US 20100169129 A1
The invention relates to a program that administers a method of funding life insurance policies using annuities that are purchased at least in part using borrowed money, using business and trust structures to reduce and/or eliminate tax. This investing can be done either directly by the policy or through the trust and/or other business entity. As an internal investment of the insurance policy the income generated by the annuity and the inside build-up are non-income taxable to the owner of the policy. The resulting death benefits will also be non-income taxable to the beneficiary.
1. A method of combining life insurance and annuities within a computer system, comprising:
purchasing an annuity and a life insurance policy using said borrowed money;
paying premiums for said life insurance policy using income from said annuities;
making payments on said borrowed money using income from said annuities; and
maintaining inside build-up within said life insurance policy using said computer system.
This application claims priority to provisional applications 60/246,755 and 60/286,344, and is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/154,572, filed Jun. 17, 2005, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/986,670, filed Nov. 9, 2001 (patented as U.S. Pat. No. 6,950,805) and incorporates the contents of those applications by reference.
The present invention relates to a method and apparatus for administering life insurance policies using annuities for funding, while realizing substantial tax advantages.
In the past, private individuals and businesses currently use annuities as funding sources for insurance policies. However, the income tax ramifications as well as the lack of a system to administer such transactions on a large scale significantly limit the market for such purchases.
Individuals and charities or otherwise tax-exempt organizations have been approached with a number of systems over the years that employ the use of insurance products. There are three primary reasons that most of these systems have been unsuccessful.
First, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service has attacked many systems involving life insurance products. Tax-exempt organizations in particular must be careful not to engage in any activities that may endanger their tax-exempt status. Second, individuals and tax-exempt organizations will not generally use their existing resources to fund directly or to be used as a guarantee for the funding of such arrangements. This is because these arrangements generally do not meet their criteria for investing. Third, simplified tools necessary to administer these very complex strategies are generally not available.
There are two types of annuities relevant to this specification, deferred and immediate. Deferred annuities differ from immediate annuities in the following way. Deferred annuities “defer” payments to the investor and immediate annuities have payments to the investor that start “immediately”. Annuities were originally designed as immediate annuities because customers desired income for as long as they lived. However, as customers' interests evolved, holders of annuities desired to start their income stream at some point in the future rather than immediately, perhaps after the death of a spouse. Consequently, they put money in an annuity at present, let an insurance company invest it, and at some point in the future convert the annuity from a deferred compensation plan to an immediate compensation model. That's how the name “deferred annuity” arose because the first payment to the investor is deferred to some point in the future.
Presently, the majority of annuities that are sold are deferred annuities. The primary reason for their current popularity is that the earnings accumulate on a tax deferred basis. Thus, many customers use them strictly as a tax efficient investment vehicle. However, annuity contracts always have the right to convert it in some cases must convert at a certain age to an immediate annuity, primarily for tax reasons. Specifically, customers use annuities to defer their income tax. An immediate annuity yields an immediate income stream. Immediate is defined by the IRS as an annuity where the first payment starts within one year, i.e. within one year of the first annuity investment.
If the first payment is deferred for more than one year, it's not treated as an immediate annuity for tax reasons. It becomes similar to a deferred annuity. Most importantly, the taxation of payments, and the character of the taxation changes, with a corresponding change in the tax consequences.
Furthermore, an immediate annuity income stream can be based on life expectancy. An 81 year old has a shorter life expectancy than an 80 year old, thus enhancing the pay out, which is based on life expectancy as determined from actuarial tables. Suppose a customer gives an insurance company $100 (setting aside interest and profit). Suppose also the person had a life expectancy of ten years. The insurance company then states agrees to give that person $10 a year for the rest of their life.
Such an arrangement is, for tax purposes, characterized as a return of principal and not as taxable earnings. In an actual immediate annuity arrangement with a commercial life insurance company, the insurance company also adds interest and this interest is taxable. Also, once the principal amount has been fully returned, the entire annuity payout is taxable. Since the return of principal is completed at life expectancy, all income from the annuity after life expectancy is fully taxable. This constitutes a major increase in the tax obligation for those individuals that live past their life expectancy.
The reason the insurance company can guarantee a life income is the law of large numbers. Actuaries can tell statistically how many people are going to die before their life expectancy, and annuity companies get to keep the balance of the money. For the people that die after their life expectancy, they use the money that was saved from the early-deceased people to pay them.
Consider a person who has a five-year life expectancy. When they give the insurance company $100, the insurance company will agree to give them $20 a year for life, which looks like a 20% return guaranteed on an investment. Few other kinds of financial instruments can get a guaranteed for life 20% return on an investment, especially from an AAA rated company. Thus, the rate of return drives the concept of annuities. Another benefit is that if the purchaser lives beyond the life expectancy they win, because they get more money than what they paid. Their estate also wins if they take that income stream and peel off part of it and buy a $100 life insurance policy. This is because if they die in the first year their estate will get their $100 back from the life insurance policy.
The life expectancy of a 30 year old is much longer than an 80 year old; therefore their annuity income stream will be much smaller. Thus, the strategy described earlier would not be practical for a 30 year old because the payout of the annuity would be so low. However, an 80-year-old client can borrow money and get a high enough pay out. A qualified 80-year-old can borrow the $100 and get a high enough pay out from the annuity to pay interest on the loan, and pay the premium on a $120 life insurance policy. When he dies the lender would receive the $100 back. The $20 that's left over goes to his family.
Consequently, the lender receives money in two ways. The first is taking interest payments from the income stream paid by the immediate annuity. Second, a major life insurance company guarantees that the remaining principal will be repaid at death. The basic premise of using an annuity income stream to buy life insurance has been in the public domain for many years.
In view of the foregoing, there exists a need in the art for a system which combines annuities and life insurance in a way that is advantageous for tax purposes. One aspect of the present invention provides a system for combining life insurance and annuities, including borrowing money from a lender, purchasing an annuity and a life insurance policy using the borrowed money, paying premiums for the life insurance policy using income from the annuities, making periodic payments on the borrowed money using income from the annuities, and managing tax consequences of the income within an investment trust. In another aspect of the invention, the investment trust includes a partnership connected to a tax favored entity. In yet another aspect of the invention, the members of the partnership are paid by dividends.
In yet another aspect of the invention, the annuities are purchased from a purchaser's existing assets, and no loan is necessary. In yet another aspect of the invention, the beneficiaries of the life insurance policy or policies are charitable institutions.
The foregoing and other features and advantages of the invention will become more apparent from the detailed description of the exemplary embodiments of the invention given below with reference to the accompanying drawings.
Borrowing money to buy life insurance has been around for a number of years. For example, American General Insurance offers a capital maximization strategy plan to its users to finance life insurance premiums and annuities. The present invention builds upon this basic concept of taking an immediate annuity contract with a life insurance company that pays a guaranteed income stream for a period of time. It does so by using what are called “life only” annuities (or annuities that have a life expectancy component), which means that for as long as one is alive they get a specified amount of money. The insurance company guarantees that money. ‘Life only’ annuities differ from ‘period certain’ annuities. Period certain annuities extend for a specified number of years. The present invention uses only “life only” immediate annuities (or variations that include a life expectancy element). Again, these do not resemble deferred annuities. Immediate annuities are simply a contract for a guaranteed income stream.
Unfortunately, income from an annuity contract that is not the return of basis is fully income taxable. This income tax is a particular problem when the annuitant on an immediate annuity contract lives past their life expectancy. Under those circumstances all of the distributions will be income taxable. The income tax ramifications on the distributions are a major impediment when considering the use of income from an annuity to purchase a life insurance policy.
If a charity or otherwise tax-exempt organization is involved in this type of transaction there is an additional concern. If any money is borrowed to fund any portion of this transaction the charity or otherwise tax-exempt organization could be subject to taxation on the income from the annuity as unrelated business income. This would force the charity to file tax returns on their activities that would not otherwise be required.
Private individuals and businesses currently use annuities as funding sources for insurance policies. However, the income tax ramifications as well as the lack of a system to administer such transactions on a large scale significantly limit the market for such purchases. Charities or otherwise tax-exempt organizations have been approached with a number of systems over the years that employ the use of insurance products.
One target of the present invention is a wealthy person who is considering the purchase of a deferred annuity or has an existing deferred annuity. Because this investment, unlike many other investments, is tax deferred (it is taxable upon distribution) many wealthy clients historically continue to defer any distribution until death. They often choose to spend investment that will be taxed before they spend tax favored investments. When they die their estate or heirs will pay state and federal income tax as well as estate tax. Instead, they could take this deferred annuity, convert it to an immediate annuity and buy life insurance with the resulting income stream. Where this arrangement can be properly structured, the tax-free death benefit would be paid to the heirs from what would have otherwise been substantially taxed.
Suppose the above wealthy individual already owns a deferred annuity generating a significant annual income stream. That individual can convert the annuity from deferred to immediate and use that income stream to buy life insurance. Suppose that individual client dies with a $1 million annuity, they are going to pay state and federal income taxes so that the net yield could go down to $500,000. After paying the estate tax in addition to the income tax, they could wind up with as little as $250,000.
Conversely, a more astute individual would convert that annuity from deferred to an immediate income stream. They'll buy a $1 million life insurance policy, the proceeds of which their children will receive tax-free. Instead of getting $250,000 after tax as described above, if they convert it and buy a life insurance with the income stream (and the arrangement is properly structured), the policy will pay $1 million after tax. Such a maneuver has well known in the industry. In fact, an insurance professional named Barry Kay has written a book on the lending of money using annuities to buy life insurance, entitled “Die Rich and Tax Free” (Forman Publishing, Inc., Santa Monica Calif., ISBN 0-936614-15-3).
However, the above maneuvers, some of which are mentioned in Barry Kay's book, do not account for all of the possible tax consequences, and the target audience for his book is a narrow spectrum of very wealthy persons. The tax consequences are of particular concern when borrowed money is used to facilitate the transaction. When borrowed money is used to buy the immediate annuity, a tax problem exists with the basic transaction. Generally when borrowed money is used to purchase insurance products, the loan interest is not tax deductible. Life insurance premiums are not tax deductible and the annuity income above basis is fully income taxable at ordinary rates. Further, when a charity is involved there is the additional concern that these transactions may be subject to tax under the unrelated business income tax rules that apply to charitable organization that engage in business activities that are not directly related to their charitable activities.
Using borrowed money to purchase an annuity to fund life insurance, however, is not conventional. As an example, a company borrows $100, and then buys a $120 life insurance policy by using part, perhaps $5, of the borrowed money to pay the first year's premium and the first year's interest. Using the remainder of the borrowed money, perhaps $95, they then buy an immediate annuity and the immediate annuity income will pay the ongoing insurance premiums as they come due (most often annually), as well as the ongoing interest and perhaps some principal on the original $100 loan. Suppose the individual has retired $20 of principal of the original $100 loan. At the death of the principal, the insurance policy would pay $120, of which $80 goes to repay the lender for the unretired portion of the loan. The $40 that's left over goes to the principal's family (supposing they are designated as beneficiaries), or a charity. In either case, that $40 would generally be tax free. This transaction would work for older insureds if there were little or no annual income taxes to be paid. However, in the majority of cases there is not sufficient income to pay the annual taxes on the annuity stream and still be able to pay the insurance premium and the interest on the loan. As a result most attempts to combine annuities with life insurance, whether using borrowed money or not, become mathematically impractical.
If the person in
This is because, as stated, once the principal amount has been fully returned, the entire annuity payout is taxable. Since the return of principal is completed at life expectancy, all income from the annuity after life expectancy is fully taxable. This constitutes a major increase in the tax obligation for those individuals that live past their life expectancy.
In this way, all transactions discussed using borrowed money would usually not make economic sense because of their annuity tax implications. The present invention, however, focuses on reducing the tax implication and making it a low tax situation or in some cases a no tax situation.
Part of how these taxes are reduced is through the use of trusts. A trust is a mechanism that allows one to impose some controls over a corpus or resources that a settlor intends to give to an intended beneficiary. The settlor of a trust is the person who intentionally causes the trust to come into existence. The manager of the trust resources, also known as a trustee, has an equitable obligation to keep or use the property for the benefit of a beneficiary.
The trustee (i.e., administering institution such as KDI shown in
A trustee must obey the trust instrument as to the time, amount, form and destination of payments which he is directed or authorized to make from income or principal to the beneficiaries. Thus, the trust instruments of the present invention explicitly state how the annuity stream is to be used to pay the life insurance premiums, and in the embodiments using loans, how those loans are to be repaid, all of which is information which is readily programmed into a computer system as will be discussed in more detail below. Within the present invention, trusts act to isolate the client, beneficiaries, and (where applicable) business entities from the actual financial transactions. Because of this isolation, the trust income is not taxed as personal income to the clients and beneficiaries.
Evidence of this reduction in taxes is illustrated by comparing
All four embodiments of the present invention can use borrowed money to purchase annuity contracts and pay the initial cost of life insurance. This debt is usually non-recourse, although a recourse embodiment exists where the principal guarantees at least part of the loan obligation. The cash flow from the annuity contract is employed to pay ongoing life insurance premiums, interest on the borrowed money, taxes resulting from the taxable portion of the annuity, and other transaction fees including expenses of maintaining the trust and paying the trustees. The net pay out to the beneficiary can be greatly improved by adding an immediate annuity payout to any funds contributed by the insured. The type of annuity is usually life-only, although the present invention also contemplates using a “5 year certain” annuity. The policy risk is reduced since a major institution such as a life insurance company usually guarantees the annuity payouts. However, although the above principles apply to all four embodiments of the present invention, some differences exist between them, as will now be explained.
The first and second embodiments have the annuity purchased by the life insurance policy as an internal investment of the policy (first embodiment), or as an investment of the life insurance company (second embodiment). As shown in
If a large enough number of insureds is accumulated, it is possible that a pool of annuities 302 and loans 316 could eliminate the need for a specific annuity being tied to a specific policy shown in
In the first and second embodiments, the present invention greatly reduces or eliminates income taxes because the annuity portion 302 is built into the life insurance policy 312 and/or the life insurance company (second embodiment) and is going to be paid as part of the death benefit 320, as shown in
The second embodiment differs from the first in tax consequences. In the second embodiment, no inside build-up occurs, and the tax consequences are handled by an insurer 402 shown in
Another difference between embodiments one and two is that a pool of annuities 302 and loans 316 eliminates the need for a specific annuity being tied to a specific policy.
Embodiments three and four include the administration of investing in widely available insurance contracts through a unique trust, business entity and partnership arrangement. This arrangement is employed in order to closely track and direct the income tax liability 502, as shown in
Examples of tax favored entities can include businesses established within the U.S. Virgin Islands, as approved by the U.S. Congress. There are economic development zones also in the continental U.S. as well, such as around some airports. The U.S. Congress has approved for creation other types of tax favored businesses for various reasons. Thus, shifting tax consequences to a tax favored model is encouraged by the U.S. Congress.
In the structure of
Thus, it is advantageous to attach a separate business 509 to the partnership 504. That sub-business 509 purchases annuities 302, borrows money 316 from the lender 318, pays the interest 510, and also buys life insurance policies 512. When the person dies, that partnership 504 will pay the money to that sub-business 509 and, where appropriate, pay off the note (loan) 316 as well as any negatively accrued interest. The balance is then passed down to the main partnership 504, which will then pay a death benefit to the beneficiaries (partners) 324 of that client, part of which was financed by the proceeds from the sub-company 509. The money left over becomes profit, which is distributed to the more tax-advantageous entity 508. The annual income on the annuity income stream 506 is taxable. So even though there is minimal cash flow going down to the partnership 504, there still is some partnership income (K−1). Under normal circumstances, there may be little or no money to pay the tax resulting from that partnership income. However, because the present invention uses the tax-advantageous entity 508, the tax obligation is greatly reduced. Because of this reduction, the minimal cash flow described above is sufficient to pay the tax obligation.
During the year of death of the principal, the net proceeds (which are non-taxable) are passed down to the partnership 504, which pays the amount out as a death benefit 320 to the partners/beneficiaries. Most of the red tape (from a taxation point of view) that would be associated with this death event is removed because the insurance payment is paid as a non-taxable death benefit to a beneficiary 324.
The fourth embodiment differs from the third in that the annuity is purchased by a subsidiary 604 of the tax favored business entity so that the tax obligation is passed to the tax-favored company 508, and the benefit is paid as taxable income in the form of a dividend 602, as shown in
A further modification exists for all four embodiments discussed above. That modification is that borrowed money is not used, but that the annuity is paid for from the assets of the settlor or customer.
Any of either the first, second, third, fourth, or non-lender embodiments described above can be combined with an entity known as a Charitable Endowment Life Insurance Policies (CELIP), although the third embodiment is subject to certain limitations when doing so. As stated earlier, there are three primary concerns for charities in using the financial structure of the present invention. First, tax-exempt organizations must be careful not to engage in any activities that may endanger their tax-exempt status. Second, tax-exempt organizations will not generally use their existing resources to fund directly or to be uses as a guarantee for the funding of insurance products. Many insurance products do not meet their criteria for investing. Third, computerized tools necessary to administer the very complex (both legally and financially) strategies are generally not available.
All of the above problems are solved by the present invention's accommodation of charities using CELIP instruments. CELIPs can enhance payout of life insurance policy, reduce risk of a life insurance policy, benefit charity or other exempt organizations, and avoid adverse income tax consequences associated with other designs. The primary owner and or beneficiaries could be a charitable or otherwise tax exempt organization such as a University. Another market could be a family office.
The CELIP will include within its investment choices the option to borrow money and the right to purchase an immediate annuity. These choices will be viewed directly as policy investments or payments from the annuity to the policy, and will be used (either directly or through a money market account) to pay expenses and mortality costs of the life insurance policy.
As shown in
Because of its complexity, computers are necessary to properly implement the present invention. As stated earlier, the financial industry has stringent requirements for investment diversity, so each individual client may have as many as six annuities. A company that manages several clients must buy annuities throughout various companies within the annuity industry. Although the examples in
The above scenario described all of the necessary conditions for one client. Thus, for one hundred clients it is absolutely unmanageable without a computer system in place. Accordingly, the management company 402/509 that runs the trust 212 has to be on top of the lender 216 and share data with them to ensure payments are going from lender 216 to insurance companies 220, as well as micromanage other key aspects of the payment system. Specifically, such a data sharing or reporting system must coordinate data between clients, a management company 402/509, and lender 318. It is estimated that the computer system of the present invention will track thousands of transactions that will be occurring on a monthly basis. These transactions will include:
The above transactions are shown as the four boxes on the bottom of
As shown in
Main computer system 802 preferably has a database application layer 820 which could include but is not limited to Microsoft Access communicating closely with proprietary software application 804. These products run on top of a Operating System (OS) 822. It is anticipated that any form of operating system can be used, including a preferably multi-threaded OS. Additionally, because of the time-sensitive nature of the information and alerts contained therein, computer system 802 also preferably has a Universal Power Supply (UPS) 824 backup in case of power failure. This is useful for two reasons. The first is that computer system 802 must remain on-line at all times in order that no payments or alerts are missed, thereby reducing the chance of any “lapse notice” being issued. Also, the integrity of the date/time function within computer system 802 must be assured. If the computer system 802 had an incorrect date/time, many false payments and false alerts could result.
A fifth embodiment involves providing a means of financing life insurance through a premium financing unilateral arrangement. There has been a recent explosion in lending for life insurance. Often these loans qualify individuals without
While the invention has been described and illustrated with reference to specific exemplary embodiments, it should be understood that many modifications and substitutions can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is not to be considered as limited by the foregoing description but is only limited by the scope of the appended claims.