Letter to the Editor
In "Structuring Legal Fees Without Annuities: Offspring of Childs," Tax Notes, July 20, 2015, p. 341 , Robert W. Wood argues that Childs v. Commissioner, 103 T.C. 634 (1994), provides tremendous investment flexibility for plaintiffs' lawyers who choose to invest their contingent fees in tax-favored structured attorney fee products. Likewise, Gerald Nowotny has recently noted that the Childs case allows those lawyers to invest their contingent fees in private placement variable annuities.
We agree with Wood and Nowotny. In fact, the reasoning of Childs would allow any taxpayer in any industry to use similar vehicles to invest items of gross income on a tax-deferred basis using any investment strategy they desire. For that reason, we have dubbed these Childs-based structures "super-IRAs." They provide the same tax benefits and investment flexibility as traditional IRAs but without any contribution limits, restrictions on early distributions, or required minimum distributions.
Gregg D. Polsky & Brant J. Hellwig, Letter to Editor, Professors Do Not Provide Childs Support, 148 Tax Notes 472 (July 27, 2015).