PPLI and Understanding

How do we achieve understanding?

Part 1

 Our next five articles will comprise an in-depth look at the five main components of our PPLI Concept Map: Professor PPLI to the Rescue. 

How we arrive at understanding is a process that is comprised of several steps. Since the main function of our firm, Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc., is using Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) to structure the assets of wealthy families, we must impart an understanding of PPLI daily. Let us examine what we do to achieve the exceptional results that we accomplish for these families in using PPLI.

First, let us look at an academic definition of understanding from Wikipedia.

“Understanding is a psychological process related to an abstract or physical object, such as a person, situation, or message whereby one is able to think about it and use concepts to deal adequately with that object. Understanding is a relation between the knower and an object of understanding. Understanding implies abilities and dispositions with respect to an object of knowledge that are sufficient to support intelligent behavior.

Understanding is often, though not always, related to learning concepts, and sometimes also the theory or theories associated with those concepts. However, a person may have a good ability to predict the behavior of an object, animal or system—and therefore may, in some sense, understand it—without necessarily being familiar with the concepts or theories associated with that object, animal or system in their culture. They may have developed their own distinct concepts and theories, which may be equivalent, better or worse than the recognized standard concepts and theories of their culture. Thus, understanding is correlated with the ability to make inferences.”

Understanding is a relation between the knower and an object of understanding.” This is key. This “relation between the knower and an object of understanding” is something one must find out in the midst of explaining a concept like PPLI to a client. One might call the process divining their attitude towards the topic in the midst of explaining the concept to the client.

This is most readily heard in a tone of voice, and seen in body language. When a client does not understand something or his or her interest wanes, it is time to switch to another way of explaining the topic.

The advisor in our Concept Map has not given this client a satisfactory explanation of PPLI, and the client is not shy about letting him know his feelings!  Perhaps this client was not given the basics of PPLI, and this is the source of his consternation.

Let us proceed to an excellent source of knowledge about PPLI that does give the basics and more, “Using Life Insurance and Annuities in U.S. Tax Planning for Foreign Clients by Leslie C. Giordani, Esq., Michael H. Ripp, Jr., Esq., and Mari M. Reed, Esq.* Giordani, Swanger, Ripp & Phillips LLP Austin, Texas from The Tax Management Journal. This article discusses the use of PPLI for non-U.S. persons from a U.S. tax perspective.

INTRODUCTION: AN ELEGANT SOLUTION TO DIFFICULT PROBLEMS

U.S. tax planning for foreign clients involves complex issues and even more complicated rules. Advanced planning can, however, provide significant opportunities for clients to minimize or avoid costly tax consequences. The issues faced by these clients include high tax liabilities associated with potential accumulation distributions from undistributed net income earned in foreign trusts and taxation of an NRA’s U.S.-source income and an NRNC’s U.S.-situated assets.

As discussed in this article, investing a foreign client’s funds in a life insurance or an annuity policy can provide an elegant solution to many of these issues and numerous additional benefits. Life insurance and, to a lesser extent, annuities have long been favored under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Further, life insurance and annuities can be used as: (1) estate planning tools to mitigate estate tax liability and facilitate the orderly disposition of assets at death; (2) asset security vehicles, offering both financial privacy and protection from future creditors; and (3) mechanisms to augment the philanthropic goals of charity-minded clients.

In some cases, life insurance and annuities can also reduce or defer clients’ income tax liabilities through tax-free growth inside properly structured policies and via the avoidance of taxes and penalties associated with certain distributions from foreign non-grantor trusts. Finally, investing in life insurance or an annuity contract can also ease clients’ income tax compliance burdens. This article addresses the ways in which life insurance and annuities can be employed to maximize the benefits of these powerful planning tools, focusing on ways to minimize or avoid U.S. income and transfer taxes for foreign clients. We will examine the fundamentals of life insurance and annuities including the various types of life insurance available in the marketplace and basic structuring issues relating to annuities.

We will discuss the U.S. tax rules that must be satisfied for a contract to qualify as life insurance or an annuity and, in some cases, a variable contract. We will analyze the U.S. income tax treatment and estate tax treatment of life insurance and annuities. Finally, we will discuss applications of life insurance and annuity planning to several key international estate planning topics, including the use of foreign trusts, pre-immigration planning, and the benefits of annuities for temporary U.S. residents.

Understanding Includes Trust

The process of understanding also must include some element of trust. This is mostly built over a period of time, but even at the initial client/advisor meeting this bridge must be crossed by the client for the relationship to continue.

In her excellent articles, “Notes from Caroline,” Caroline Garnham a London attorney who works with UHNW clients, gives us a story about a client that gives us an insight into the world of a UHNW client. The story reveals a certain aspect of this element of trust which is stated succinctly in the aphorism: to understand a person one must walk in the other person’s shoes. Ms. Garnham does an excellent job of describing what it is like to walk in the shoes of an UHNW client.

“George a PR agent, who acts for one of the wealthiest people in the Sunday Times Rich List, arranged to meet his client in a country golf club. George arrived at the agreed time, but still hovering above him was his client’s helicopter and it wasn’t making an approach to land. George phoned to find out why.

The client refused to land due to a charge of £95. George offered to pay – he hadn’t spent two hours travelling to a far-flung golf club only to have the meeting cancelled. The client – in a rage – refused to let him pay. This was a matter of principle. So, George had to plead with the golf club to waive its fee which it eventually did, and George’s client finally landed.

Surely the golf club should be encouraging their members to arrive by helicopter and governments should encourage the rich to live in their country, as it adds cachet to the club. By charging a fee, the club was in severe danger of losing one of their most prestigious members, purely through greed. Their thinking was if you can afford a helicopter you afford a landing fee. As in France – if you are wealthy you can pay a wealth tax. It’s like saying if you drive to the club in a Bentley you pay a parking fee, but if you arrive in a Toyota you don’t.

UHNW individuals are being fingered for money ALL THE TIME. It is hardly surprising therefore that they fly off the handle and appear difficult when they are being fleeced for yet more cash. Being pestered for money is a way of life for them, and most of them hate it, which is why they want to preserve their privacy and live in countries which appreciate their contribution.

We may watch their antics with surprise, but most of us do not know what it is like to be wealthy. However, as advisers, we need to understand them.

UHNW individuals are looking for people they can trust. But trustworthy people cannot be bought with money, because their precious quality is an attitude rather than a product. UHNWs want advisers who care for them, who see them as people rather than money mountains. Unfortunately, there are many organisations which stifle any attempt on well-meaning advisers to provide a personal service for their clients.”

One wise person said that, “We have two ears, and one mouth, because we need to listening twice as much as we speak.” It is not possible to present PPLI to a client unless one knows how they think about it. The advisor finds out by listening to what the client says and not giving a lecture.

Obviously, the understanding that we speak about has not been achieved here, so please follow us to Part 2, and find out more. We hope you enjoy this new format, and look forward to increasing your understanding about PPLI. Please contact us for a free initial consultation.

 

~ by Michael Malloy, CLU, TEP

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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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Positive and Beneficial Influence

PPLI Achieves Both

A Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) structure exerts a positive and beneficial interest on the assets which it holds. Let us examine how this is accomplished, and also what it means to exert influence. Babies and small children learn very soon how to exert influence on their parents.

I was having dinner with a five year old and his parents recently, and when the five year old ceased to be the center of the conversation, he would emphatically say, “I have something very important to tell you.” Of course, our conversation would cease and the five year old was very pleased!

PPLI achieves this benign influence over assets by employing the six key elements of Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP). I would say that this influence is much greater than benign–it is transformative. Let us briefly state the importance of these six elements in creating a transformative PPLI policy structure.

Privacy  This is a key element. With FATCA, CRS, and Registers of Beneficial Ownership our clients are looking for ways to keep their affairs private, and still be compliant with tax authorities worldwide. But as you know, it takes study and constant attention to detail to create a proper structure.

Tax Shield  In high tax jurisdictions, a tax shield is important. Why pay more tax than is necessary? If there is a PPLI structure than can give you a tax-free environment wouldn’t it be desired by our clients?

Asset Protection  Asset protection is an element that almost all clients seek. Making their assets inaccessible to former spouses, creditors, and those seeking to claim them without legal authority. An excellently crafted PPLI structure can also accomplish this for them.

Succession Planning  Especially in jurisdictions that have forced heirship rules, succession planning is vital to clients. Most clients wish to distribute their assets according to their wishes and not according to a plan that they don’t agree with.

Compliance Simplifier  In today’s world attempting to hide assets only draws more attention to them. Most clients wish to be compliant with the world’s tax authorities, and at the same time keep as much privacy as possible. Finding our way in this maze of regulations is an important element.

Trust Substitute  In some jurisdictions, in particular, those that use civil law as opposed to common law, a trust substitute would be useful. Why create an entity that in the end will just be ignored by tax and legal authorities? Why not have a PPLI structure that works both in civil and common law jurisdictions?

In the realm of politics, lobbying government officials is a method of attempting to exert influence. There is an outcry of concern when this influence is considered undue influence, and this is defined differently throughout the world. What is lobbying in one country might be considered bribery in another country.

This article by Julie Bykowicz caught our eye this week in one of our favorite publications, The Wall Street Journal,

“The New Lobbying: Qatar Targeted 250 Trump ‘Influencers’ to Change U.S. Policy. Blockaded by Mideast neighbors, the emirate employed an unconventional lobbying campaign to win over an unconventional U.S. president.”

 

“Longtime New York restaurateur Joey Allaham visited Manhattan’s Park East Synagogue late last year with an offer for lawyer Alan Dershowitz. Come visit Doha, the capital of Qatar, by invitation of the emir.

Mr. Dershowitz says he hadn’t met Mr. Allaham before and initially demurred before agreeing to go. The professor also didn’t know he was on a list of 250 people Mr. Allaham says he and his lobbying-business partner, Nick Muzin, identified as influential in President Trump’s orbit.

The list was part of a new type of lobbying campaign Qatar adopted after Mr. Trump sided with its Persian Gulf neighbors who had imposed a blockade on the tiny nation. Qatar wanted to restore good relations with the U.S., Mr. Allaham says. Win over Mr. Trump’s influencers, the thinking went, and the president would follow.”

We look forward to lobbying on your behalf to create a PPLI structure that employs all six of the key elements of EWP.

Please let us know how we can serve you to this end. Place your comments at the end of this post and sign up to get updates.

 

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

 

 

Michael Malloy, CLU, TEP

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