EWP & Compliance Simplifier-Part 2

International Tax Planning & Compliance Simplifier—Part 2

EWP (Expanded Worldwide Planning) and Compliance Simplifier

Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) in Action

Inside a Deadly Spider Web Structure

Download PDF

Depending on the planning needs of international families, two types of trusts are generally used, Foreign Grantor Trust and Foreign Non-Grantor Trust. These trusts can accomplish some of the aims of the six principles of EWP, but they can do nothing in terms of tax efficiency. For this a trust must own a properly structured PPLI policy. An EWP structure uses the six principles of EWP to give families the optimum amount of tax efficiency, privacy, and asset protection.

Foreign Grantor Trusts

A foreign trust is considered a grantor trust for U.S. income tax purposes when a U.S. grantor makes a gratuitous transfer to a foreign trust that has one or more U.S. beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries of any portion of the trust. The trustee of a foreign grantor trust with a U.S. owner is required to file Form 3520-A, Annual Information Return of Foreign Trust with U.S. Owner, with the IRS each year. Such form includes an accounting of the trust’s activities for the year.

The Form 3520-A is due on March 15th and a six-month extension may be requested.

The trustee should also provide a “Foreign Grantor Trust Owner Statement” to each U.S. owner of a portion of the trust and a “Foreign Grantor Trust Beneficiary Statement” to each U.S. beneficiary who received a distribution during the taxable year.

The U.S. owner of the foreign grantor trust is subject to U.S. income tax on the portion of the trust income he or she is considered to own. In addition to the Form 3520-A, the owner must file a Form 3520, Annual Return to Report Transactions with Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts, to report any transfers to the foreign trust. Form 3520 must also be filed each year to report ownership of the foreign trust even if no transfer is made. Form 3520 is required to be filed by the due date of the individual’s Form 1040 including extensions.

U.S. beneficiaries of a foreign grantor trust who receive any distribution during the taxable year must also file Form 3520 to disclose the amount and source of the distribution. In addition, the Form 3520 discloses the amount of taxable income that is includible on his or her income tax return. The U.S. beneficiary is also required to disclose the fact that a distribution was received on Form 1040, Schedule B, Part III.

Foreign Non-Grantor Trusts

Foreign non-grantor trusts generally are not subject to U.S. income tax unless the trust earns U.S. source or effectively connected income. Such income is taxed at graduated rates applicable to domestic trusts. Depending upon the investments that the trust holds as well as treaty considerations, the Trusts may be subject to non-resident withholding. Foreign information disclosures may be required as well.

The trustee should provide a Foreign Non-Grantor Trust Beneficiary Statement to a U.S. recipient that received a distribution which reports the amount of the distribution as well as a breakdown of the character of the income. The U.S. beneficiary is required to report the distribution received on Form 3520. In addition, the U.S. beneficiary must pay income tax on the current year trust income included in the distribution and may also be subject to an additional tax (“throwback tax”) to the extent the distribution includes undistributed income from a prior year, termed undistributed net income (UNI). Further, in order to deter trusts that do not distribute income currently, an interest charge may be imposed.

Don’t Trust in Trusts Alone

The strands that form a spider’s web are sticky, and cling to you when touched. Likewise, a Spider Web Structure clings to tax authorities in very unwelcomed ways and binds you and your family to them through the overcomplication, confusion, and uncertainty of the asset structure.

We have chosen a Spider Web Structure that involves non-U.S. persons, who are neither U.S. citizens nor residents of the U.S.(NCNR). These families have both U.S. beneficiaries and non-U.S. beneficiaries, and have created two Foreign Corporations (FC). The Spider Web Structure begins simply enough, but as you will read, the ending is not so simple.

The trustees of the Foreign Grantor Trust (FGT) then created a second Foreign Corporation, which would own only non-U.S.-situs assets. The original FC would own only U.S. securities. The non-U.S. portfolio assets owned by the second FC would be earmarked to benefit solely non-U.S. persons as trust beneficiaries after the death of the NCNR. The U.S. portfolio assets owned by the existing FC would be earmarked for the U.S. beneficiaries.

There would be no U.S. estate tax on the non-US assets owned by the second FC. A retroactive check-the-box election could be filed for this second FC effective on the day before the NCNR’s death.

Some US advisors advocate relying exclusively on entity structuring to convert a single FC into a multi-tier FC structure involving at least three FCs. Prior to the NCNR’s death, the trustees of the NCNR’s FGT would create two FCs. These two FCs would then together equally own the shares of a third lower-tier FC.

The US portfolio assets would be owned by the lower-tier FC. Following the death of the NCNR, the lower- and upper-tier FCs would be deemed liquidated for US tax purposes (by filing check-the-box elections) in a carefully scripted sequence as follows.

  1. First, the upper-tier FCs would each file a check-the-box election for the lower-tier FC, effective one day prior to the death of the NCNR. This results in a taxable liquidation of the lower-tier FC without current US income tax on the historical pre-liquidation unrealised appreciation inside the FC. However, the upper-tier FCs’ basis in the underlying US securities held by the former lower-tier FC will equal the FMV of such assets on the date of the deemed liquidation of the lower-tier FC.
  2. Second, two days after the NCNR’s death, both upper-tier FCs will make simultaneous check-the-box elections. The inside basis of the US portfolio assets previously held by the lower-tier FC prior to its deemed taxable liquidation would be stepped up or down to the FMV of such assets on the day after the death of the NCNR.

Now you understand why we call it a Spider Web Structure? In reading through this structure, do you get an eerie feeling that something might go wrong if something unexpected happens in the web? Perhaps these check-the-box elections might not be done in precisely this manner? Do you think we have an alternative? You are right!

PPLI: An Elegant Solution

An EWP structure is easily produced if the FNGT purchases a PPLI policy none of the above convoluted planning of the Spider Web Structure need occur. The PPLI structure satisfies the needs of both the U.S. beneficiaries and the non-U.S. beneficiaries, as assets in the policy can be located in any jurisdiction worldwide, and distributions can be made to both sets of beneficiaries in a properly structured policy without any taxation.

Once investments are part of a properly constructed PPLI policy none of the following are treated as taxable income:

  • The income and investment returns inside the policy;
  • Withdrawals up to premium;
  • Policy loans, and;
  • Death benefit proceeds.

Pre-immigration Planning

The strategy of funding a FNGT with PPLI is even more successful when applied prospectively, prior to the accumulation of any UNI in the trust, for example before a non-U.S. person establishes U.S. residency. By funding the FNGT with PPLI when the trust is first established, U.S. beneficiaries can remove UNI complications altogether. All the assets that are placed in this PPLI policy are effectively placed outside the U.S. tax system, and can be passed onto beneficiaries tax-free. Timing is crucial for this PPLI structure to be the most effective, as it needs to be established before the U.S. person has entered the U.S. tax system.

At the Heart of EWP Is PPLI

Why engage in complex trust and entity planning that just produces overcomplication, confusion, and uncertainty–yes, Spider Web Structures? You can definitely accomplish much more with a more simple and straightforward EWP Structure that uses PPLI as its core element. We invite you to inquire today to find out how we have helped families worldwide achieve privacy, tax efficiency, asset protection, and, of course, compliance simplification.

 

by Michael Malloy, CLU TEP RFC, @ Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc

Michael Malloy-CLU-TEP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EWP & Tax Shield-Part 3

Expanded Worldwide Planning-EWP and Tax Shield

Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) in Action

PPLI Benefits U.S. Persons with Real Estate–Part 3

 

DOWNLOAD PDF

The universality of Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP) is not to be denied. This is objectified by Wikipedia. In the first sentence of their page on International Tax Planning, Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP) is featured.

We are taking a cue from Wikipedia. Over the next few weeks, we will feature one of the six principles of Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP). The six principles are: privacy, asset protection, tax shield, succession planning, compliance simplifier, and trust substitute. Today we feature the tax shield.

PPLI Benefits U.S. Persons with Real Estate

The benefits of using PPLI for U.S. persons investing in real estate in the U.S. are substantial. Why don’t more U.S. persons take advantage of these benefits? At Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc., we maintain that it is because of profound misunderstandings about the Investor Control Doctrine and the diversification requirements of variable contracts under IRS code section 817(h).

Ironically, these misunderstandings have been clarified by the Webber decision, Webber v. Commissioner, 144 T.C. No. 17 (June 30, 2015). In the popular press, and in many tax journals, this same Webber decision was interpreted as the ‘nail to the coffin’ for PPLI.

Let us explore how the Webber decision makes it clear that in a properly structured PPLI policy, U.S. real estate can be held and still be fully compliant with the IRS. We will do this through the lens of what the Webber decision tells us about the Investor Control Doctrine and the diversification requirements of variable contracts under 817(h).

These are the key points of the Webber decision that support the inclusion of U.S. real estate in a properly designed PPLI policy:

The egregious flaunting of what is known as the Investor Control Doctrine by Jeffrey T. Webber, William Lipkind, his attorney, and the manager of his Insurance Dedicated Fund (IDF) (Butterfield Bank) has blinded advisors and their clients to an essential point in the tax court’s decision. Judge Lauber, the presiding judge, found no objection to the private companies and other investments that were placed as in-kind premium in the two PPLI policies that were in question. There is nothing in the rules regarding PPLI either before or after Webber which would prohibit the use of private company securities, actively operated and closely business interests, and real estate enterprises within a policy IDF or Separately Managed Account (SMA).

The Tax Court’s key issue was the fact that Mr. Webber was on the board of every company in which the policy invested, invested his own funds from his personal wealth and his IRAs, and that he negotiated the terms of every loan on behalf of the company and then gave the instruction to Mr. Lipkind and Butterfield Bank. The court states, “The record includes more than 70,000 emails to or from Mr. Lipkind, Ms. Chang (Webber’s accountant), the IDF Investment Manager, and/or Lighthouse (the insurance company) concerning petitioner’s “recommendations” for investments by the separate accounts. Mr. Lipkind also appears to have given instructions regularly by telephone.”

IRC Sec 817(h) provides a detailed overview of the investment diversification requirements of variable insurance products. The regulations address a wide range of investment alternatives that are not found in retail variable life and annuity products such as direct investment in real estate, and commodities.

Treasury regulations 1.817.5 provide very detailed guidance on the investment diversification rules. The regulations interpret these rules for investment asset classes such as real estate, and allow for a period of time to meet the diversification requirements of IRC Sec 817(h). For non-real estate accounts, the regulations provide for a one-year period to meet the diversification requirements. Real estate accounts provide for a five-year start up period and a two-year liquidation period.

The court states: “The “investor control” doctrine posits that, if the policyholder’s incidents of ownership over those assets become sufficiently capacious and comprehensive, he rather than the insurance company will be deemed to be the true “owner” of those assets for Federal income tax purposes. In that event, a major benefit of the insurance/annuity structure–the deferral or elimination of tax on the “inside buildup”–will be lost, and the investor will be taxed currently on investment income as it is realized.”

It is clear from reading the Webber decision that, if Mr. Webber had followed the very language stated in his policy, his PPLI structure would have worked, and complied with the Investor Control Doctrine and the diversification requirements of 817(h). The court record reads: “As drafted, the Policies state that no one but the Investment Manager may direct investments and deny the policyholder any “right to require Lighthouse to acquire a particular investment” for a separate account. Under the Policies, the policyholder was allowed to transmit “general investment objectives and guidelines” to the Investment Manager, who was supposed to build a portfolio within those parameters.”

PFIC + Subpart F + GILTI = All Redefined with PPLI

Distributions from a properly structured PPLI policy are distributions from a life insurance policy. Like all policies, both U.S. and issued in other jurisdictions around the world, the distributions are subject to the tax code sections that apply to life insurance.

In a properly structured policy, one can withdraw all basis in the policy, which are the premiums paid, tax free, and take very low cost loans to withdraw the remaining funds. The costs of these loans is equivalent to an administrative charge, and is usually in the range of 25 bps. When the policy is held until the death of the insured life, the amount of the loan is merely subtracted from the death benefit, therefore, the loan need not be repaid.

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), has brought an increase in taxation for those who have subpart F income. Just like Passive Foreign Investment Company (PFIC) income, subpart F income can be structured inside a PPLI policy, and, therefore, shielded from tax. PPLI has been used for many years to shield PFIC income.

TCJA gave us a new section of the tax code, Section 951A. For those who have an interest in a controlled foreign (CFC), particularly if they are not C corporation shareholders, there is a new opportunity to use a PPLI structure to shield this income from tax. Section 951A gives us Global Intangible Low-taxed Income (GILTI), which if held in other than a C corporation, has very unfavorable tax consequences that can be greatly mitigated by using PPLI.

Hedge Fund Life Insurance

One distinct benefit of a PPLI policy is the ability to place tax inefficient investments like hedge funds into a tax-friendly environment. Some advisors have even coined the term, Hedge Fund Life Insurance, to highlight the advantages of combining hedge fund investments and life insurance into one tax-advantaged asset structure.

The numbers tell the story well on the chart below.

                                                     View Image in PDF format

The chart compares a taxable investment to one held in a PPLI account over the long-term. The very clear winner is the PPLI account. Even over a ten year period there is more than $3M more in the PPLI account. The chart does not even show the death benefit which is always more than the cash value account. In a properly structured policy, the death benefit is also tax-free, making a PPLI asset structure the undeniable victory in the quest for tax efficiency.

Conclusion

Let us summarize the tax advantages of holding investments in a PPLI asset structure:

Tax-deferred “inside build-up” of policy cash values. The industry has preserved the tax preferred treatment of life insurance for decades.

Non-recognition of capital gains. The policyholder has the ability to switch investment options within the product without triggering taxation. Life insurance separate accounts are legally the owners of the investments within variable insurance products. The life insurer receives a reserve deduction equal to its investment income.

The option of tax-free access to policy cash values through a partial surrender of the cash value and low-cost policy loans. A policyholder may take a partial surrender of the cash value and recover his tax basis in the contract first. Policy loans with a net cost of approximately 25 basis points per annum also receive income tax-free treatment.

The policy’s basis is its cumulative premiums. Once the policyholder has recovered his basis in the contract, the policyholder has a contractual right to a policy loan which allows the policyholder to borrow up to ninety percent of the policy cash value.

Income tax-free death benefit. The policy cash value grows on a tax-free basis. The policyholder can access investment gains within the policy on a tax-free basis during lifetime, and beneficiaries receive the death benefit income-tax free.

Estate tax-free death benefits through the use of third party ownership of the policy, such as an irrevocable life insurance trust (“ILIT”). IRC Sec 2042 provides that as long as the insured does not retain any incidents of ownership within the policy, the death proceeds will not be included in the taxable estate of the decedent.

Look no further if you wish to achieve the utmost in privacy, asset protection, and tax efficiency. You have arrived when you implement a PPLI asset structure. Please contact us today to let us know how we can assist you in creating your own bespoke PPLI asset structure.

by Michael Malloy, CLU TEP RFC, @ Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc

Michael Malloy-CLU-TEP

 

 

 

#michaelmalloy #PPLI #EWP #privateplacement #lifeinsurance #advancedfinancialsolutions

 

 

 

EWP & Tax Shield-Part 2

Expanded Worldwide Planning-EWP and Tax Shield

Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) in Action

The Hampton Freeze & Beyond–Part 2

Download PDF

The universality of Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP) is not to be denied. This is objectified by Wikipedia. In the first sentence of their page on International Tax Planning, Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP) is featured.

We are taking a cue from Wikipedia. Over the next few weeks, we will feature one of the six principles of Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP). The six principles are: privacy, asset protection, tax shield, succession planning, compliance simplifier, and trust substitute. Today we feature the tax shield.

PPLI Benefits Non-U.S. Persons with Real Estate

There are many obstacles that non-U.S. persons face in investing in U.S. real estate. The primary tax impediments to foreign investment in U.S. real estate in general and in real estate funds specifically are U.S. income, capital gains and withholding taxes. Adding Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) in combination with trusts and LLC elements eliminates or mitigates U.S., withholding taxes, U.S. income and capital gains taxes, and estate taxes.

Here is a list of the obstacles faced by non-U.S. persons investing in U.S. real estate:

Effectively Connected Income (ECI): Although non-U.S. investors’ gains from U.S. stock are generally not taxable, income and gain from their real estate investments are generally taxable under the ECI rules. Specifically, rental income and/or gains from the sale of U.S. real estate are both generally treated as ECI. U.S. source rental income allocable to a foreign investor is typically not entitled to any treaty preferences. ECI is generally taxed to such foreign investors under the same tax rates that apply to U.S. taxpayers, and foreign investors that receive ECI are required to file U.S. federal and state income tax returns. Finally, the FIRPTA rules described below can also transform sales of stock (or other equity interests) and/or capital gain dividends from REITs into ECI.

FIRPTA: Enacted in 1980 to combat perceived unfair advantages for foreign investors in U.S. real estate, the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) imposes significant taxes on dispositions of US real property interests. Specifically, Section 897 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, essentially treats such gain as ECI. In addition, as explained below, complicated withholding tax rules apply with regard to US counterparties in such transactions.

Non-US Regulatory Concerns: In addition to U.S. tax issues, non-US investors can have non-U.S. tax and regulatory concerns. For example, non-U.S. investors may need to comply with certain informational reporting requirements in their home jurisdictions.

Significant investment capital for U.S. real estate transactions and funds has been and will continue to be raised from non-U.S. investors. In light of this fact, it is important that real estate advisors, investors, and owners understand the tax challenges, as well as the potential solutions, involved when non-U.S. investors invest in U.S. real estate. PPLI is an integral element in these solutions.

Outstanding Results Realized

We will compare the various structures generally used by non-U.S. persons for investing in U.S. real estate with the addition of PPLI. Adding the PPLI advantage is a cost-effective way to give clients additional return on their investments and legitimate, enhanced privacy in their structures.

An insurance solution using PPLI or a Private Placement Variable Annuity (PPVA) contract can greatly simplify or eliminate many of these issues and make long term investing even more appealing.

All foreign Investors are exposed to a myriad of US tax consequences, including withholding taxes (30%), capital gains, and even U.S. Estate Taxes. Life insurance, and specifically Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI), is a well-established tax and estate planning tool that many qualified investors utilize to mitigate and manage these exposures.

Most structures can remain intact with the simple addition of a compliant life or annuity policy. PPLI can accommodate most custodians, managers or funds, making the transaction as simple to set up as a trust or other less effective structures.

PPLI also provides simplified reporting and confidentiality. The policy is reported once, and not the assets held or underlying investments. The owner reports a life policy and not that they are investors or hold assets in the U.S.

The Summary Chart below compares using PPLI with other commonly used structures. The small additional expense of adding PPLI to a structure gives the non-U.S. person many additional benefits that cannot be achieved otherwise.

EWP & Tax Shield-PPLI with IDF vs. Other Real Estate Structures

  •                  CLICK HERE to enlarge image

We learn much valuable knowledge from your questions and comments. Please give us your thoughts on using PPLI in real estate structures.

by Michael Malloy, CLU TEP RFC, @ Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc

Michael Malloy-CLU-TEP

 

 

 

#michaelmalloy #PPLI #EWP #privateplacement #lifeinsurance #advancedfinancialsolutions

 

 

 

Expanded Worldwide Planning-EWP & Tax Shield

Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) in Action

The Hampton Freeze & Beyond–Part 1

Expanded Worldwide Planning-EWP & Tax Shield

Download PDF

The universality of Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP) is not to be denied. This is objectified by Wikipedia. In the first sentence of their page on International Tax Planning, Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP) is featured.

We are taking a cue from Wikipedia. Over the next few weeks, we will feature one of the six principles of Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP). The six principles are: privacy, asset protection, tax shield, succession planning, compliance simplifier, and trust substitute.

Today we feature the tax shield. Perhaps the best comment made about the tax benefits of PPLI is from the October 1994 article in Offshore Investment by Professor Craig Hampton:

“I was visiting a gentleman at his home in the Piccadilly district of London. It was explained to me that his net worth exceeded US$100 million by a substantial margin. I noticed the presence of a computer terminal on a large desk in his den. It was surrounded by reams of paper dealing with offshore investing.

It soon became apparent that his affluence was due to his own efforts when he said to me: “You’re a bright young man who obviously knows his craft. But what can you tell me that I don’t already know about finances?”

I leaned forward and made this simple statement:

“Through the creative use of international life insurance, your financial affairs can be arranged so that you will never have to pay income taxes for the rest of your life!” The gentleman took serious notice, and thus was born the Hampton Freeze.”

The Hampton Freeze is the name coined for the various PPLI designs developed by Professor Craig Hampton in the early 1990s. These designs were utilized in cases where the premium was over $100M, but can also be employed for PPLI policies with lesser amounts of premium.

Oddly enough many of the tax benefits used for the sophisticated designs like the Hampton Freeze utilize the same tax benefits common to all life insurance policies:

  • tax-deferred growth of internal cash value;
  • no capital gains tax;
  • no income tax;
  • ability to access cash value through tax-free loans;
  • tax-free death benefit, if structured properly.

This is why savvy, wealthy families today are employing PPLI, (Private Placement Life Insurance), in greater and greater numbers. A hallmark of the popularity of this asset structure is its conservative and straightforward nature. This ironically allows it to achieve spectacular tax savings.

Why strain to invent a structure that will very likely draw the attention of tax authorities, because of its convoluted and aggressive design? At Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc., we counsel you to stop trying to be overly clever in the design of your asset structures. Why not use a financial tool that has been in use since Ancient Rome–life insurance? This will give you the best tax shield available today bar none.

A Brief History of Taxation

We will be concentrating on the ‘shield’ aspect of the tax shield, but before we go into more detail, let us speak briefly about the ‘tax’ aspect of our subject. What is the history of this thing we wish to shield?

In the ancient world there is recorded a system of taxation in Egypt around 3000-2800 BC. Documents show that the Pharaoh would tour his kingdom twice a year to collect taxes. In the Bible, we find this quote,

“But when the crop comes in, give a fifth of it to Pharaoh. The other four-fifths you may keep as seed for the fields and as food for yourselves and your households and your children,” Genesis (chapter 47, verse 24, the New International Version.)

America was tax-free for much of its early history. This changed at the time of the Civil War, when large debts were incurred to fund the war against the South. In order to help pay for the war, the Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1861. The tax was levied on incomes exceeding $800 and was not rescinded until 1872.

In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution was introduced to pave the way to an income tax by removing the proportional to population clause. It was quickly followed by an income tax on people with an annual income of over $3,000. This tax touched less than 1% of Americans.

World War I led to three Revenue Acts that cranked up tax rates and lowered the exemption levels. The number of people paying taxes in the U.S. increased to 5%, and separate taxes were introduced for estates and business profits.

By 1940, the need for the U.S. to prepare for war and support its allies led to even more aggressive taxation. People with incomes of $500 faced a 23% tax and the rates climbed up to 94%. By 1945 $43 million Americans paid tax and the yearly receipts were in excess of $45 billion, up from $9 billion in 1941.

Who Pays the Most Tax Today?

The most recent IRS data, from 2016, shows that the top 10 percent of income earners pay almost 70 percent of federal income taxes.

Looking at all federal taxes, the Congressional Budget Office shows that the top 1 percent pay an average federal tax rate of 33.3 percent. The data show tax rates decline with income, and the poorest 20 percent of the population pays an average tax rate of just 1.7 percent.

In Part 2, we will focus on the exceptional advantages of using PPLI with real estate. As always, we welcome your comments and questions.

by Michael Malloy, CLU TEP RFC, @ Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc

Michael Malloy-CLU-TEP

 

 

 

#michaelmalloy #PPLI #EWP #privateplacement #lifeinsurance #advancedfinancialsolutions