Sunday, November 17, 2019

Report of IRS Criminal Interest in Captive Insurance Shelters (11/17/19)

It is reported that the IRS is looking to make criminal referrals to CI in § 831(b) captive insurance cases.  Jay Adkisson, IRS Suggests Criminal Referrals To Be Made In Abusive 831(b) Captive Tax Shelter Cases (Forbes 11/17/19), here.  The article cites as its source an article written by Aysha Baghi in Bloomberg's Tax Management Weekly Report™ which in turn cites SB/SE Commissionier Eric Hylton at a conference.

Adkisson notes the potential targets:

1. Promoter (captive manager) who could have been subject to promoter examination and continued to market the product even after Notice 2016-66.

2. Actuaries who provided studies making “unsupportable predictions about claims and losses, i.e., so-called ‘whore actuaries’.”

3. The captive owners who continued to take deductions after the Notice.

Adkisson speculates that, while referral to CI is one thing, as to referral from CI to DOJ Tax, the target environment is “ not so rich since DOJ-TAX would have to prove tax fraud beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a much higher standard than that something is a mere tax shelter.”  Adkisson notes:

Here, it would likely be a captive manager and their client who was caught fabricating claims after-the-fact so as to try to justify the premiums paid to the captive, or the IRS had audio tapes or other evidence of the captive manager selling the captive as a tax shelter but then later falsely testifying that there were no tax motivations for the arrangements.

Adkisson notes that the IRS may seek promoter injunctions, but that “the forecast for a criminal injunction before 2020 is probably pretty low.”  I think he means criminal prosecution rather than criminal injunction.

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