San Diego
15 March 2017
Reporter: Becky Butcher

A bright future for micro captives


Captive insurance professionals launched a staunch defence of 831(b) insurers at the Captive Insurance Companies Association (CICA) International Conference in light of the US Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) renewed interest in them.

Dana Sheridan, general counsel and chief compliance officer of Active Captive Management, said that small- and medium-sized entities are having a hard time of it right now simply because there is a misperception in Washington DC about the captive industry.

Sheridan said: “The IRS admits in Notice 2016-66 that they don’t actually know who the bad ones are, and they list stuff that they think is bad and request to hear from everyone required.”

Released in November 2016, Notice 2016-66 formally labelled 831(b) captives as ‘transactions of interest’. The IRS required them to report to the federal agency by 30 January 2017 due to their potential for tax avoidance or evasion. That deadline was subsequently pushed back to May.

The IRS has long been worried that captive arrangements such as those that elect to be taxed under Section 831(b) are fronts for tax avoidance or evasion. The IRS named micro captives in its annual ‘Dirty Dozen’ tax scam list in February, for the third year in a row.

Jeffrey Simpson, director at law firm Gordon, Fournaris & Mammarella, suggested that the captive insurance industry needs one or two examples for guidance and to provide standards before it can readjust.

He said: “If there is anything that we as an industry need to do differently, we will do that accordingly, and if the IRS needs to adjust, they will do that. I think there is a bright future for 831(b) captives.”

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