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Tax Guru-Ker$tetter Letter
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Tapping into retirement accounts for business funding

I was reading my paper copy of Practical Accountant magazine the other day and noticed this small item in the Tax Briefing section.

ROBS Retirement Plans Targeted

An IRS memorandum has been issued containing audit guidelines for a version of a qualified plan being marketed as a means for prospective business owners to access accumulated tax-deferred retirement funds without paying applicable distribution taxes in order to cover new business start-up costs. The memorandum refers to these arrangements as ROBS (rollovers as business startups).

IRS indicates that they "may serve solely to enable one individual's exchange of tax-deferred assets for currently available funds, by using a qualified plan and its investment in employer stock as a medium. This may avoid distribution taxes otherwise assessable on this exchange. Although a variety of business activity has been examined, an attribute common to this design is the assignment of newly created enterprise stock into a qualified plan as consideration for these transferred funds, the valuation of which may be questionable."

This obviously has to do with the kind of plans that that I have discussed on numerous occasions, such as those offered by companies like BeneTrends. I haven’t seen any response to this yet from BeneTrends or any of the similar companies; but I’m hoping their plans will withstand any IRS scrutiny that may come their way because they are a huge help to small business owners, as well as a more productive investment vehicle for the retirement funds than the big stock market or other conventional vehicles.   


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