing quarterly wage reports, etc. They simply don't have the time to spend 50 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, learning the intricacies of the ever changing tax code and applying the tax saving opportunities that lie within it.

 

When it comes to taxes, we have consistently found that most small businesses are merely doing year-end compliance work. Year-end tax compliance is what the IRS requires of a business. Basically, your accountant subtracts your expenses from your revenues, throws in the standard deductions and tells you how much you owe Uncle Sam. Does this sound familiar?

 

Small businesses should, like big businesses, properly structure their organizations to take advantage of the tax code. They should learn the tax reducing opportunities afforded to all businesses, both big and small. Tax Law Associates provides tax expertise that enables the small business owner to legally hold on to a considerably higher percentage of his earnings. 

 

On average, we reduce our clients' tax burdens by 20% to 40%. In fact, if after a complimentary verification of a client's tax disposition, we determine that we cannot reduce his full year tax payout by more than twice our one time fee, we walk away with no obligation to the client. We are so confident in our abilities that we will sign our name to a binding agreement assuring the client those tax savings.

 


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.

 

 

The IRS and Treasury have issued major warnings about abusive 419 Plans!  We've been warning about them for some time.
What you should know about  post retirement...

 Promoted trust arrangements claiming to provide nondiscriminatory post retirement
medical benefits and post-retirement life insurance benefits have
recently come to the attention of the IRS
.. These arrangements, among others,
may be referred to by persons advocating the use of the plans as “single
employer plans” or “419(e) plans.”
To read more click here:
http://wallacharticles1.blogspot.com/2012/05/irs-and-treasury-have-issued-major_01.html

On February 28, 2012, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois entered a final judgment of permanent injunction against Tracy L. Sunderlage and related parties concerning the PBT plan and Mavin transactions.  As a result of the court’s order, Tracy Sunderladge and the related parties are required to provide a complete list of PBT/Mavin participants to the Internal Revenue Service.

Tracy Sunderland, Final Judgment on PBT Plan and Mavin Transactions: Complete Participant List

The IRS may assert that participants in the PBT/Mavin transactions are subject to substantial additional income taxes and various penalties for failure to properly report these transactions in accordance with federal laws which require the disclosure of foreign accounts and certain abusive tax avoidance transactions.  Federal tax penalties could be asserted that exceed 50% of the value of the assets held in the PBT/Mavin accounts.

The IRS may consider reducing penalties if participants voluntarily come forward, make disclosure of their PBT/Mavin participation to the IRS and take advantage of the opportunity to settle their federal tax issues before the IRS opens an audit. 

 

 

Welfare Benefit Plans - Big Risks for Accountants

Brian

 

Tens of thousands of welfare benefit plans are in existence. Some are legitimate but many are not. Unfortunately for taxpayers and their financial advisers, the IRS views all such plans with suspicion. These plans carry big risks for both the participants and the promoters. New enforcement actions by the IRS and civil claims by participants reveal the dangers for accountants as well.

Every year, many accountants sign returns in which their client claims a deduction for a welfare benefit plan. The IRS often considers these plans, created by section 419 of the Internal Revenue Code, to be listed transactions. In addition to the normal tax return disclosures, listed transactions must also be reported on Form 8886. Failure to properly file can lead to penalties of $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for entities. Those penalties are per year!

Accountants must be certain they fully understand what transactions the IRS considers abusive. These transactions include certain 401(k) accelerated deductions, collectively bargained welfare benefit funds (sec. 419a(f)(5)), certain trust arrangements under section 419 and deductions for certain defined benefit plans (sec. 4129i)). It is important to remember that the IRS defines listed transactions to include any transaction that is substantially similar to one of the above.

Accountants can also get caught up in the penalty web if they were a material advisor. If you sign a return taking a deduction for one of these listed plans or if you sold the plan, you could find yourself facing significant penalties of $200,000 or more. (Material advisors must file IRS form 8918.)

Unscrupulous promoters often package their plans with legal opinion letters suggesting that their particular plan is not an abusive tax shelter and that the taxpayer need not comply with the Form 8886 filing requirement. Don't rely on those opinions. A third party opinion is no substitute for proper due diligence and review.

A second trap for unwary accountants is the civil liability they face. Financial planners and promoters market many of these plans. Often they are marketed through seminars. Some promoters offer commissions to lawyers and accountants who refer their clients. Earn a commission or opine on the tax deductibility of the plan and you may find yourself as a defendant in a lawsuit.

Many of these plans not only fail to deliver the promised tax benefits, they are complete scams or are constructed in such a way that taxpayers can't get their money back if circumstances change. When that happens, these same taxpayers will seek any deep pocket they can find. Often that is the accountant.

If a client has already made a contribution and purchased a plan, think long and hard as to whether you should sign the return without a thorough review and all required disclosures. It may be worthwhile to suggest the taxpayer find tax counsel. There is a risk of losing the client, of course, but is the risk worth the potential civil liability and penalties if the plan does not pass IRS muster?

This is interesting accurate article. I have received numerous phone calls from participants in these plans and the IRS is auditing.  For the most up to date information contact Lance Wallach at lancewallach.com or call 516-935-7346

 

COURT CASE:

145 T.C. No. 1 UNITED STATES TAX COURT OUR COUNTRY HOME ENTERPRISES, INC., ET AL., Petitioners v. 1 COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent Docket Nos. 25764-10, 25765-10,
Filed July 13, 2015.


 11520-11, 11521-11, 12744-11, 12745-11, 12746-11. SP is a purported welfare benefit plan consisting of the respective separate plans that each participating employer customizes to apply to its employees alone. SP pays death, medical, and disability benefits with respect to a participating employee to the extent that his or her participating employer selects. Each employer selects the general provisions, the participation requirements, and the



Held, further, Ps are liable for the accuracy-related penalties that R determined under I.R.C. sec. 6662A, to the extent stated. Steven S. Brown, Denis John Conlon, Allen James White, and William G. Sullivan, for petitioners. Angela B. Reynolds, David S. Weiner, and K. Elizabeth Kelly, for respondent. LARO, Judge: These seven cases are before the Court consolidated for purposes of trial, briefing, and opinion. Petitioners petitioned the Court to redetermine the following Federal income tax deficiencies and accuracy-related penalties that respondent determined: 2 Unless otherwise indicated, section references are to the Internal Revenue 2 Code (Code) applicable to the relevant years, Rule references are to the Tax Court Rules of Practice and Procedure, and dollar amounts are rounded to the nearest....

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