The dangers of being "listed" : A warning for 419, 412i, Sec.79 and captive insurance

Accounting Today                                                                                  Lance Wallach

Taxpayers who previously adopted 419, 412i, captive insurance or Section 79 plans are in
big trouble.

In recent years, the IRS has identified many of these arrangements as abusive devices to
funnel tax deductible dollars to shareholders and classified these arrangements as "listed

These plans were sold by insurance agents, financial planners, accountants and attorneys
seeking large life insurance commissions. In general, taxpayers who engage in a "listed
transaction" must report such transaction to the IRS on Form 8886 every year that they
"participate" in the transaction, and you do not necessarily have to make a contribution or
claim a tax deduction to participate. Section 6707A of the Code imposes severe penalties
($200,000 for a business and $100,000 for an individual) for failure to file Form 8886 with respect to a listed transaction.

But you are also in trouble if you file incorrectly.

I have received numerous phone calls from business owners who filed and still got fined. Not only do you have to file Form 8886, but also it has to be prepared correctly. I only know of two people in the United States who have filed these forms properly for clients. They tell me that was after hundreds of hours of research and over fifty phones calls to various IRS personnel.

The filing instructions for Form 8886 presume a timely filing. Most people file late and follow the directions for currently preparing the forms. Then the IRS fines the business owner. The tax court does not have jurisdiction to abate or lower such penalties imposed by the IRS.

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

The moratorium on IRS fines expired on June 1, 2010. The IRS immediately started sending out notices proposing the imposition of Section 6707A penalties along with requests for lengthy extensions of the Statute of Limitation

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, or visit or www.taxlibrary.

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.

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