Captive – Reduce Taxes and Build Wealth

For business owners paying taxes in the United States, captive insurance companies reduce taxes, build wealth and improve insurance protection. A captive (CIC) is similar in many ways to any other . It is referred to as “captive” because it generally provides insurance to one or more related operating businesses. With captive insurance, premiums paid by a business are retained in the same “economic family”, instead of being paid to an outsider.

Two key tax benefits enable a structure containing a CIC to build wealth efficiently: (1) insurance premiums paid by a business to the CIC are tax deductible; and (2) under IRC § 831(b), the CIC receives up to $1.2 million of premium payments annually income-tax-free. In other words, a business owner can shift taxable income out of an operating business into the low-tax captive insurer. An 831(b) CIC pays taxes only on income from its investments. The “dividends received deduction” under IRC § 243 provides additional tax efficiency for dividends received from its corporate stock investments.

Starting about 60 years ago, the first captive insurance companies were formed by large corporations to provide insurance that was either too expensive or unavailable in the conventional insurance market.

Over the years, a combination of US tax laws, court cases and IRS rulings has clearly defined the steps and procedures required for the establishment and operation of a CIC by one or more business owners or professionals.

To qualify as an for tax purposes, a captive must satisfy “risk shifting” and “risk distribution” requirements. This is easily done through routine CIC planning. The insurance provided by a CIC must really be insurance, that is, a genuine risk of loss must be shifted from the premium-paying operating business to the CIC that insures the risk.In addition to tax benefits, principal advantages of a CIC include increased control and increased flexibility, which improve insurance protection and lower cost. With conventional insurance, an outside carrier typically dictates all aspects of a policy. Often, certain risks cannot be insured conventionally, or can only be insured at a prohibitive price. Conventional insurance rates are often volatile and unpredictable, and conventional insurers are prone to deny valid claims by exaggerating petty technicalities. Also, although business insurance premiums are generally deductible, once they are paid to a conventional outside insurer, they are gone forever.

A captive efficiently insures risk in various ways, such as through customized insurance policies, favorable “wholesale” rates from reinsurers, and pooled risk. Captive companies are well suited for insuring risk that would otherwise be uninsurable. Most businesses have conventional “retail” insurance policies for obvious risks, but remain exposed and subject to damages and loss from numerous other risks (i.e., they “self insure” those risks). A captive company can write customized policies for a business’s peculiar insurance needs and negotiate directly with reinsurers. A CIC is particularly well-suited to issue business casualty policies, that is, policies that cover business losses claimed by a business and not involving third-party claimants. For example, a business might insure itself against losses incurred through business interruptions arising from weather, labor problems or computer failure.

As noted above, an 831(b) CIC is exempt from taxes on up to $1.2 million of premium income annually. As a practical matter, a CIC makes economic sense when its annual receipt of premiums is about $300,000 or more. Also, a business’s total payments of insurance premiums should not exceed 10 percent of its annual revenues. A group of businesses or professionals having similar or homogeneous risks can form a multiple-parent captive (or group captive) and/or join a risk retention group (RRG) to pool resources and risks.

A captive is a separate entity with its own identity, management, finances and capitalization requirements. It is organized as an , having procedures and personnel to administer insurance policies and claims. An initial feasibility study of a business, its finances and its risks determines if a CIC is appropriate for a particular economic family. An actuarial study identifies appropriate insurance policies, corresponding premium amounts and capitalization requirements. After selection of a suitable jurisdiction, application for an insurance license may proceed. Fortunately, competent service providers have developed “turnkey” solutions for conducting the initial evaluation, licensing, and ongoing management of captive insurance companies. The annual cost for such turnkey services is typically about $50,000 to $150,000, which is high but readily offset by reduced taxes and enhanced investment growth.

A captive may be organized under the laws of one of several offshore jurisdictions or in a domestic jurisdiction (i.e., in one of 39 US states). Some captives, such as a risk retention group (RRG), must be licensed domestically. Generally, offshore jurisdictions are more accommodating than domestic insurance regulators. As a practical matter, most offshore CICs owned by a US taxpayer elect to be treated under IRC § 953(d) as a domestic company for federal taxation. An offshore CIC, however, avoids state income taxes. The costs of licensing and managing an offshore CIC are comparable to or less than doing so domestically. More importantly, an offshore company offers better asset protection opportunities than a domestic company. For example, an offshore irrevocable trust owning an offshore captive provides asset protection against creditors of the business, grantor and other beneficiaries while allowing the grantor to enjoy benefits of the trust.For US business owners paying substantial insurance premiums every year, a captive efficiently reduces taxes and builds wealth and can be easily integrated into asset protection and estate planning structures. Up to $1.2 million of taxable income can be shifted as deductible insurance premiums from an operating business to a low-tax CIC.

Warning & Disclaimer: This is not legal or tax advice.

Internal Revenue Service Circular 230 Disclosure: As provided for in Treasury regulations, advice (if any) relating to federal taxes that is contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (1) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (2) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.

Copyright 2011 – Thomas Swenson

How to Select the Right Car ?

Car insurance is mandatory for all car drivers and they should have at least the minimum coverage limits for car insurance that the state law demands. You should also consider additional coverages like collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, uninsured/underinsurance motorist coverage, medical payments coverage, etc. At the same time, it is very important to select the right car . You have to ensure that the is reliable and would treat you properly when you file any claim on your car insurance in case of an auto accident.

Visit the Website of Department of Insurance of Your StateEach state in the U.S. has a separate department of insurance and the department would have its own website. Such websites normally publish complaint ratios by consumers for all the insurance companies operating in that state. This ratio would give you an idea how many complaints that any company has received per 1,000 accident claims filed with the . Experts on auto insurance assert that you should compare the complaint ratios of several companies to decide about their reliability.

Compare Car Insurance Rates of Several Companies

All these companies have their own websites and it is very easy to obtain the cost of coverage for various types of coverages by visiting their website. You should get hold of the premium quotes of as many companies in your area as possible.

Comparison of Auto Insurance Quotes and Complaint Ratios

When you have this list of such companies with lowest quotes, you should compare their complaint ratios. These companies that are able to offer the lowest quote and are also low in complaint ratios are the ideal companies that you could personally approach. At the same time, you should not decide by the complaint ratio of an in your state. That might have lower complaint rates in your state but have very high complaint rates in many other states. It is always better to avoid such companies always. Hence, your search for complaint rates should be a national comparison and not just your state alone.Enquire with Auto Repair Workshops

Auto repair workshops that you know very well are also a good source to select a company for auto insurance. They interact regularly with these companies for car repair claims and they would be able to inform you about the companies that have smooth claim processes.

How To Choose The Most Desirable And Cheapest Life Insurance Plans

Finding the cheapest life insurance policy is an important consideration in these times of economic uncertainty. If you have children or other dependents you should not think about foregoing a policy as should the worst happen your family may be left with no financial means to support themselves.

There are in fact a number of different options that you could explore when checking out the type of policies that are available. For example there are term premiums that would offer a lump sum to the beneficiaries if you were to leave this mortal coil before a certain amount of time has elapsed. Another option is the whole life plans that can guarantee financial security to your dependents no matter what age you reach.

When exploring the various options you will discover that today there are in fact a huge number of providers who you could sign up with. You will need to make certain that the option you can pick is affordable yet still offers the type of security you would expect from a life insurance plan.

The issue with locating what can be termed a cheap plan is that it should still offer a suitable payout when time dictates. If you are the type of individual that usually seeks out an insurance company that is known to you, the chance of getting a good deal may be lessened. The best option would be to find a company that gives the best policy for your budget and which offers the kind of features that you desire.

Before you put your signature on any contract you should do a background check into the insurer in question. There are many ways this can be done. One option is to contact the Better Business Bureau to find out whether any complaints have been made against the insurer. If there is a long list of unhappy customers you should take your business elsewhere.

The internet has dramatically altered the amount of effort and time that is required when searching for cheapest life insurance plans. You can log on to third party websites that can provide information relating to the best plans and deals that are currently available. When considering all the options it is vital that you provide accurate information as if you do not the policy you sign up for may not be as desirable when it comes to being cashed in and by then it will be too late to make changes.