PPLI AND JURISDICTIONAL ISSUES

Whose Jurisdiction Is This? Private Placement Life Insurance Defines and Simplifies

A proper understanding of jurisdictional issues is key to a successful Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) structure. One cannot simply take the assets of wealthy international families and move them offshore and expect a good result. The tax residence of the family is paramount, as well as the tax residence of the beneficiaries. A PPLI structure that is successful in one country, might not work in another. These factors must be thoroughly researched for the wealthy international family to have a successful PPLI structure. Since these PPLI structures tend to be long-term the necessity for this thorough research is even more compelling.

What are the areas that must be looked at to produce a successful outcome? The jurisdictional issues involved in all these areas must be addressed: tax treaties; tax laws; insurance laws; forced heirship issues, trust domicile; location of the assets; and tax reporting issues.

For our examples which illustrate jurisdictional issues, we give you one news story and excerpts from an excellent scholarly article: “GILTI: “Made in America” for European Tax Unilateral Measures, Excess Profits & the International Tax Competition Game” by  G. Charles Beller, UVA Law School, Class of 2018, Virginia Tax Review (forthcoming 2019).

As you will read our news story demonstrates how an unwanted intrusion by one jurisdiction into another can produce a very bad result. In the area of international taxation, individual countries are now competing with each other for international tax dollars. Governments are looking for a system that avoids unwanted intrusions at any level and respects the sovereignty rights of each country.

A key question posited by this article is: “How does Global Intangible Low-tax Income (GILTI), the U.S. global minimum tax on excess profits introduced with the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s” (TCJA) fit into the larger debate about international tax avoidance, “harmful tax competition,” and taxation in the “digital economy”? As you will read, the article reaches a compelling new paradigm, partial developed from game theory, that could be a model for future international tax transactions.

Here are some key points from the article:

“Rather than perpetuate trans-Atlantic hostilities as Europe and the OECD consider the “digital economy,” the U.S. tax and business communities should explain how GILTI promotes beneficial competition on productive factors, discourages base erosion and profit shifting by U.S. multinationals (MNEs), and provides cover for European and other developed countries to modernize international tax rules consistent with longstanding principles of tax territoriality.

Political developments in the European Union and OECD suggest that EU member states need not feel guilty about leveraging a GILTI-esque minimum tax tool to combat the challenging issues facing international taxation in the digital age. Indeed, Germany has suggested a GILTI like minimum tax tool as part of a multilateral OECD proposal to confront challenges in taxing the “digital economy” – “a kind of BEPS 2.0” that utilizes U.S. unilateral action to facilitate multilateral cooperation.

At the heart of the controversy over GILTI, “Digital Taxation,” and the larger BEPS project is a debate about the propriety and benefits of tax competition. While tax competition is a controversial concept among economists and tax lawyers, recent scholarship provides a typology to talk productively about tax competition.

This paper draws on the theory of tax competition and language of international tax neutrality to argue that international tax policy must be viewed through the lens of “national welfare” when considering strategic incentives and thus positive predictions about nation state behavior in the international tax competition game.

Viewing tax competition and GILTI’s global minimum tax through the prism of game theory yields important insights into the potential for unilateral U.S. action to alleviate global collective action problems. An important question in evaluating GILTI is whether it enables potential cooperative behavior among developed economies through signaling and minimum standards by a sovereign with “pricing” power to set global rate and base terms for MNEs.

In short, is GILTI a harmful unilateral measures that undermines cooperative efforts in the OECD and EU? Or is GILTI like FACTA — a veiled if unsolicited gift for developed EU economies? This paper answers these questions and highlights the potential of a global minimum tax on excess profits to further debate about international taxation in a digitized economy while retaining foundational principles of tax territoriality.

Sovereignty and multilateralism have become buzzwords defining battle lines in a global debate about political ideology and international relations. International tax policy is a technical field that must skirt ideological battles and avoid aligning with “pure” multilateralism or “radical” unilateralism. While BEPS took an ideological position in arguing that cooperation stands in conflict with unilateralism, this paper shows how unilateral measures can foster beneficial cooperation in certain areas of the international tax policy.

As the FACTA/BEPS histories and GILTI parallels suggest, cooperative action is facilitated under certain scenarios through unilateral action with cooperative potential. Global minimum tax rates can operate as a sovereign cartel tool without clear efficiencies for productive factor competition or tax diversity. GILTI takes a different approach. It does not attempt to impose a global minimum tax rate by way of multilateral horse-trading. Instead, GILTI implements a resident based global minimum tax on excess profits that enables productive factor competition. Moreover, GILTI respects traditional principles of tax sovereignty and territoriality. GILTI’s resident based global minimum tax allows competing sovereigns to set their own rate and base terms. GILTI merely limits the benefit that foreign source rates confer on resident foreign profits.

As a result, GILTI’s resident global minimum tax tool shifts international tax competition away from a cat and mouse game of tracking down and labelling “tax havens” or “harmful” tax competition. Instead, the hunt for “harmful” tax competition is replaced with a productive experiment among competing sovereigns for a diverse array of resident benefits that allow domestic firms to exploit excess profits at home and abroad. Under GILTI (and similar tax tools), resident MNEs share the surplus of excess foreign profits with the resident sovereigns that make those profits possible. By enabling resident sovereigns to share in excess profits while at the same time limiting the tax benefit of foreign low tax rates, GILTI furthers productive factor competition.

As EU member states seeks to develop international tax policy for the “digital age,” productive factor competition should be a primary goal. Moreover, Europe must avoid a “two-hemisphere” mindset that targets digital tax revenues earned in the EU while dismissing identical proposals from developing countries targeting European revenues around the globe. GILTI bolsters productive factor competition while retaining the foundational principles of tax territoriality and sovereignty that protect resident firms when operating in foreign markets. That’s why GILTI is a tax tool “Made in America” for European tax.”

Our news story demonstrates a more confrontational jurisdictional dispute with a sad ending:  “American Missionary Killed by Isolated Tribe Wrote of Confrontation With the Group,” by Corinne Abrams and Rajesh Roy of the Wall Street Journal.

“As American missionary John Allen Chau sat aboard a boat near a remote Indian Ocean island known for its violent and isolated inhabitants, he wrote a message to his mother and father he made clear might be his last.

“You guys might think I’m crazy in all this but I think it’s worth it to declare Jesus to these people,” he wrote Friday. “Please do not be angry at them or at God if I get killed—rather please live your lives in obedience to whatever He has called you to and I’ll see you again.”

Within a day, Mr. Chau was missing. Five fishermen who took him to North Sentinel Island said they saw the body of someone resembling him being buried under the sand by members of the tribe that allegedly killed him.

Mr. Chau, 26, was visiting the island in India’s Andaman and Nicobar archipelago to try to spread the word of God, according to diary entries released by police.

The tribe has a long history of violent resistance to outsiders and is protected by laws that bar visitors from docking boats within 5 nautical miles (5.75 miles) of the shore.

Mr. Chau’s Instagram page shows a young man passionate about travel and new experiences. In July, he posted photos taken from a canoe and from a diving expedition with the hashtag #Andamans. Many of his posts are hashtagged #Solideogloria, the Latin phrase for Glory to God Alone.

In the journal, Mr. Chau wrote that he was on a mission to establish a kingdom of Jesus, Dependra Pathak, director general of police in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands said. Instead, he died during a “misplaced adventure in the highly restricted area,” Mr. Pathak wrote in a statement.

The islanders, part of the Sentinelese tribe whose origins date back tens of thousands of years, have a long history of hostile reactions to outsiders.

“They are very aggressive and violent. Anyone trying to access the area gets showered with arrows,” Mr. Pathak said.”

Luckily, at Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc. our job is not to decide what is right and proper for one jurisdiction in its relationships with other jurisdictions. Our job is to arrange the jurisdictional elements of PPLI structuring to achieve the best possible result for our clients. From our years of experience, this best possible result is a combination of outstanding tax savings, privacy enhancements, and asset protection benefits. We would like to help you achieve these benefits too. Please contact us with your worldwide asset structuring needs.

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

 

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Jurisdictions Are Key to Non-953(d) Policies

PPLI: Two Sides of One Face, Part II

Understanding the jurisdictions where wealthy international families operate is essential to Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP). EWP is the over-arching philosophy of our firm’s planning. In Part I of our topic we explored the using a 953(d) compliant PPLI policy. Here we will discuss some uses of the non-953(d) PPLI policy, and how its increased flexibility can solve many planning issues.

Sometimes we tie our blog to a current topic in the news, and this week is no exception. “U.S. on Course to Land on European Tax Blacklist: EU Official” is what caught our eye. The article is by Joe Kirwin courtesy of Bloomberg.

What the OECD finds objectionable in the U.S., can be accomplished using a non-953(d) PPLI policy, and still be fully compliant. This is the case even if the U.S. were to fully acquiesce to the OECD’s objections, and change its existing regulations.  More on this below.

We will illustrate our points with an example. Mr. LeGrand is a wealthy entrepreneur with several companies that operate outside the U.S. He wishes to pass these companies to his daughter, Angela, who resides in the U.S. Mr. LeGrand also wishes to give Angela access to the profits of these non-U.S. companies in a tax-free manner.  Angela is active in operating these companies. This can all be accomplished using a non-953(d) PPLI policy.

Key elements in this planning scenario are diversification and investor control regulations. These regulations must be strictly complied with for a 953(d) PPLI policy or all is for naught.  In the example of Mr. LeGrand, we used a non-953(d) PPLI policy, and the insurance company is domiciled in Barbados. The diversification and investor control regulations do not exist in the Barbados tax and insurance code.

Mr. LeGrand can generate profits from his companies on a tax-deferred basis, and continue to operate these companies himself.  He also does not have to diversify his holdings as he would on a 953(d) compliant PPLI policy.

Now back to our news article, and a few key paragraphs from it:

“If the U.S. doesn’t agree by June 2019 to exchange the bank account details of non-U.S. citizens with governments around the world, it will be placed on the European Union’s tax haven blacklist.

The U.S. is on the clock as the 2019 deadline nears for adopting and applying the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s common reporting standard, Valere Moutarlier, the EU’s head of direct taxation, told a new European Parliament tax investigative committee May 15. The Paradise Papers panel was set up in March following a data leak of more than 13 million files detailing the way wealthy individuals and large companies avoid taxes via offshore structures, such as trusts.”

In our example of the LeGrand family, a bank account can be opened by the insurance company, who becomes the beneficial owner of the assets that Mr. LeGrand places inside his PPLI policy. Mr. LeGrand’s assets are held by the bank in separate accounts in his name, therefore, he can access the account for his own purposes.

Back to Angela.  How can she receive funds from the companies tax-free?  Since all assets are inside a properly structured PPLI policy, funds withdrawn from the PPLI have been re-characterized as tax-free loans and not profits subject to taxation.

Angela simple makes these loans for a 25 bps charge, and the loan balance is subtracted from the death benefit when the insured passes. Angela will receive the companies as a tax-free death benefit at the passing of the insured life under the policy.

All questions and comments are greatly appreciated. Please let us know how we can assist you in crafting structures similar to the one used for the  LeGrand family.

 

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

 

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PPLI in Puerto Rico

A unique jurisdiction for enhanced privacy

With the increased pressure on privacy issues in international tax planning, advisors now frequently ask me to assist them with clients who wish to protect their privacy, but also wish to be compliant with The Common Reporting Standard (CRS), and the Financial Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)
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Our firm now has such a structure which involves structuring Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) issued in Puerto Rico.

At  Advanced Financial Solutions Inc., we are now resolved to use this structure for clients who have a legitimate need for privacy while in all other respects are compliant in relation to FATCA and CRS, clients that would pass Anti money laundering (AML), Know your customer (KYC) and other forms of due diligence that are necessary to corroborate this fact.

This white paper is an attempt to give the basic elements of this structure, and why our firm thinks it is a useful tool in preserving a legitimate right to privacy. In Article 12 of The United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Ri ghts it states:

“No one shall besubjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor
to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of
the law against such interference or attacks.”

Why Puerto Rico?

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. Under FATCA the Intergovernmental Agreements (IGA’s) definition of the United States excludes the territories. Therefore, US territories do not reciprocate the Automatic Exchange of  Information (AEI).

“Territory Financial Institutions” in the FACTA regulations also have a special status which exempts them from reporting.
The fact that Puerto Rico is statutorily excluded from existing and future IGAs is significant. This fact gives Puerto Rico a very marked advantage for structuring over no state tax jurisdictions in the US like Delaware, North Dakota, and Nevada.

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