IRS Tax Liens and Discretionary Trust Interests – Part 2

In April, I wrote how a U.S. District Court held that a beneficiary’s discretionary interest could be liened by the IRS for tax liabilities of the beneficiary. The interest was “halfway” between a purely discretionary interest and a mandatory HEMS ascertainable standard interest (health, education, maintenance, support) clause – it provided for HEMS-like distributions, but only in the “sole discretion” of the trustee. You can read my post here.

The District Court has now issued an order relating to enforcement of the lien. The IRS sought an order forcing a distribution to pay the beneficiary’s liabilities. The District Court denied the IRS’ request.

The IRS’ rights under its lien only extend as far as the beneficiary’s right to trust funds. Here, that right “has no permanently fixed dollar value” and “is variable according to [his] needs.” The amount of the beneficiary’s interest is equal to “payments the withholding of which would constitute an abuse of discretion in applying an ascertainable standard.” This could vary from $0 to some other dollar amount…

Duckett v. Enomoto, Et Al., 117 AFTR 2d 2016-XXXX, (DC AZ), 06/06/2016

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