Professional Services: "
Mr. Wallach's Published Expertise:
IRS Hiring Agents in Abusive Transactions Group
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit www.taxadvisorexperts.org
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
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
Our tax resolution offices have received calls regarding the following companies or plans: CJA, CJA and Associates
68 Keswick LanePlainview, New York 11803
Offshore International Today Aug 2011FBAR Offshore Bank Accounts and Foreign Income Attacked by IRS
Announced February 8, 2011, the IRS 2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI) program is a welcome but conditional amnesty allowing taxpayers with foreign accounts to come clean and get into compliance with the IRS. The program runs through Sept. 9, 2011.
There’s been discussion of “opting out” of the program to take your chances in audit, but it’s a topic fraught with danger. Now, however, there is guidance about opting out of the program that makes much of it transparent. Because of this late date it is recommended that you properly file FBARs and the 90-day request for amnesty extension. This is the first important step. If the forms are not done properly, you will have extensive problems and will not have to think about opting out. If your forms are properly done and filed, then your situation should be discussed with someone who is experienced in these matters.
Under the OVDI, taxpayers are subject to a penalty of 25 percent of the highest aggregate account balance on their undisclosed account(s) between 2003 and 2010. If the value was less than $75,000 at all times during those years, the penalty is only 12.5 percent.
These account balance penalties are in lieu of all other penalties that may apply, including FBAR and offshore-related information return penalties. Plus, participants are required to pay taxes and interest on any monies (such as interest income on foreign accounts) they previously failed to report. Finally, they must pay an accuracy-related penalty equal to 20 percent of the underpayment of tax, plus interest.
Opting out of the program can make sense for some, though it involves taking your chances with an IRS examination. Someone should represent you with extensive experience in this. We always suggest they should at least be a CPA with years of experience in international tax. It’s even better if you use one that was with the international tax division of the IRS for a number of years. The IRS has published a separate guide detailing the rules and procedures for opting out.
Here are some of the rules:
1. IRS Summary. The IRS employee who has been handling your case summarizes it, agreeing or disagreeing with your view of penalties, and listing how extensive an audit he or she recommends.
2. Program Status Report. Before you can opt out, the IRS sends a letter reporting on the status of your disclosure and what you still must submit. If you’ve given enough data, the IRS will calculate what you would owe under the OVDI. You should provide any missing items within 30 days.
3. Taxpayer Submission. Within 20 days, the taxpayer opts out in writing and makes a written case what penalties should apply and why.
4. Central Committee. A Committee of IRS Managers reviews the summary and decides how extensive an audit to conduct. The IRS says “the taxpayer is not to be punished (or rewarded) for opting out.” The Committee also decides whether to assign your case for a normal civil audit or to assign it for a criminal exam.
5. Written Warning. The IRS sends another letter explaining that opting out must be in writing and is irrevocable. You have 20 days thereafter to opt out in writing.
6. Interview? Some audits will include taxpayer interviews.
Bottom Line? The “opt out” procedure is helpful but still a bit daunting. If you are considering it, make sure you get some solid advice from an experienced person who, in my opinion, should have worked for the IRS and is a CPA about the nature of your case. This is just one of the many options that should be discussed with your advisor. There are many other strategies that you may want to utilize. Your advisor should be aware of all your options, and should explain them. If not, consider engaging someone else. Remember, the penalties can be very large, especially if your advisor is not skilled at this. There is even the potential for criminal prosecution. See taxadvisorexpert.com for the latest information in this area or to contact one of our professionals 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, abusive tax shelters, international tax, and other subjects. He writes about FBAR, OVDI, international taxation, captive insurance plans and other topics. He speaks at more than ten conventions annually, writes for more than 50 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 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, email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.taxadvisorexpert.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.
March 12, 2012
The Internal Revenue Service has expanded its "Fresh Start"
initiative to help struggling taxpayers who owe taxes. The following four tips
explain the expanded relief for taxpayers.
Offer in Compromise Under the first round of Fresh
Start in 2011, the IRS expanded the Offer in Compromise (OIC) program to cover
a larger group of struggling taxpayers. An Offer in Compromise is an agreement
between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles the taxpayer’s tax liabilities for
less than the full amount owed.
The IRS recognizes many taxpayers are still struggling to pay their bills so the agency has been working on more common-sense changes to the OIC program to more closely reflect real-world situations.
Generally, an offer will not be accepted if the IRS believes that the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or through a payment agreement. The IRS looks at the taxpayer’s income and assets to make a determination regarding the taxpayer’s ability to pay.
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, , and others. Lance has written numerous books including Protecting Clients 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 Public Radio’s All Things Consideredfrom 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, email@example.com or visit www.taxadvisorexpert.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
Guest Lecturer for:
· Baruch College (Taxes on Tuesdays); Long Island University, C.W. Post Graduate School of Accountancy.
Lance Wallach, Managing Director, is the nation's leading expert on 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 by successfully helping them in lawsuits and IRS audits. 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. He has authored numerous books, including The Team Approach to Tax, Financial and Estate Planning by the AICPA and Wealth Preservation Planning by the National Society of Accountants. His newest books are CPA’s Guide to Life Insurance and CPA’s Guide to Federal and Estate Gift Taxation, published by Bisk CPEasy, and Protecting Clients from Fraud, Incompetence and Scams, published by John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. Mr. Wallach writes for more than 30 publications, including AICPA Planner, Accounting Today, CPA Journal, Enrolled Agents Journal, Financial Planning, Registered Representative, Tax Practitioners Journal, CPA/Law Forum, Employee Benefit News, Health Underwriter, Advisor and the American Medical Association News. Mr. Wallach is listed in Who’s Who in Finance and Industry and has been featured on television and radio financial talk shows.
Associates throughout the United States
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
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
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.
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:
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:
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, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.vebaplan.com.
68 Keswick Lane
Plainview, NY 11803
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.