Forensic, General & Medical
Expert Witnesses

Section 79


     By Lance Wallach, CLU, CHFC Abusive Tax Shelter, Listed Transaction, Reportable Transaction Expert Witness

PhoneCall Lance Wallach at (516) 938-5007


For businesses with 10 or fewer employees, the law prohibits full medical underwriting of the policies that are issued ("group" underwriting is required, which is much more risky for an insurance company).
Beginning this article, I wanted to reiterate my comments on implementing plans with fewer than 10 employees.

Amazingly, one of the insurance companies offering this plan seemly doesn't have the ability to issue non-medical underwriting policies. This is laughable and pathetic all at the same time, and a plan you'll want to stay far away from.

As I briefly alluded to in my previous article, one of the reasons I really do not like Section 79 plans is that they basically force employers and those helping them set up Section 79 plans to lie to the employees when implementing the plan.

Non-discrimination

Section 79 plans are employee benefits plans. As such, employers are not supposed to discriminate in favor of key employees or business owners.

As you know, Section 79 plans are implemented so business owners can take a business deduction for the purchase of an individually owned life insurance policy that the owner can borrow from tax free in retirement.

It sounds great until you break down the math and understand that a client would be better off paying taxes on his/her money, taking it home, and funding a good cash value life policy rather than the low cash accumulation Section 79 Plan policy.

Notwithstanding the math behind Section 79 plans, let's talk about the benefits for employees. The employee owner is going to buy a "permanent" policy that will carry cash and can be borrowed from tax free in retirement.

That same policy must be offered to all employees. If that actually happened in a full-disclosure manner, virtually all the employees would opt for the same permanent policy; and if that happened, the finances of the plan would really go out the window because of the tremendous costs for the employees.

How do you "work around" this issue?

The work around of this issue is a bit clever and deceptive. The employees will be scared into voluntarily opting for $50,000 of term insurance instead of the full-benefit policy (term or permanent).

Why would an employee opt for $50,000 in term instead of a policy with several hundred thousands of dollars or even millions of dollars in death benefits? Because employees who are provided death benefits by an employer in excess of $50,000 are taxed on the additional benefit on an annual basis (and it increases every year).
beginning this article, I wanted to reiterate my comments on implementing plans with fewer than 10 employees

Group underwriting for businesses of 10 employees or less

For businesses with 10 or fewer employees, the law prohibits full medical underwriting of the policies that are issued ("group" underwriting is required, which is much more risky for an insurance company). Amazingly, one of the insurance companies offering this plan seemly doesn't have the ability to issue non-medical underwriting policies. This is laughable and pathetic all at the same time, and a plan you'll want to stay far away from.

As I briefly alluded to in my previous article, one of the reasons I really do not like Section 79 plans is that they basically force employers and those helping them set up Section 79 plans to lie to the employees when implementing the plan.

Non-discrimination

Section 79 plans are employee benefits plans. As such, employers are not supposed to discriminate in favor of key employees or business owners.

As you know, Section 79 plans are implemented so business owners can take a business deduction for the purchase of an individually owned life insurance policy that the owner can borrow from tax free in retirement.

It sounds great until you break down the math and understand that a client would be better off paying taxes on his/her money, taking it home, and funding a good cash value life policy rather than the low cash accumulation Section 79 Plan policy.

Notwithstanding the math behind Section 79 plans, let's talk about the benefits for employees. The employee owner is going to buy a "permanent" policy that will carry cash and can be borrowed from tax free in retirement.

That same policy must be offered to all employees. If that actually happened in a full-disclosure manner, virtually all the employees would opt for the same permanent policy; and if that happened, the finances of the plan would really go out the window because of the tremendous costs for the employees.

How do you "work around" this issue?

The work around of this issue is a bit clever and deceptive. The employees will be scared into voluntarily opting for $50,000 of term insurance instead of the full-benefit policy (term or permanent).

Why would an employee opt for $50,000 in term instead of a policy with several hundred thousands of dollars or even millions of dollars in death benefits? Because employees who are provided death benefits by an employer in excess of $50,000 are taxed on the additional benefit on an annual basis (and it increases every year).
Roccy is a good man and the author of the above article. I did not copy the entire article. I only copied the first page. Roccy D is a very smart man who is aware of the problems with abusive tax shelters including 412i 419 and the new abusive section 79 plans. It seems that over the years he and I have attacked abusive 419 and 412i plans, while everyone else was selling them. Now he and I are warning about section 79 scams.

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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lance Wallach
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 does expert witness testimony and has never lost a case.

Copyright Lance Wallach, CLU, CHFC

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While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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