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William Byrnes (Texas A&M) tax & compliance articles

Archive for the ‘Retirement Planning’ Category

Tax Court Calculates FMV of Policies Distributed from Terminated 419 Plan

Posted by William Byrnes on March 31, 2011


The Tax Court recently calculated the fair market value (“FMV”) of life insurance policies distributed by a terminated 419 welfare benefit plan. The FMV of the policies—which must be included in the taxpayers’ income—was determined by the court based on: (1) surrender charges, (2) conditions imposed on the taxpayers by the insurance company, and (3) “paid-up insurance coverage remaining on the policies as of the date of distribution.”  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 policy valuation in Advisor’s Journal, see Tax Courts Holds Employee Taxable for Value of Life Insurance Owned by Welfare-Benefit Plan (CC 11-14).

For in-depth analysis of welfare benefits plans, see Advisor’s Main Library: B—Welfare Benefit Funds.

 

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Deductibility of Welfare Benefit Plan Contributions (Section 419)

Posted by William Byrnes on March 18, 2011


Company is an accrual basis fiscal year taxpayer.  Company pays severance benefits in its discretion on an ad hoc basis, and vacation benefits pursuant to its established policy.

Historically, Company has paid both severance and vacation pay from its general assets.  Due to a decline in the Market over the past few years, Company has paid significant severance and expects to continue to pay additional severance over the next few years.  Effective Jan 1, 2009 Company established Trust to pay this anticipated severance and vacation pay.  Trust intends to submit an application for recognition of exempt status in 2010.  On 1/1/2009 Company contributed over $1,000,000 to the Trust and deducted that amount on its tax return for 2009.  Company indicates that beginning in 2010, Company will make payments for vacation and severance and will seek reimbursement from the Trust.

Company computed the amount deducted based on the limitation set forth in the Code.

Company has not provided any information documenting any severance claims incurred in 2009 that it expects to pay in 2010.  Company indicates that because the Trust was established “to pay severance that they anticipate they will have to pay over the next few years …”, and because the amount deducted is within the limit set forth in the Code that the deduction is proper.  Read the analysis at AdvisorFYI

 

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Tax Courts Holds Employee Taxable for Value of Life Insurance Owned by Welfare-Benefit Plan

Posted by William Byrnes on February 18, 2011


A recent Tax Court case demonstrates the severe tax consequences for an employee when a welfare-benefit plan ceases to qualify under section 419A of the Tax Code.  Section 419A governs “qualified asset accounts,” which are employer provided welfare-benefits plans that set aside funds for (1) disability benefits, (2) medical benefits, (3) severance benefits, or (4) life insurance benefits. In general, contributions by an employer to a welfare-benefit plan are tax deductible by the employer if they are ordinary and necessary business expenses. In the case, part of the funds contributed to the plan were used to buy life insurance coverage for the principal and other employees, with the rest of the funds constituting excess contributions. 

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).

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Retirement Plan Approved and Prohibited Investments

Posted by William Byrnes on February 15, 2011


Why is this Topic Important to Wealth Managers? Discusses retirement plan investments with regards to client retirement planning.  Provides types of investments retirement plans can and cannot make.

What types of investments can a retirement plan make?

Although there is no list of approved investments for retirement plans, there are special rules contained in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) that apply to retirement plan investments.

In general, a plan sponsor or plan administrator of a qualified plan who acts in a fiduciary capacity is required, in investing plan assets, to exercise the judgment that a prudent investor would use in investing for his or her own retirement.

In addition, certain rules apply to specific plan types.  For example, there are different limits on the amount of employer stock and employer real property that a qualified plan can hold, depending on whether the plan is a defined benefit plan, a 401(k) plan, or another kind of qualified plan.

Read the entire analysis at AdvisorFYI.

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Enhancing Executive Compensation: 162 Bonus Plans

Posted by William Byrnes on December 31, 2010


An employer who does not want to, or cannot, institute a qualified pension or profit-sharing plan, or who does not want to extend benefits to all of its full-time employees, can use a “Section 162 plan” to meet its executive compensation needs.   A Section 162 plan leverages life insurance to provide supplemental compensation to select employees while also allowing the employer to take an income tax deduction for the premium payments.

In a Section 162 plan, an employer applies for, and pays premiums on, a life insurance policy on its employee’s life. The employee, however, owns the policy and has the right to appoint beneficiaries; the employer does not take an interest in the policy’s death benefit.

As an example of Section 162 plan and its tax advantages, … read this complete article 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 Section 162 plans, see Advisor’s Main Library: Section 15 C—Executive Bonus – I.R.C. �162 Plan

We invite your questions and comments by posting them below or by calling the Panel of Experts.

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