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Section 79 Scams and Captive Insurance History

When trying to understand how a product becomes a target of government scrutiny it helps to know its history. In the case of plans that fall under Internal Revenue Code Section 79, that history is complex.
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Captive Insurance, Buyer Beware

Closely-Held Insurance Company structures, known as "CHICs", are sometimes used to purchase life insurance outside the estate of the business owner with what amounts to pre-tax dollars. This should not be the primary focus of the captive, but is something that can be done with a portion of the captive's accumulated assets.

Captive Insurance and Other Abusive Tax Shelters

Captive insurance arrangements that are funded with cash-value life insurance are the hot tax shelter for 2014. But serious questions exist whether they work as the promoter’s promise they will do.

Large IRS Fines for Participants in 419, 412i, Captive Insurance, Section 79 Plans

In a recent U.S. Tax Court case, some taxpayers suffered a double loss. The taxpayers, consisting of four couples, had purchased welfare benefit plans marketed by Benistar 419 Plan Services. Under the plan, Benistar provided pre-retirement life insurance to select employees of companies enrolled in the plan.

Unpublished Authors and The Battle Against Copyright Infringement

Provided by: Kathryn Arnold
Copyright infringement is a hot topic in the entertainment industry and I have worked on my fair share of cases on this issue. Having testified for both Plaintiffs and Defendants, successful and not so successful writers, the published and the unpublished, the questions remain the same - don’t all authors deserve copyright protection?

Landscape Contractor Standard of Care During The Construction Process

In landscape construction, there is a significant diversity in project aesthetics, quality and success. Unfortunately, a C-27 California landscape contractor license is no guarantee of contractor competency. As a landscape consultant and landscape expert witness for defendant and plaintiff attorneys, Mr. Rappoport has consulted on numerous landscape construction defect cases, and while the types of cases vary, there is a pattern of contractor deficiencies common in each case.

Addressing The Seventh Circuit’s Concerns Regarding Consumer Surveys in Litigation

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
In the course of affirming the district court’s decision in Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC v. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc., 2013 WL 6017396, Judge Posner went a step further. While upholding the injunction, he ended his assessment with some comments “for future reference” when it comes to consumer surveys offered to demonstrate consumer confusion in support of a trademark infringement claim

Life Insurance Industry Use of Captive Insurance/Reinsurance

In June 2013, the New York Department of Financial Services through its Superintendent, Benjamin M. Lawsky published the results of an examination they had conducted over the previous year, by the name “Shining a Light on Shadow Insurance: A Little-Known Loophole That Puts Insurance Policyholders and Taxpayers at Greater Risk”. The Lawsky Report does bring to light some potentially alarming results.

Merging Carbon Monoxide Life Safety with Energy Conservation Methods

Residential indoor air quality, historically, has not been a major concern because the envelope and window leakage provided inhabitants with sufficient outdoor air. Older residential buildings are sufficiently leaky such that infiltration alone can meet the minimum outdoor air requirements for residential ventilation.

Supreme Court to Hear ERISA Case on Moench Presumption of Prudence

Fifth Third Bank and its officers breached their fiduciary duties of prudence by offering the bank’s stock as an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) investment option, allege plaintiffs in a lawsuit that has been working its way through the courts. Fifth Third acted imprudently by doing so, according to the plaintiffs.

Detroit Retirees Ponder Future Pension Cuts in Wake of Judge’s Bankruptcy Ruling

Now that the City of Detroit has been given the green light to proceed with restructuring under the protections of Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code that govern municipalities, potential large-scale cutbacks, including the pensions of city retirees and steep losses for unsecured creditors, are likely the order of the day.

Get The Courts Daubert Rationale On The Record

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
A recent ruling encourages any litigator sponsoring expert testimony to ensure that the Court memorializes its critique of the Court’s gatekeeping function of expert testimony. The ruling also reversed two inherently speculative damage claims claims that are not that uncommon.

This Can Happen to You

Several years ago at the advice of an accountant or investment advisor a client adopts a defined benefit plan for her business. She did so because she had been advised that under this type of plan she could contribute tax deductible contributions far greater than the limits permitted under a defined contribution plan. Each year she funds the maximum that the IRS permitted based on a report from her actuary. The plan investment returns have been very good.

Despite Trend Toward Pension Freezes, Fund Administrators Report Growing Confidence in Sustainability of Plans

Freezing traditional pension plans has been a popular strategy to reduce the unfunded liabilities and long-term debt associated with underfunded retirement benefit plans.

Landscape Contractor Standard of Care: The Pros and Cons of Using a Landscape Design-Build Contractor

Landscape architects are utilized to design, prepare plans, make submittals and obtain permits for commercial, sub-division and public works projects. Their plans and specifications are part of the contract documents provided from their client to landscape contractors for bidding purposes. The landscape contractor performs a plan "takeoff", documenting all of the quantities, specifications, notes, and details and then creates their pricing and proposal based on that information.

The Dilemma of Being a Woman Firefighter

Being a firefighter is dangerous and challenging. Being a woman firefighter is more challenging within the fire house environment that includes harassment, discrimination, assault and at times termination or constructive discharge.

Consideration of Cancer Related Symptoms

With the rise of diagnoses such as heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and various neurological degenerative disorders, the number of cancer related admissions to hospice organizations have fallen. However the symptom burden these patients experience remain high.

Landscape Contractors, Does Your Work Satisfy the Industry Standard of Care?

Do landscape contractors understand how the legal term “standard of care” applies to their profession? The legal implications of Not performing to the industry standard of care may have serious consequences

State Pension Reform Stymied by Court Opposition

Public pension reform continues to be a daunting task for advocates taking up the cause. That’s because, unlike in the private sector, the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) does not apply to the pensions of government employees. Instead, state authorities, local laws, and the courts determine how public sector retirement programs are managed.

Fatca, Fbar, Offshore Amnesty Large Fines Coming

Overseas banks are warning current and former U.S. clients that their names and information soon will be disclosed and that such disclosure will disallow the taxpayer’s entry into the IRSs amnesty program for undeclared offshore accounts.

Expert Thrown Out after Claiming Major Report “Typos” on Cross

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
A recently affirmed decision to grant judgment for the defendant as a matter of law highlights the importance of expert testimony that is consistent with previously-disclosed opinions presented in a Rule 26 report. In Rembrandt Vision Technologies, Inc. v. Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., the expert’s testimony was struck because of critical discrepancies, leaving the plaintiff with no basis for claimed patent infringement.

Private Exchanges Emerge as Alternative to Corporate Employee Benefit Plans

Employers are reconsidering their role as primary provider of healthcare benefits to employees and their dependents as costs continue to climb and compliance related expenses associated with the Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”) add to the burden.

How to Qualify an Expert Witness

Provided by HG.org
The requirements for qualifying an expert witness are different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For example, in many jurisdictions an expert must be formally tendered as such and accepted by the court before being allowed to offer opinion testimony.

Evaluating and Instructing Expert Witnesses

Provided by HG.org
Dealing with an expert witness is a form of art. Experts’ involvement in litigation is becoming more widespread, while the standards for evaluating their testimony is as vague as ever. Experts need to understand what goes on in the courtroom, and this guide is designed as a brief overview of some concepts you should follow in order to adequately train your expert.

Guidelines for Expert Testimony in Medical Liability Cases

Provided by HG.org
Multiple medical professional organizations have developed guidelines for the proper conduct of their members when offering expert witness testimony. In every instance, the various professional organizations agree that regardless of the source of the request, such testimony ought to embody the relevant facts and the expert’s knowledge, experience, and best judgment regarding the case.

Guidelines for Genetics Expert Witnesses Based on American College of Medical Genetics Recommendations

Provided by HG.org
Geneticists are one of the fastest growing areas of experts required for testimony in court. From testifying about birth defects, to unique identifying characteristics of criminal suspects, to factors affecting personal injury cases, this specialty field of expert testimony is in high demand. As a result, the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) has published a number of recommendations for genetics experts who will be offering testimony in a legal proceeding.

An Overview of the NASS Guidelines for Members Testifying as Expert Witnesses

Provided by HG.org
Are you an expert called to testify about spinal injuries? Whether offering your opinion in a medical malpractice case, a product liability dispute, of a personal injury matter, these guidelines will help to guide you through the process of offering your expert medical testimony. These guidelines are also based on the North American Spine Society Expert Witness Guidelines:

Standards for Scientific Evidence in the Courtroom

Provided by HG.org
Many legal cases are decided based on the available science. DNA and fingerprinting probably jump to mind first, but many other types of scientific evidence make their ways into courtrooms everyday. Understanding the standard necessary to have this evidence admitted and accepted by the court could mean the difference between a winning case and a frustrating outcome.

What Does it Mean to Be an Expert Witness?

Provided by HG.org
For those asked to testify as an expert witness, the title may be either flattering or a little scary. After all, what does it mean to be an expert? How do you become an expert? What sort of knowledge, experience, or other credentials does one need to be considered an expert for purposes of offering testimony in a legal proceeding?

IRS Code Section 79 Plans and Captive Insurance History

Insurance companies, agents, financial planners, and others have pushed abusive 419 and 412i plans for years. They claimed business owners could obtain large tax deductions. Insurance companies, agents and others earned very large life insurance commissions in the process.

If You Are Thinking that Your Foreign Bank Is not Located in Switzerland...

and is a tiny hole in the wall in the middle of nowhere so I am safe, think again. Taxpayer Options: Taxpayers that have willfully chosen to pass on entering the 2009 or 2011 voluntary disclosure programs both have the following options.

Have You Committed Income Tax Evasion Involving a Foreign Account

One of the most basic premises, but often the least understood by taxpayers, is that U.S. Citizens and Residents are taxed on their worldwide income.

Detroit Bankruptcy Focuses Attention on Pension Costs

Financially stressed cities across the country are watching carefully as Detroit comes to grips with its unsustainable pension and benefit costs.

Composing the Expert’s Report: Factors for Compliance with Federal Rule 26(a)(2)(B)

The recently amended Rule 26 is the result of a proposal made by the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure. Approved by Congress, it became effective on December 1, 2010.

SCOTUS Rulings On Same-Sex Marriages Create Tax Refund Opportunities

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
The decision in United States vs. Windsor (No. 12-301, June 26, 2013) by the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to strike down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) creates important tax issues and opportunities. These include potential refunds for same-sex married couples and their employers for years not closed by the statute of limitations.

The Appraiser/Consultant Umbrella

Appraiser Tania Evans on the roles of an appraiser/consultant/researcher in the equine industry (2010).

Experts Offer Differing Opinions on the Future of Pensions

Josh Gotbaum, Director (CEO) of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), and Dallas Salisbury, President & CEO of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, provided their perspectives on the future of pensions at the Wall Street Journal CFO Network Annual Meeting in June. They were asked to address whether there is a pension crisis in the United States and how organizations can handle increasing pension obligations.

There Is No Place to Hide from IRS Scrutiny

Some people considering an IRS voluntary disclosure of their foreign income and assets don’t do so because they fear prosecution.

Watch out because the IRS is watching 419 Plans

A business owner wants legitimate tax planning ideas. One solution sometimes offered today is a 419(e) plan (419 Welfare Benefit Plan). The local insurance agent or the company’s CPA who may have an insurance sales license, may suggest that the 419 Welfare Benefit Plan will provide shelter from taxes today, the costs of the plan are tax deductible and the plan will provide tax free benefits for the owner when he or she is ready to retire. The concept seems too good to be true.

Should You Close Your Foreign Bank Account

Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a fair world? Wouldn’t it be nice if the IRS gave the little guy a break? Unfortunately, that’s just not the way it is. The news is littered with casualties of the IRS’ aggressive stance on taxpayers who don’t come clean.

Preventing and Predicting Software License Disputes

Software licenses are critical enablers of entrepreneurship and product excellence. Yet they are also common sources of litigation between erstwhile partners. Licensing disputes arise when inartful drafting combines with the peculiarities of software and its distribution to complicate the computation of royalties. Good licensing practices are thus a critical aspect of business strategy. Understanding some common pitfalls of licensing can confer both offensive and defensive strategic benefits.

Could We Have This Debate Before It Is Too Late?

Is the use of fully insured group health insurance products as stop-loss coverage for group health plans going to remain a viable solution?

A Banker’s Perspective: Banks, Hedge Funds and New Distribution Platforms

Provided by: Kathryn Arnold
Adrian Ward is a smart, producer friendly banker who has been in the trenches of independent film financing for close to 20 years. Having started with the Lew Horwitz Organization, a stalwart in the indie film world of the 90’s, Adrian is now at Pacific Mercantile Bank. I sat down with Adrian to get a banker’s perspective on the industry landscape and where producers should be putting their energies.

New Municipal Pension Accounting Rules Draw Attention to Unfunded Liabilities

New accounting and financial reporting standards for U.S. state and local government pension and benefit funds start to take effect this month. Confusion is likely to ensue as taxpayers, plan participants, and even plan sponsors take a hard look at new numbers that more clearly identify funded or unfunded municipal pension liabilities.

Insurance Companies Are in Big Trouble and Most Do Not Know It

Many life insurance companies are using captive insurance to alter their books and look better. This could lead to another taxpayer bailout and insurance companies being taken over. This would put benefits in policies at risk for some policyholders.

Lead (Pb) Health Effects Literature Update, June 2013

Lead (Pb) has been recognized as toxic for centuries, yet we continue to learn more about lead toxicity and environmental issues. This expanding understanding of lead influences approaches to identifying at-risk populations and intervening to reduce exposure and risk.

The Cost of Employee Turnover

Business owners are acutely aware of the costs of employee turnover.

Neither Expert Nor Inventor Allowed to Opine On Reasonable Royalty Damages

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
A Delaware federal court recently closed the door on each of two possible paths to damages for Plaintiff in the matter of AVM Technologies, LLC v. Intel, Inc. (Civil Action No. 10-610-RGA).

Liability Driven Investing Gains Favor with Corporate Pension Plan Sponsors

Kraft Foods Group actively seeks to reduce pension plan funding volatility with a liability-driven investment (“LDI”) structure, according to a company release for the fourth quarter of 2012. Many other Fortune 500 pension plan sponsors, as well as some municipal plans, are following a similar risk management strategy.

If the IRS Contacts You...

Keep your mouth shut-take this advice seriously.


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