Valuation of estates, Roth individual retirement account distributions and tax treatment of annuities used in retirement plan withdrawals are some of the topics on the agenda at the Internal Revenue Service.[@@]

The IRS has included those items and many other items related to annuities and insurance products on a “to do” list.

The IRS and other federal agencies publish comprehensive regulatory to-do lists twice a year.

The new list is part of a similar but separate “2005-2006 Priority Guidance Plan.” The plan includes 254 projects to be completed over a 12-month period, from July 2005 through June 2006.

“The published guidance process can be fully successful only if we have the benefit of the insight and experience of taxpayers and practitioners who must apply the rules,” Eric Solomon, Mark Everson and Donald Korb, 3 top IRS and U.S. Treasury Department officials, say in a statement about the guidance priority list.

The officials encourage members of the public to submit comments about the IRS guidance process.

Here is a sampling of the items on the to-do list:

Insurance Companies And Products

- Guidance on the taxation of certain annuity contracts under Internal Revenue Code Section 72, which deals with withdrawals of funds in retirement plans.

- Guidance on the taxation of variable contracts as described in IRC Section 817(d), which deals with the use of insurance or annuity contracts to fund streams of income that pay for annuities, life insurance contracts or “insurance on retired lives” held within separate accounts.

- Guidance on the qualifications of “certain arrangements” as insurance.

Retirement Benefits

- Guidance on the tax treatment of distributions from Roth retirement plans.

- Final regulations for sponsors of phased retirement arrangements; Proposed regulations were published Nov. 10, 2004.

- Final regulations under IRC Section 402 on the valuation of life insurance distributed from qualified plans.

- Update of the regulations on the definition of “highly compensated employee” under section 414(q) to reflect statutory changes.

- Additional guidance on use of debit cards in employer-provided medical expense reimbursements.

- Guidance on the impact of providing a 2.5 month “grace period” for holders of flexible spending accounts and dependent care assistance accounts who are supposed to spend all account funds by the end of the plan year.

- Update of IRC Section 125 cafeteria plans to reflect statutory changes.

- Gifts, Estates And Trusts

- Guidance regarding the consequences under various estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax provisions of using a family-owned company as the trustee of a trust.

- Guidance under IRC Section 2053 regarding the extent to which post-death events may be considered in determining the value of a taxable estate.

Links to the IRS guidance on regulatory priorities and related documents are on the Web at http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=142346,00.html