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Posts Tagged ‘Business’

5 Tax Tips for New Business

Posted by William Byrnes on August 11, 2014


IRS logoIn its summer time Tax Tips 9-2014, the IRS provided 5 tax tips to taxpayers who start a new business during 2014.

1. Business Structure.  The IRS stated that taxpayers should choose the business type for the new business. Some common types of entities include sole proprietorship, partnership, S corporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC) and C corporation (normally just referred to as a ‘corporation’).  The type of business chosen will determine the IRS form(s) that must be used to annually report information and to determine tax owing to the IRS.

2. Business Taxes.  There are four general types of business taxes. They are income tax, self-employment tax, employment tax and excise tax. The type of taxes a business pays usually depends on which type of business the taxpayer chose to set up.

3. Employer Identification Number.  A taxpayer may need to get an EIN for federal tax purposes in order to file the tax form necessary for the business type.

4. Accounting Method.  An accounting method is a set of rules that determine when to report income and expenses. A business must use a consistent method. The two that are most common are the cash method and the accrual method. Under the cash method, income is reported in the year received and expenses are deducted in the year paid.  Under the accrual method, income is reported in the year earn, regardless of when payment was actually made, and expenses are deducted in the year incur, regardless of when paid.

5. Employee Health Care.  The Small Business Health Care Tax Credit helps small businesses and tax-exempt organizations pay for health care coverage they offer their employees.  A small employer is eligible for the credit if it has fewer than 25 employees who work full-time, or a combination of full-time and part-time. Beginning in 2014, the maximum credit is 50 percent of premiums paid for small business employers and 35 percent of premiums paid for small tax-exempt employers, such as charities.

For 2015 and after, employers employing at least a certain number of employees (generally 50 full-time employees or a combination of full-time and part-time employees that is equivalent to 50 full-time employees) will be subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility provision.

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The next hot annuity for clients is ?

Posted by William Byrnes on January 20, 2014


As clients have begun to feel the shifting winds with respect to the general economy, the annuity market is now undergoing its own type of evolution.

While products that tie fluctuations in an annuity’s cash surrender value to prevailing market interest rates may have seemed unacceptably risky to most clients just a few months ago, changes in today’s interest rate environment now have clients flocking to find these features.

Annuities with market value adjustment (MVA) features may be the next hot product for clients looking to beat the return on other conservative investment products, so read the full analysis of this emerging trend by Professor William Byrnes and Robert Bloink at Think Advisor !

ThinkAdvisor.com supports the professional growth and vitality of the Investment Advisory community, from RIAs and wealth managers of all kinds, to independent broker-dealer and wirehouse representatives. We provide unparalleled access to the knowledge, information and critical resources they need to succeed at every stage in their career, including professional development, education and certification, industry news and analysis, reference tools and services, and community networking opportunities.

Posted in Insurance, Pensions, Retirement Planning, Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Entering the Retirement Income Game? What About Universal Life?

Posted by William Byrnes on January 15, 2014


A new product feature has emerged to help clients looking to supplement retirement income or protect against the risk of outliving their assets, and, in an unusual twist, this feature is not attached to an annuity.  Insurance carriers have thrown universal life insurance policies into the retirement income game by offering accelerated benefit riders that make it easier than ever for clients to access the value of their policies.

For clients looking to secure life insurance protection, longevity insurance, and a steady stream of retirement income, these new guaranteed income withdrawal riders could be the perfect solution!

Read the full analysis of Professor William Byrnes and Robert Bloink at Think Advisor !

Professor William Byrnes is a full time academic providing unbiased, informative critique to his readers.  Subscribers of Tax Facts and of National Underwriters receive weekly strategic industry intelligence such as retirement strategies and client case studies.  ThinkAdvisor.com, an industry news site, supports the professional growth and vitality of the Investment Advisory community, from RIAs and wealth managers of all kinds, to independent broker-dealer and wirehouse representatives. We provide unparalleled access to the knowledge, information and critical resources they need to succeed at every stage in their career, including professional development, education and certification, industry news and analysis, reference tools and services, and community networking opportunities.

Posted in Insurance, Retirement Planning, Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Keeping Clients From Double Tax on Their Retirement Income

Posted by William Byrnes on January 6, 2014


For many clients today, post-retirement relocation has become the ultimate goal. Unfortunately, these clients have often failed to consider the state tax implications that may arise when they tap into retirement funds in a new state—a state in which the funds were not actually earned. This type of scenario could result in the client becoming subject to taxation in both the state in which the income was received and the state in which the income was earned—even though the client has relocated—especially in the case of funds received pursuant to a nonqualified deferred compensation plan.

With careful planning, however, the client may be able to use federal rules to avoid taxation…. read the analysis of Professor William Byrnes and Robert Bloink that may apply to your clients-at Think Advisor 1

 

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LTC’s Future Lies in New Crop of Hybrid Products

Posted by William Byrnes on December 30, 2013


When it comes to long-term care coverage, advising risk-adverse clients has historically required a balancing act that many traditional long-term care insurance (LTCI) policies simply are not cut out for. In weighing the need for coverage against the risk of a lost investment, clients frequently decide against obtaining coverage.

Fortunately, changes in the long-term care marketplace have recently inspired a new crop of products that can alleviate some concerns of clients who are already feeling the pinch of a persistently low interest rate economy. While longer lifespans and the ever-increasing cost of care have led to dramatically higher LTCI costs, new asset-based products can allow your clients to obtain affordable coverage on an almost risk-free basis, with features and tax-preferences that will likely tip the scales in favor of coverage for even the most cautious of clients.

Read the analysis of Prof. William Byrnes and Robert Bloink at ThinkAdvisor !

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Court Eases Use of Annuities to Avoid Medicaid Spend-Down

Posted by William Byrnes on December 24, 2013


The winds are finally changing for Medicaid recipients, as evidenced by a recent U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that eases state-imposed restrictions on the use of annuities, reducing the need for your clients to spend down assets in order to become eligible for Medicaid assistance. The 6th Circuit ruling shut down the state’s attack on Medicaid-compliant annuities in this case, ruling in favor of clients who rely upon these annuities to provide sufficient income even if one spouse requires Medicaid assistance to pay for long-term care in a nursing home.

Based on this precedent, your clients may begin to experience a much more favorable Medicaid planning environment as they gain greater flexibility in the purchase timing and beneficiary designation requirements for annuity contracts that escape the Medicaid resource calculation formula, without jeopardizing an unhealthy spouse’s Medicaid eligibility.

Read the full analysis of Professor William Byrnes and Robert Bloink at Think Advisor !

ThinkAdvisor.com supports the professional growth and vitality of the Investment Advisory community, from RIAs and wealth managers of all kinds, to independent broker-dealer and wirehouse representatives. We provide unparalleled access to the knowledge, information and critical resources they need to succeed at every stage in their career, including professional development, education and certification, industry news and analysis, reference tools and services, and community networking opportunities.

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Act Now on End of Year Expiring Tax Breaks: IRA Charitable Rollovers, Bonus Depreciation

Posted by William Byrnes on December 18, 2013


Individual clients may have one final chance to satisfy required minimum distribution (RMD) requirements without increasing taxable income.

Small business clients, on the other hand, should be advised that the time to expand is now, as special expensing and bonus depreciation rules are also set to expire at year’s end.

Regardless of your client’s situation, the list of expiring tax breaks is robust enough to grab everyone’s attention.

Read Professor William Byrnes and Robert Bloink’s end of year planning tips at > Think Advisor <

 

Posted in Taxation | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

NationalUnderwriter.com is celebrating throughout the month of December with two FREE Shipping offers! (No coupon necessary)

Posted by William Byrnes on December 12, 2013


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Health Insurance Providers Fee (or Tax or Penalty, call it what you will) – IRS guidance issued yesterday…

Posted by William Byrnes on November 27, 2013


and it has finally come to pass time … the new health care penalty, tax, fee – whatever it is, to be calculated for businesses.   Perhaps not the best timing considering the rocky roll out.  On the other hand, better to get the bad news 11 months before the next election, when it can be forgotten by the time mail in ballots are sent out.

Notice 2013-76 provides guidance on the health insurance providers fee related to (1) the time and manner for submitting Form 8963, “Report of Health Insurance Provider Information,” (2) the time and manner for notifying covered entities of their preliminary fee calculation, (3) the time and manner for submitting a corrected Form 8963 for the error correction process, and (4) the time for notifying covered entities of their final fee calculation.

For each fee year, the IRS will make a preliminary fee calculation for each covered entity and will notify each covered entity.  The notification will include (1) the covered entity’s allocated fee; (2) the covered entity’s net premiums written for health insurance of United States health risks; (3) the covered entity’s net premiums written for health insurance of United States health risks taken into account after application of § 57.4(a)(4); (4) the aggregate net premiums written for health insurance of United States health risks taken into
account for all covered entities; and (5) instructions for how to submit a corrected Form 8963 to correct any errors through the error correction process.

The information reported on each Form 8963 will be open for public inspection.  This aspect will be very interesting as various groups pull and then post business’ 8963s.

Posted in Compliance | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Using Deferred Annuities to Build Pension Plans for the Next Generation

Posted by William Byrnes on November 13, 2013


The most recent shift in the audience for deferred annuity products may come as a surprise to many advisors who are accustomed to selling these vehicles to older clients in pursuit of secure income late in life. Insurance carriers have taken steps to break free of this typical market, in many cases by changing product cost structures to appeal to an expanded (and much younger) client base.

As a result, advisors need to recognize that this new generation of deferred annuity products can be marketed even to clients who are in their 30s, 40s and 50s, erasing the common perception that most annuity purchasers are those stereo typically risk-adverse clients who have already retired. Younger generations have joined the market for secure income, which should have every advisor asking this question: How young is my next annuity prospect?

Read William Byrnes and Robert Bloink’s analysis of indexed variable annuities and how these product offerings may be attractive for certain of your clients at > http://www.thinkadvisor.com/2013/10/21/using-deferred-annuities-to-build-pension-plans-fo <

 

Posted in Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

U.S. Tightens Scrutiny of Small Businesses Skirting Obamacare Mandate

Posted by William Byrnes on November 6, 2013


The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandate that will require employers with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health coverage for those employees or pay a penalty that can reach $3,000 per employee has many small business clients scrambling to plan for years ahead.  Because independent contractors are not counted toward the 50-employee limit, some small business clients may be tempted to reclassify common law employees as independent contractors to avoid the mandate.

Read Professor William Byrnes and Robert Bloink’s analysis of the issues, challenges, pitfalls and solutions for addressing a business’ future in a world of Obama Care at > Think Advisor <

 

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What Advisors Need to Know About the New Reverse Mortgage Rules

Posted by William Byrnes on November 4, 2013


With the U.S. population aging and more boomers turning to reverse mortgages to fund their retirement, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced major changes to its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program.

The changes, most of which became effective on Sept. 30, are designed to prevent borrowers from tapping into the entire value locked into their homes.  Specifically, new limits have been placed on the amount that borrowers can take out during the first year.

Read Professor William Byrnes and Robert Bloink’s analysis of this issue by clicking to our Think Advisor’s article > ThinkAdvisor <

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Gifting Life Insurance Policies: Not a Simple Matter

Posted by William Byrnes on October 17, 2013


Making a gift of a life insurance policy can prove to be anything but simple for clients who may not know what questions to ask in order to ascertain the potential tax consequences of the transaction. Transferring a policy that is subject to a policy loan can prove even more problematic, even if the transferee is a family member and the transfer is intended entirely as a gift.

Though the rule’s name might suggest otherwise, the transfer for value rule can create a serious tax trap for a client who transfers a life insurance policy, even if nothing tangible actually changes hands in the transaction.   Want to read more?  Open access content at Think Advisor!

Posted in Estate Tax, Insurance, Taxation, Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

May A Proposed Expansion Of Master Limited Partnerships’ (MLPs) Tax Benefits For “Renewable” Energy Lead To America’s Energy Independence?

Posted by William Byrnes on October 8, 2013


As of June 2013, Master Limited Partnerships (“MLPs”) have reached a market capital of $400 billion, with over 100 MLPs traded on major exchanges.[1]  Generally established as LLCs with advantageous partnership flow through tax treatment, MLPs present attractive return vehicles to attract long term capital to the energy extraction, energy transportation (“midstream”), and most recent, energy distribution (“downstream”), markets.  However, MLPs may result in unfavorable tax treatment for investors as well.

The Mertens Federal Income Taxation August 2013 Highlight by William Byrnes, Robert Bloink and Theron West examines the tax issues for MLP investors pre- and post- the 1986 Code, imposed MLP investment restrictions, and gradual relaxation thereof.  The Highlight  concludes with an analysis of the April 2013 legislative bi-partisan proposal, the Master Limited Partnership Parity Act, to extend MLP tax treatment to renewable (“green”) energy, and why this proposal is contentious.

Given the continuing Congressional gridlock over deficit reduction and heightened sensitivity of energy industry tax breaks in light of this, even with bipartisan support, renewable energy lobbyists will probably not realize passage this year.   According to J.P. Morgan, “MLP distribution yields have generated 6-7%, and over the past twenty years, capital growth has totaled approximately 8% annually.[2]  Regardless of whether MLPs eventually are expanded to encourage renewable energy investments, for the time being they present an alternative asset class that has the potential to produce high-yield returns, and therefore high investor interest.[3]

See Mertens Highlights at > WestLaw <

Posted in Tax Policy, Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Whole life — A new asset class to allocate?

Posted by William Byrnes on October 4, 2013


Clients who think they have seen all that whole life insurance has to offer need to take a closer look.  Insurance carriers have taken steps to bring whole life products back to relevance in today’s competitive environment.  In order to compete in a crowded marketplace for insurance products, carriers have developed options to allow clients to transform a traditional whole life policy into a flexible long-term investment product that can provide built-in protection against illness or disability.  Take a look at this entire article on Life Health Pro

If looking for planning tips and client acquisition strategies, feel free to explore National Underwriter Advanced Markets Journal and Main Library 

 

Posted in Insurance, Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Overlooked Obamacare Silver Lining: Savings for Small Businesses

Posted by William Byrnes on October 2, 2013


Your small business clients know that the health insurance exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are coming—and soon—but they may not realize that they create significant benefits for employers in the form of dramatic cost savings above and beyond the current rules governing deductibility of premiums and eligibility for certain tax credits.

Beginning Nov. 1, small business clients will be eligible to sign up online for a specially created Small Business Health Options Program (the SHOP exchange), but clients are unlikely to have realized that the rules of the game have changed with the advent of SHOP.

Read William Byrnes and Robert Bloink’s analysis at Think Advisor

Posted in Compliance, Insurance | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The benefits to clients from the deferred income annuity sales boom

Posted by William Byrnes on September 24, 2013


When it comes to lifetime income planning, clients are always looking for the latest and greatest strategy to ensure that their income needs will be met during retirement.

Deferred income annuities are finally experiencing a dramatic growth spurt in the market, which has motivated insurance carriers to design products with features that allow each product to be tailored to meet the individual client’s needs. As the number of carriers offering deferred income annuities expands, a corresponding boost in client demand is expected — especially when clients discover that they can find the income features they have come to expect from an annuity product, but with a level of flexibility in required contributions and income options unique to the deferred income annuity market.

Read William Byrnes and Robert Bloink’s full analysis of this boom in the sales of deferred income annuities at LifeHealthPro: http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2013/09/11/the-benefits-to-clients-from-the-deferred-income-a

 

Posted in Pensions, Retirement Planning, Uncategorized, Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

DB(k): A 10-Year Retirement Strategy for Business Owners

Posted by William Byrnes on September 19, 2013


Small business clients who have seen their businesses return to profitability following the economic crisis of the past few years may have secured their continued viability, but many have done so at the expense of personal retirement security. As a result, a vast portion of the baby boomer population is now struggling to play catch up. Unfortunately, traditional retirement savings vehicles, with their strict contribution limits, often are not enough to replace years’ worth of lost savings.

For many baby boomer clients who own small businesses, a new strategy that combines a defined benefit plan with elements of a voluntary 401(k) plan can allow the client to save more than 10 times as fast as a traditional plan, with dramatic tax savings that your clients will have to see to believe.

Read William Byrnes’ full analysis at  > Think Advisor <

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Term Life: An better option for clients?

Posted by William Byrnes on September 12, 2013


Advisors who think they know all there is to know about term life insurance might be surprised to learn that these policies are finally being brought up to speed.

Increasing demand for already popular term life policies has insurance companies jumping to differentiate their products in a crowded market. The result is a new generation of term life products that can be customized to meet the needs of an extremely diverse section of the market.

Whether your clients are concerned about covering education costs or providing enhanced benefits in the case of specific accidents, modern term life insurance might be the solution.  … Read this full analysis by William Byrnes at  > LifeHealthPro <

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How to Build Your Own Solution to Long-Term Care Insurance Scarcity

Posted by William Byrnes on September 10, 2013


A basic problem for clients looking for long-term care insurance today is that they simply may not be able to find it. Major carriers have pulled out of the market in the last year, and the policies that remain can be prohibitively expensive and contain strict qualification requirements.

Fortunately, the product market is evolving so that a relatively new method of securing tax-preferred long-term care benefits has emerged. Hybrid annuity products that combine the estate and income planning features of an annuity with the protection of long-term care insurance are becoming increasingly popular among clients looking for replacement insurance.

Read William Byrnes’ analysis of building your own solution to long-term care insurance at > The Law Professor Column of Think Advisor <

 

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Can Clients 1035 an Inherited Annuity?

Posted by William Byrnes on September 6, 2013


2014_tf_on_investments-mAnnuity products are one area in which trends in contract features are constantly changing as insurance companies endeavor to more effectively meet the needs of annuity investors and with the attendant problem that beneficiaries of inherited annuities could end up with antiquated investment products.

This constant evolution of investment trends may have your clients wondering what type of value their annuities will offer beneficiaries after their death. The IRS has just blessed a solution to this planning dilemma by allowing a beneficiary to exchange inherited annuities for another annuity product that more accurately reflects the beneficiary’s investment goals.

Read the complete analysis by William Byrnes and Robert Bloink at > Think Advisor <

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2 New Tax Facts Books Released

Posted by William Byrnes on August 23, 2013


National Underwriters published 2014 editions of Tax Facts books authored by William Byrnes and Robert Bloink of the graduate tax program.

2014 Tax Facts on Investments

2014 Tax Facts on Insurance & Employee Benefits

“We have included a new section on cross border employment and estate tax issues, captive insurance and alternative risk transfer, reverse mortgages, DOMA, as well as the previously expanding sections on ETFs and on precious metals & collectibles,” William Byrnes said.  “Moreover, we hope to soon announce the newest title of Tax Facts addressing entrepreneurs and their small business tax issues.” 

“Tax Facts Books and the Tax Facts Online portal have built strong following of many thousand of financial planning professionals.  I think financial planning professionals relate to National Underwriter’s approach of contextualizing client problems in a Question – Answer format.”

Both publications are now available as e-books, as an alternative or in combination with print.

Posted in book, Retirement Planning, Taxation, Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Reforming Annuities’ Image Problem: New Focus on Risk

Posted by William Byrnes on August 16, 2013


Today’s media coverage of the variable annuity market has focused on company buybacks and modifications to existing clients’ product guarantees—a prospect that has many clients feeling more wary than ever about annuity purchases.

Despite this, insurance companies have used the negative experiences of recent months as motivation to effect positive change in their annuity product offerings by offering clients real flexibility and risk management options.

read William Byrnes and Robert Bloink’s full analysis regarding annuities at > ThinkAdvisor <

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Planning Concept: Traditional Private Annuity in Trust Variation

Posted by William Byrnes on August 14, 2013


Provides an overview of private annuities in relation to financial planning.  Examines a new concept wealth managers are employing for their clients with regards to private annuities and trusts. 

The traditional private annuity is a transaction used by some wealth managers for clients whose circumstances permit. Generally a private annuity transaction occurs where the grantor transfers assets to a third party who pays the grantor an annuity, usually for the life of the grantor.[1]

When a trust is involved with a traditional private annuity, the common transaction may look like this:  “The owner of highly appreciated commercial real estate transfers the property to an irrevocable trust in exchange for the trust’s promise to pay an annuity for life. The present value of the annuity equals the fair market value (‘FMV‘) of the property. The trust then sells the property to a third party for a sale price equal to its FMV.” [2]  For additional discussion on private annuity contracts see National Underwriter Advanced Markets’ Private Annuity [3]

The idea behind wealth managers suggesting similar transactions “is that the original transferor can spread his large capital gain over life expectancy by using the irrevocable trust as an intermediary rather than selling directly to the third party (who is presumably unwilling to do a private annuity).” [4]

There are considerations wealth managers must take into account when discussing private annuities with their clients. These may include valuation methods, arms-length transaction consideration, and incidents of ownership. For a detailed discussion of the tax implications of private annuities, please see Tax Facts Q 41. How are payments received under a private annuity Taxed? [5]

It is often the case that a trustee, although not necessarily, will use “the sale proceeds to insure its annuity obligation by purchasing a commercial immediate annuity.” [6]

Planning Concept:  Some wealth managers have recently begun to structure private annuities for their clients slightly differently than the traditional method discussed above.  Here the idea is a private annuity contract issued from the trust to the grantor who pays valuable consideration for the annuity which carries with it a condition precedent or “contingency”.  The condition on the annuity could be the death of the grantor’s spouse.  The trustee may “reinsure” the risk with the purchase of life insurance from payment of the annuity in the event the condition takes place.[7]  Similar considerations with regards to private annuities should also be considered with private annuities that carry a condition.

In the event the grantor’s spouse does not die in the near future, the premiums paid for the private annuity could generally be considered income to the trust, which may be owned by a second generation.  If the spouse does die in the near future, payment of the annuity would create general gain taxation with a tax-free redemption up to basis. [8]


[1] Manning on Estate Planning. PLIREF-ESTPLN s 5:9, 5-30.  “§ 5:9 The Private Annuity”.

[2] New York Estate Planning. 33 ESTPLN 13.  “Maximizing The Planning Opportunities Of Private Annuities”. 2006.

[3] AUS Main Libraries, Section 2. The Federal Estate Tax, D—Annuities In The Gross Estate.

[4] Id.

[5] Tax Facts Q 41. How are payments received under a private annuity taxed

[6] Id.

[7] 33 ESTPLN 13

[8] PLIREF-ESTPLN s 5:9, 5-30; 26 U.S.C.A. § 1001.

Posted in Insurance, Taxation, Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Employees and Independent Contactors

Posted by William Byrnes on August 9, 2013


Why is this Topic Important to Financial Professionals? Many small business owners are faced with issues surrounding Form 1099 and how the rules apply to their businesses.  

What are some distinctions of the employees versus independent contractors?

An independent contractor, in general, has a majority of control over the details of his job function and only the end result is dictated by the company or individual who hires.  This is what is commonly known as “the degree of behavioral control.”  Another category used by the IRS and the courts to determine the status of an individual as either an employee or independent contractor is “financial control”.  Financial control involves examining the financial relationship between the parties such as reimbursement, and/or if any materials or space has been provided to accomplish the job.  Other relationship factors such as having a contract or agreement between the parties, as well as the terms of any contract, must also be examined in determining the employment status of the individual.

One of the issues that is often overlooked in the area of an employee relationship instead of an independent contractor relationship is that employees have X number of hours to dedicate to employment each week, whether that number is 40, 50, or anything else that an employment agreement might state.  Independent contracts are often not required to expend a set number of hours to accomplish a task, but instead enough hours to accomplish the task.

Another relevant issue to be considered in determining which of the two employment relations exist is that of termination.  An “At-Will” employee can normally be terminated and generally has no cause for a breach of contract and cannot sue for damages.  An independent contractor cannot usually be terminated without a breach of contract.

Tax Distinctions

Taxation of the two dissimilar positions is significantly different.  Independent contractors essentially work for themselves, and the business that pays them is, in effect, a client.  Generally, and independent contractor will file a tax return as a sole proprietor or closely held corporation, such as a Subchapter S Corporation.  An employee is subject to federal income tax withholding and the employer is subject to payroll taxes, included in the general W-2 process.

Independent contractors, like other businesses, recognize revenue and expenses. The independent contractor usually receives a Form 1099 from the source that pays him.  The Code and Regulations state that when a trade or business pays an individual for certain “services” over $600 that a Form 1099 is required to be filed with the Secretary of the Treasury.[1] And just as other businesses realize “legislative graces of Congress,” such as Section 162 deductions, the sole proprietor too may have expenses that generally qualify as trade or business expenses.

For a detailed analysis regarding independent contractors, see Tax Facts Q 814. How are business expenses reported for income tax purposes?


[1] Internal Revenue Code Section (IRC) 6041, Treasury Regulations (TR) 1.6041-1(a)(1)(i), TR 1.6041-1(a)(2).  

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Accounting for Corporations and Limited Liability Companies and How it Relates to Insurance

Posted by William Byrnes on August 7, 2013


Why is this Topic Important to Financial Professionals? Accounting is like a road map of the company’s financial operations.  It is essential to understand the accounting basics and how they relate to small businesses and insurance. 

Accrual or Cash Accounting Methods

Now that the business has been incorporated and is operating, what is required to keep the business accounted for?  The first determination a company must make is determining if the business will account using an accrual or cash system.  An accrual accounting method recognizes revenues and expenses in the period in which they occur whereas a cash accounting method recognizes transactions as they occur.

For example, an accrual taxpayer that performs services will account for income earned when the service is actually provided and not when the actual cash or payment is received.  A cash method of accounting is concerned only when cash is paid out and when paid in.  Expenses follow the same logic.  For example, if a service company that uses the accrual method incurs 500 dollars of phone expenses in December 2010 and the payment is not due until January 2011, the company will still account for the phone expense on its books in 2010 for December’s usage.

Accounting System

Once the business has determined its accounting method, it is ready to keep track of the transactions.  Every accounting system should provide a basic financial statement, income statement, cash flow statement, balance sheet, and statement of owner equity.  Each statement provides a view through a different window into the financial operation of the business.

The income statement is easy to understand.  The top item is revenues and beneath that line expense are deducted to determine the net income.

The cash flow statement is essentially a variation of the income statement.  However the cash flow statement will show the ability of the business to operate on a periodic basis given the ins and outs of cash payments.

The balance sheet will tell the financial planner what the business is comprised of.  Most accountants refer to the balance sheet as a snapshot of the business at any particular moment of time.  From it we can see what assets the business holds and how much money it owes others.

Lastly, the statement of owner’s equity shows how the business is owned and financed.

Financial Statements and Insurance

Properly kept financial statement can help ensure easier access to capital as well as give a truer understanding of the business’ financial position.  The financial statements are commonly used in the risk management processes including when insurance is purchased on a key man.  Small businesses are especially sensitive to this risk and keeping accurate books can help insurance agents and underwriters determine among other factors the insurance needs of the operation.

Key man insurance and buy-sell agreements are generally based on some total dollar amount that represents the value of the business.  This figure is usually based on some number that is related to the financial statements and accounting of the business.  Whether it’s the total assets, a factor of revenue or income, or some other determination, the need for a basic knowledge of financial accounting for small business is essential.

For a detailed analysis on business valuation and how it relates to buy sell agreements see AUS Main Libraries, Section 11 F—Insurance Needs Revealed In Financial Statements.

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Limited Liability Companies: A New Best Friend

Posted by William Byrnes on August 5, 2013


Why is this Topic Important to Financial Professionals?  Look in most local business journals that report on the formation of new business entities and you will see 95% of new businesses are formed as an “L.L.C.”  This company structure is the primary one for entrepreneurs, professionals, and small businesses.  However, after twenty years of significant usage, many questions about this form of entity are still novel.  The financial professional should be able to explain to a client the basics of the Limited Liability Company.

What is an LLC?

Limited Liability Companies (commonly called “LLCs”) are state statute sanctioned legal business entities.  The business entity is similar to a limited liability partnership except that it has members and not partners (no need for general partners).  Moreover, some states allow for only one member, known as a single-member LLC, an option not available in partnership entities that require at least two partners.  The members can be persons but may be other business entities, such that an LLC can be a member of another LLC.

The LLC can be established and managed so as to offer the benefits of a corporation such as limited liability and continuation after a member’s death, but without the impact of corporate taxation.

What is the benefit of an LLC?

The LLC properly managed provides for the protection of personal financially liability in connection with the business liability.  Proper management generally includes following the annual requirements of corporation law, such as holding an annual directors and members meeting, and recording corporate minute (this will be discussed in future blogticles).

Additionally, the LLC avoids double taxation because of it can elect to be a “pass-through” entity for federal and state tax purposes – like a partnership or a sole-proprietorship is treated.

Also, most LLCs do not have a restriction on the number of members as S-Corps have (albeit rarely will the number of members or shareholders be an issue for a financial professional’s client).  To learn more details and nuances of each business structure see the AUS Main Section 10. Basics Of Business Insurance, A—Forms Of Business Organization.  More detail on LLCs specifically is provided in AUS Main Section 14.1, I—The Limited Liability Company (LLC).

 

What are some limitations of the LLC?

Aside from the fact that LLCs have essentially developed as a hybrid of older forms of business organizations, and are relatively new in the history of corporation law.  The LLC is not a corporation in the traditional sense of the word.

Sometimes businesses start as an LLC but expand to a point of eventually considering receiving outside equity with the goal of a public offering such as listing on a stock exchange.  The LLC is not suitable for “going public”.  Thus at the stage of soliciting equity investment for a business a client may have outgrown the LLC and should convert into a C-Corporation (a topic that will be addressed in a future blogticle).

The Federal Government allows the business owner(s) of the LLC to choose how the LLC will be characterized for tax purposes.  The LLC may be taxed as a Corporation (both Subchapter C and S), partnership or sole-proprietorship. This process is generally referred to as “Check the Box”.[1] The IRS Check the Box Form is Number 8832[2] and the business owners literally check one of the included boxes on that form and then file the corresponding tax returns.

What are some other uses of LLCs?

LLCs are used in many transactions by high-net worth client.  Sometimes clients use an LLC in place of a trust in the irrevocable life insurance trust (commonly called an “ILIT”) structure.  By example, in a situation where a client wants less restriction on the direction of the assets of the vehicle, the LLC is a more popular choice than the ILIT.  As a result, the LLC has become a common tool for the financial planner.  A detailed discussion of one of these transactions is examined in the AUS Main Section 14.1, I-The Limited Liability Company (LLC). “LLC as an Alternative to a Life Insurance Trust”.

For a detailed analysis of the tax and non-tax Advantages of a Close Corporation see AdvisorFX Main Library Section 14. Close Corporations I—The Limited Liability Company (LLC) http://www.advisorfx.com/articles/f14_1_2_2080.aspx?action=13

Tomorrow’s blogticle will address Accounting for Corporations and Limited Liability Companies and How it Relates to Insurance.


[1] Treasury Regulations Section §301.7701-3.

 

[2] Internal Revenue Service Form 8832, http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8832.pdf.

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SEC comments muddy the waters in fiduciary standard debate

Posted by William Byrnes on July 29, 2013


The debate over the fiduciary standard that will become applicable to many financial professionals may be coming to a head as the looming deadline for comments on SEC proposals has motivated some advisors to express disapproval over a perceived weakening of the potential standard. Because a heightened fiduciary standard could increase advisors’ compliance costs, while simultaneously increasing consumer confidence in the quality of their advice, it is critical that advisors know the rules of the game.

Recent indications that the SEC may deviate from its previously expressed intent to expand the traditional standard applicable to investment advisors, however, represent a curveball for advisors who are not currently subject to a strict fiduciary standard; the outcome once again seems up for grabs.

Today’s bifurcated approach to fiduciary regulation

read the full analysis at LifeHealthPro – http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2013/07/01/sec-comments-muddy-the-waters-in-fiduciary-standar

 

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The Value of Variable Life Insurance: Surrender Charges and Fair Market Value

Posted by William Byrnes on July 25, 2013


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently affirmed the Tax Court’s position on the use of surrender charges in the valuation equation when a nonqualified employee benefit plan that holds a life insurance policy distributes that policy to a taxpayer upon winding up of the plan.

When these life insurance policies are distributed to the taxpayer-employees under such a plan, the taxpayers are responsible for paying taxes on the value of the policies. According to the IRS, the policy value equals the cash value of the policy without regard to any surrender charges. So what do your clients have to include in income if the actual cash surrender value of their life insurance policy is negative?

The Facts

Read the full analysis at ThinkAdvisor – http://www.thinkadvisor.com/2013/05/28/the-value-of-variable-life-insurance-surrender-cha

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In Medicaid Planning, Don’t Surrender Life Insurance—Trade It for LTC Instead

Posted by William Byrnes on July 23, 2013


Your clients who are nearing retirement age might often wonder why they bother maintaining the life insurance policies they have funded for years. With children grown, the need to provide for beneficiaries in the event of an untimely death has already been eliminated. Further, these policies are considered assets that can have a significant impact when determining Medicaid eligibility.

Despite this, recent proposals in several states can give older clients a reason to maintain their policies and provide peace of mind in Medicaid planning. Under these proposals, ownership of a life insurance policy can actually help clients in long-term care planning as more state Medicaid offices embrace the use of life settlements in conjunction with Medicaid coverage.

The Proposals

read the full analysis at ThinkAdvisor http://www.thinkadvisor.com/2013/06/03/in-medicaid-planning-dont-surrender-life-insurance

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Fully Funded Retirement in 10 Years: A DB Plan for Now

Posted by William Byrnes on December 17, 2012


Your small business clients are faced with the increasing likelihood of higher taxes in 2013 and beyond; those aiming to reduce the slope of the fiscal cliff next year will want to take a closer look at the benefits of a defined benefit plan. …. read our strategy article at http://www.advisorone.com/2012/12/13/fully-funded-retirement-in-10-years-a-db-plan-for

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The life insurance fiscal cliff: The end of a tax-preferred product class?

Posted by William Byrnes on December 7, 2012


Clients today assume that the tax-free status of life insurance is a given and may have even engaged in fiscal cliff planning that involves the purchase of life insurance to provide a source of tax-free investment income. Given today’s political climate, it is important for clients to realize that no tax preference is safe and that the tax benefits they have come to expect from life insurance are no exception.

read this article at Life Health Pro e-zine

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the new tax strategies book “2013 Tax Facts on Investments” just released

Posted by William Byrnes on December 5, 2012


2013 Tax Facts on Investments in PRINT and E-Book format 2013_tf_on_investments_cover-m_2provides clear, concise answers to often complex tax questions concerning investments. Pertinent planning points are provided throughout.

Organized in a convenient Q&A format to speed you to the information you need, 2013 Tax Facts on Investments delivers the latest guidance on:

  • Mutual Funds, Unit Trusts, REITs
  • Incentive Stock Options
  • Options & Futures
  • Real Estate
  • Stocks, Bonds
  • Oil & Gas
  • Precious Metals & Collectibles
  • And much more!

Key updates for 2013:

  • New section on captive insurance
  • New section on reverse mortgages
  • Expanded section on ETFs
  • Expanded section on precious metals & collectibles
  • More than 30 new Planning Points, written by practitioners for practitioners, in the following areas:
    • Real Estate
    • Limited Partnerships
    • Stocks
    • Interest and Expenses
    • Options
    • Mutual Funds

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Business Transactions and Contract Drafting courses for Indians

Posted by William Byrnes on May 11, 2012


Business Transactions and Contract Drafting courses for India
distance learning and then 3 weeks, about 90 classroom training hours in San Diego on campus

- (International) Contract Drafting

- Business Transactional Law
– Legal Research and Writing

Individualized and group practical case studies with feedback

Contact William Byrnes wbyrnes@tjsl.edu
Or see the law school website for more information http://www.tjsl.edu/graduate/leep

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Battle Brewing Over Employments Status of Financial Advisors

Posted by William Byrnes on February 7, 2012


Are you an employee or independent contractor of your firm? If you’re doing business in California and get the classification wrong, you could be in for criminal charges and up to a $25,000 fine.

California State Bill 459—which would impose strict recordkeeping requirements and severe penalties on firms that misclassify employees as independent contractors—passed the state senate on June 2. The bill moved to the Assembly and went on to a hearing at the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment two weeks later. The bill is expected to come to a vote in the Assembly later this summer.

Under the bill, firms that mischaracterize employees as independent contractors can be subject to fines of up to $25,000. They also will be required to keep records verifying independent contractor status for at least two years or face a fine of $500 per employee and misdemeanor criminal charges.

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For in-depth analysis of income taxation, see Advisor’s Main Library: Income Taxes.

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Domestic Asset Protection Trusts: Equal to Their Offshore Brethren?

Posted by William Byrnes on February 2, 2012


The Domestic Asset Protection Trust (DAPT) is the onshore response to concerns surrounding offshore asset protection vehicles, but are the onshore and offshore varieties of asset protection equivalent? Despite the surface similarities between DAPTs and asset protection vehicles based in the Caribbean and other offshore hotspots, the degree of creditor protection offered by them can be very different.

After a brief discussion of the history of DAPTs, this article examines the battle tactics used by creditors to break DAPTs and access trust assets.

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of DAPTs in Advisor’s Journal, see Domestic Asset Protection Trusts: New Chart Ranks the States (CC 10-30) & The Spendthrift Clause (CC 09-32).

For in-depth analysis of DAPTs, see Advisor’s Main Library: G—Domestic Asset Protection Trusts.

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FINRA Sets Regulatory Sights on Structured Products

Posted by William Byrnes on January 11, 2012


The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is targeting structured products over concerns about unsuitable sales to retail customers. In an exclusive interview with AdvisorOne (a Summit Business Media product) Bradley Bennett, enforcement chief at FINRA, said that the agency’s caseload on the recent financial crisis has eased up, and the agency is ready to renew its focus on structured products.

Structured products are often marketed to retail customers without an adequate explanation of their associated risks.  “They purport to give the alchemy of lowering risk while increasing yield,” Bennett said, “but the risk needs to be explained” both to the broker-dealer’s “sales force and customers, and be suitable given the customer’s financial circumstances.”

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of structured products in Advisor’s Journal, see SEC Warns Investors about Principal Protected Notes (CC 11-117).

For in-depth analysis of structured products, see Advisor’s Main Library: 7774. What is a structured product? How are structured products taxed?

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Advisors are from Mars, Clients are from Venus

Posted by William Byrnes on January 3, 2012


You’ve been on a few “dates,” and you talk on the phone every couple weeks, but how well do your prospects and existing clients know you and understand your core personal investing philosophy? Small talk breaks down barriers and common interests keep the conversation moving, but taking the advisor-client relationship to the next level takes some work—and a lot of research. A recent survey gives us a head start by elucidating the communication divide that holds many advisors back from taking the big plunge with their prospects.

The survey found that HNW clients favor electronic communication media more than their advisors. Twice as many millionaires than advisors would like to use technology-enabled media—smart phone applications and social media. While 85% of millionaires are willing to communicate through social-media, e-mail, and text messages, only 43% of brokers and financial advisors share that willingness. And your millionaire clients are also more likely to use LinkedIn than you are (28% to 16%). And a third of millionaires already use social media in general as part of their professional life.

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For other client development discussions in Advisor’s Journal, see Advisors’ Stairsteps of Influence (CC 11-49), Getting Your Feet Wet in the Social Media Market (CC 11-79) & Are Portfolios-To-Go Threatening Your Business? (CC 11-77).

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Annuities: They Get No Respect

Posted by William Byrnes on November 17, 2011


We are all aware that annuities have a bad reputation in the media: High fees, high-pressure sales, and unsuitability are the predominating themes.

A recent Securities Litigation & Consulting Group white paper summarizes  the sentiments of the anti-annuity press, commenting that, “[a]nnuities stand out as the investment are most likely to be unsuitable since in virtually every instance, the investor would have been better served by mutual fund or a portfolio of individual stocks.”

Annuities are neither inherently “good” nor “bad.” It follows that rational evaluation of annuities can’t be conducted in a bubble—it must focus on their application.  Herein lays their value and the coup de grâce the industry and individual producers have been awaiting.

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of annuities in Advisor’s Journal, see How Much to Allocate to Annuities: A Critical Analysis (CC 11-109).

For in-depth analysis of the income taxation of annuities, see Advisor’s Main Library: Section 19.2 Income Taxation of Annuities.

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SEC Warns Investors about Principal Protected Notes

Posted by William Byrnes on November 3, 2011


In a low-interest rate world, high-yield investments offering principal protection are enticing to investors. But the complexity of some high-end investment products has the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) warning investors to look before they leap.

In an alert titled Structured Notes with Principal Protection: Note the Terms of Your Investment, the regulators warn investors that these structured products may not be what they seem. Although they are marketed under a variety of names with a “principal protection” component—e.g. “absolute return” and “minimum return”—the true extent of their safety is never obvious . Investors need to read the fine print to decide whether they are suitable for their investing needs and risk tolerance.

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

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What Next? ILITs & Estates under 5MM

Posted by William Byrnes on October 26, 2011


Life insurance is a common tool for ensuring estates have adequate liquidity to pay estate expenses and taxes. But recent changes to the estate tax have some people questioning whether the high premiums they’re paying are worth it when their estates are no longer likely to be hit by the estate tax.

With a $5 million exclusion amount and brand-new exclusion portability provisions, far fewer households have to deal with the federal estate tax. But is allowing unneeded life insurance to lapse the best solution?

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of life insurance valuation in Advisor’s Journal, see Relative Policy Value of Life Insurance (CC 11-57).

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How Much to Allocate to Annuities: A Critical Analysis

Posted by William Byrnes on October 4, 2011


A commonly known characteristic of annuities is providing retirees retirement income security. However, a more complicated aspect is deciding exactly how much of a retiree’s nest egg should be allocated to an annuity to reduce the person’s probability of outliving their retirement income.

The Employee Benefits Research Institute takes some of the guesswork out of allocation in a study released this month. The study analyzes the impact of longevity and immediate annuities on retirement income adequacy. The study finds that the “optimal level of annuitization and asset allocation that would give a desired level of confidence that people will have enough retirement income, based on the three different types of risk: investment income, longevity, and long-term care.”

The study’s results offer a prescient guide for advisors looking to maximize their client’s retirement success through annuities. Although parts of the study are quite technical, briefly reviewing the results can be enlightening.

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of annuities in Advisor’s Journal, see Drama Over the “Drawbacks” of Annuities (CC 11-62).

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Court Holds that STOLI Law Isn’t Retroactive

Posted by William Byrnes on October 3, 2011


A stranger-owned life insurance promoter won a big victory when the California Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that California’s 2009 anti-STOLI law does not apply to policies issued before the statue was enacted.

The ruling was issued by the 4th Appellate District in an appeal on the case: The Lincoln Life and Annuity Company of New York vs. Jonathan S. Berck, as Trustee, etc, Case No. D056373 (17 May 2011).

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of STOLI cases in Advisor’s Journal, see STOLI Scheme Lands Insurance Agent in Jail (CC 11-92).

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Tax Court Confirms that Surrender Charges Reduce Value of Life Insurance Policy

Posted by William Byrnes on September 30, 2011


The Tax Court recently determined that the fair market value (FMV) of a life insurance policy distributed by a terminated 419 welfare benefit plan is reduced by surrender charges. [Lowe v. C.I.R., T.C. Memo. 2011-106 (2011)].

This ruling strengthens the Tax Court’s position on surrender charges that was enunciated in Schwab v. Commissioner [Michael P. Schwab et ux. v. C.I.R., 136 T.C. No. 6 (2011)]. The IRS continues to challenge taxpayers who apply surrender charges to reduce or eliminate their tax liability when a policy is distributed to them by a welfare benefit plan. However, this ruling adds another degree of certainty to the FMV calculation.

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of Tax Court rulings in Advisor’s Journal, see Tax Court Revives Partnership Self-Employment Tax Debate (CC 11-56).

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Pensions Turn to Death Bonds

Posted by William Byrnes on September 28, 2011


It’s a given that most of us want to extend our lives as long as possible. But our ever-increasing life spans can financially strain pension funds and others that are contingent upon us dying to keep their books balanced.

Pension funds face severe longevity risk. If pensioners live longer than expected, payouts from the funds could eclipse the estimated cost of keeping the funds stable. Worldwide, $17 trillion of pension funds – $23 trillion in assets – is exposed to longevity risk.

But the big banks—including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Deustsche Bank—are coming to the rescue by packaging that longevity risk and selling it to investors; and they’re counting on investors being interested in gambling on death.

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of life insurance contracts in Advisor’s Journal, see IRS Guidance Provides Safe Harbor for Policies Maturing After Age 100 (CC 10-51).

For in-depth analysis of pension plans and other qualified employee plans, see Advisor’s Main Library: O – ERISA – FAQs.

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Is the Contestability Period a Shield or a Sword in STOLI Disputes?

Posted by William Byrnes on September 12, 2011


Should insurance applicants and third-party investors be allowed to make material representations when applying for life insurance, if they can manage to hide misdeeds for at least two years? The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York thinks so.

In the latest STOLI case coming out of the federal courts, judge and jury discussed whether blatant fraud on a life insurance policy application is actionable to invalidate a policy after the contestability period has passed. The jury and court held for the investor in the $5 million case.

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of STOLI in Advisor’s Journal, see STOLI Scheme Lands Insurance Agent in Jail (CC 11-92), New York Court of Appeals Upholds STOLI Arrangement (CC 10-106), & Recent STOLI Case Is a Big Win for Insurers (CC 10-59).

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Pensions Turn to Death Bonds

Posted by William Byrnes on September 8, 2011


It’s a given that most of us want to continue living as long as possible.  Exercising, eating healthy, and taking every precaution available to extend the gift of life to its limits. Nevertheless, even living a longer life is not exempt from the foreseeable strains it creates financially. Increasing life spans can create problems for pension funds and others that depend on us dying to keep their books balanced.

Pension funds are exposed to severe longevity risk. If pensioners live longer than expected, payouts from the funds could exceed the estimated cost of keeping the funds solvent. Worldwide, $17 trillion of pension funds – $23 trillion in assets – is exposed to longevity risk.

But the big banks—including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Deustsche Bank—are coming to the rescue by packaging that longevity risk and selling it to investors; and they’re counting on investors being interested in wagering on your death.

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of life insurance contracts in Advisor’s Journal, see IRS Guidance Provides Safe Harbor for Policies Maturing After Age 100 (CC 10-51).

For in-depth analysis of pension plans and other qualified employee plans, see Advisor’s Main Library: O – ERISA – FAQs.

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FINRA Changes the Rules on How Low-Price Equities Are Traded

Posted by William Byrnes on September 7, 2011


The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) has issued a regulatory notice addressing price volatility concerns associated with low-priced equity securities in customer margin and firm proprietary accounts. The notice advises that special attention be given to low-priced equity securities; price volatility is usually associated with low-priced equities because they are inherently volatile.

But what does FINRA consider a“low-price equity,” and what is the impact for you and your clients?

FINRA advises firms to weigh the risks that come with low-priced equity securities before extending credit in strategy-based or portfolio margin accounts. FINRA cautions firms to consider “volatility and concentrated positions in a single customer account and across all customer accounts, as well as the daily volume and market capitalization of each security when imposing ‘house’ maintenance margin requirements.”

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of FINRA-issued guidance in Advisor’s Journal, see Getting Your Feet Wet in the Social Media Market (CC 11-79) & SEC Says “Not So Fast” to Advisor Social Media Marketing (CC 11-40).

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