Typically, these transactions will include an Insurance company, accountant, tax attorney, and a promoter (someone with an insurance background, perhaps an actuary, who knows how to structure the policy itself). These groups will use insurance brokerages and sub-agents (licensed in the various states) to sell the policies themselves.
AMERICAN GENERAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY® INDIANAPOLIS LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY®
HARTFORD LIFE AND ANNUITY INSURANCE COMPANY® PACIFIC LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY®
BANKERS LIFE and OTHERS®?
4121iHOW THESE PLANS WORK:
In the late 1990’s, the individuals and groups above devised a scheme to sell abusive tax shelters under the auspices of Section 412(i) of the tax code. A 412(i) is a defined benefit pension plan. It provides specific retirement benefits to participants once they reach retirement and must contain assets sufficient to pay those benefits. A 412(i) plan differs from other defined benefit pension plans in that it must be funded exclusively by the purchase of individual life insurance products. To create a 412(i) plan, there must be a trust to hold the assets. The employer funds the plan by making cash contributions to the trust, and the Code allows the employer to take a tax deduction in the amount of the contributions, i.e. the entire amount.
The trust uses the contributed funds to purchase some combination of life insurance products (insurance or annuities) for the plan. As the plan participants retire, the trust will usually sell the policies for their present cash value and purchase annuities with the proceeds. The revenue stream from the annuities pays the specified retirement benefit to plan participants.
These defendants (with the aid and knowledge of the insurance companies) used the traditional structure and sold life insurance policies with excessively high premiums. The trust then uses the large cash contributions to pay high insurance premiums and the employer takes a deduction for the sum of those large contributions. As you might expect, these policies were designed with excessively high fees or “loads” which provided exorbitant commissions to the insurance companies and the agents who sold the products.
The policies that were sold were termed Springing Cash Value Policies. They had no cash value for the first 5-7 years, after which they had significant cash value. Under this scheme, after 5-7 years, and just before the cash value sprung, the participant purchases the policy from the trust for the policy’s surrender value. In theory, you have a tax free transaction.
The IRS does not recognize the tax benefit of such a plan and has repeatedly issued announcements indicating that such plans are contrary to federal tax laws and regulations.
I am not an attorney but I learned some of the above information from attorney’s Mr. Ford’s website.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org 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.