In 2003 and 2004, the Internal Revenue Service disallowed deductions taken by SHI Group, a subsidiary of the Swedish company Securitas AB, for insurance expenses related to a captive insurance arrangement established by Securitas AB. SHI Group, which maintained an office in California, petitioned the disallowance of these deductions in the United States Tax Court. The Internal Revenue Code permits deductions for insurance premiums as business expenses. Although the insurance premiums may be deductible, amounts placed in reserve as self-insurance are not and can only be deducted at the time the loss for which the reserve was established is actually incurred. While neither the Code nor the regulations define insurance, courts have looked primarily to four critieria in deciding whether an arrangement constitutes insurance for income tax purposes: (1) the arrangement must involve insurable risks; (2) the arrangement must shift the risk of loss to the insurer; (3) the insurer must distribute the risk of loss to the insurer; and (4) the arrangement must be insurance in the commonly accepted sense. Based on the complicated facts before it, the Tax Court determined that the captive arrangement at issue constituted insurance, allowing deductions for the related expenses. Securitas Holding, Inc. v. Commissioner, No. 21206-10, T.C. Memo 2014-225 (U.S.T.C. Oct. 29, 2014).

This post written by Leonor Lagomasino.

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