419, 412i, Captive And Section 79 Plans Continue To Draw IRS Attention.


 

By Lance Wallach, Consultant & Expert Witness    

Recent court cases have highlighted serious problems in welfare benefit plans issued by Nova Benefit Plans. Recently unsealed IRS criminal case information now raises concerns with other plans as well. If you have any type plan issued by NOVA Benefit Plans, U.S. Benefits Group, Benefit Plan Advisors, Grist Mill trusts, Rex Insurance Service or Benistar, you may have a criminal problem. You may be subject to an audit or in some cases, criminal prosecution.

On November 17th, Fifty-nine pages of search warrant materials were unsealed in the Nova Benefit Plans litigation currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. According to these documents, the IRS believes that Nova is involved in a significant criminal conspiracy involving the crimes of Conspiracy to Impede the IRS and Assisting in the Preparation of False Income Tax Returns.

In 2010, seventy armed IRS Criminal Division special agents raided the offices of Nova Benefit Plans. The IRS has taken other recent criminal enforcement actions in other states including Nebraska and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The IRS has told the court that it believes Nova is promoting abusive "section 419" welfare benefit plans.

The IRS claims that a cooperating witness and several undercover agents "penetrated" Nova to ascertain its internal operations. They say Nova helped their clients violate tax laws by claiming the most minor injuries as permanent disabilities to qualify for special tax treatment. In other words, they would assist clients claim a minor scrape was a disabling and disfiguring permanent injury.

The IRS also claims that Nova assisted clients in backdating documents filed with the IRS.

According to the IRS, Nova's plan was a scam because Nova helped taxpayers claim false disabilities. The Internal Revenue Code says disability payments are tax free if there is a permanent loss of a bodily part or function. A small scrape is a far cry from the loss of an eye."

Nova is not alone in the scam. According to the IRS affidavit, Nova and its principals have also done business as U.S. Benefits Group, Benefit Plan Advisors, Grist Mill trusts, Rex Insurance Service and Benistar.

Anyone who has purchased a plan from Nova or the related entities should immediately get help. If the IRS is correct and these plans are not legitimate, the tax consequences to participants could be very high. In some cases, if clients entered these plans with knowledge of Nova's history or promises to evade taxes, the consequences could involve prison.

As a result of the raid and a cooperating witness, the IRS is believed to have the client lists of Nova, Grist Mill and the others.

The IRS is also auditing other 419 and 412i plans. They are also fining participants a large amount of money for not properly informing on themselves under IRS 6707. If you are in an abusive 419, 412i captive insurance or section 79 plan you must file with the IRS. If you don’t file, or incorrectly fill out the forms, the fines that I am aware of have averaged around $300,000. If someone sold one of these plans, or signed a tax return claiming deductions for one, IRS can call them a material advisor and fine them $100,000. They have to file also. I have been getting a large volume of phone calls from people getting these fines. You need to act before this happens to you.

Lance Wallach, National Society of Accountants Speaker of the Year and member of the AICPA faculty of teaching professionals, is a frequent speaker on retirement plans, financial and estate planning, and abusive tax shelters.  He writes about 412(i), 419, and captive insurance plans. He speaks at more than ten conventions annually, writes for over fifty publications, is quoted regularly in the press and has been featured on television and radio financial talk shows including NBC, National Pubic Radio's All Things Considered, and others. Lance has written numerous books including Protecting Clients from Fraud, Incompetence and Scams published by John Wiley and Sons, Bisk Education's CPA's Guide to Life Insurance and Federal Estate and Gift Taxation, as well as AICPA best-selling books, including Avoiding Circular 230 Malpractice Traps and Common Abusive Small Business Hot Spots. He does expert witness testimony and has never lost a case. Contact him at 516.938.5007, wallachinc@gmail.com or visit www.taxaudit419.com.
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.


1 comment:

  1. Journal of Accountancy Large Logo
    Should a client approach you with one of these plans, be especially cautious, for both of you. Advise your client to check out the promoter very carefully. Make it clear that the government has the names of all former 419A(f)(6) promoters and, therefore, will be scrutinizing the promoter carefully if the promoter was once active in that area, as many current 419(e) (welfare benefit fund or plan) promoters were. This makes an audit of your client far riskier and more likely.


    DEFINED-BENEFIT 412(i) PLANS UNDER FIRE

    The IRS has warned against so-called section 412(i) defined-benefit pension plans, named for the former IRC section governing them. It warned against certain trust arrangements it deems abusive, some of which may be regarded as listed transactions. Falling into that category can result in taxpayers having to disclose such participation under pain of penalties, potentially reaching $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for other taxpayers. Targets also include some retirement plans.

    One reason for the harsh treatment of 412(i) plans is their discrimination in favor of owners and key, highly compensated employees. Also, the IRS does not consider the promised tax relief proportionate to the economic realities of these transactions. In general, IRS auditors divide audited plans into those they consider noncompliant and others they consider abusive. While the alternatives available to the sponsor of a noncompliant plan are problematic, it is frequently an option to keep the plan alive in some form while simultaneously hoping to minimize the financial fallout from penalties.

    The sponsor of an abusive plan can expect to be treated more harshly. Although in some situations something can be salvaged, the possibility is definitely on the table of having to treat the plan as if it never existed, which of course triggers the full extent of back taxes, penalties and interest on all contributions that were made, not to mention leaving behind no retirement plan whatsoever.

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