Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Abusive Micro-Captive Insurance Arrangements Participants Are Urged to Exit These Arrangements By The IRS

Internal Revenue Service officials on April 9, 2021 urged participants in abusive micro-captive insurance arrangements to exit these transactions as soon as possible (

The IRS Has Stepped Up Examinations of These Arrangements And Has Recently Won Yet Another Case In U.S. Tax Court
That Such Arrangements Are Not Eligible
For The Tax Benefits Claimed.

On March 10, 2021, the U.S. Tax Court held in Caylor Land & Dev. v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2021-30 (2021), that yet another micro-captive arrangement failed to qualify as insurance for federal tax purposes. This decision follows several earlier Tax Court decisions that also confirmed the IRS’s determinations that certain micro-captive arrangements were not eligible for the claimed federal tax benefits. In Caylor, the Tax Court also sustained the IRS’s determination of accuracy-related penalties and rejected the taxpayer’s claim of reliance on tax advice.

Taxpayers who engaged in abusive micro-captive transactions are once again encouraged to consult an independent tax advisor prior to filing their 2020 tax returns. Taxpayers should consider exiting the transaction and not reporting deductions associated with abusive micro-captive insurance transactions.

“In multiple cases before the courts, judges have held that these ‘fanciful’ and ‘unreasonable’ arrangements don’t add up to insurance in the commonly accepted sense,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “I strongly urge participants in these arrangements to get independent legal advice separate from those who helped steer them into these abusive arrangements.”

In Notice 2016-66, the IRS advised that micro-captive insurance transactions have the potential for tax avoidance or evasion. The notice designated transactions that are the same as or substantially similar to transactions that are described in the notice as “Transactions of Interest.” The notice established reporting requirements for those entering into such transactions on or after Nov. 2, 2006 and created disclosure and list maintenance obligations for material advisors.

In March and July 2020, IRS issued letters to taxpayers who participated in a Notice 2016-66 transaction alerting them that IRS enforcement activity in this area will be expanding significantly and providing them with the opportunity to tell the IRS if they've discontinued their participation in this transaction before the IRS initiates examinations. Early responses indicate that a significant number of taxpayers who participated in these transactions have exited the transaction.

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