Sean King

My Photo
Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Calling Out Lance Wallach

Some time ago I called out attorney Jay Adkisson for unprofessionally marketing his services by: (1) terrifying the public into thinking the IRS is out to get them, and (2) suggesting that his firm was the only one who knew how to keep them out of trouble. Regrettably, such marketing tactics are becoming more and more common.

Consider, for example, this article by Lance Wallach titled "The dangers of being 'listed'". The article is clearly designed to be alarming. For instance, the opening sentence begins, "Taxpayers who previously adopted 419, 412i, captive insurance or Section 79 plans are in big trouble." He tells us the purported reason in the next sentence: "In recent years, the Internal Revenue Service has identified many of these arrangements as abusive devices to funnel tax-deductible dollars to shareholders, and classified these arrangements as "listed transactions." He goes on to impugn the motives and competence of other professionals who assist the public with such plans by remarking "[t]hese plans were sold by insurance agents, financial planners, accountants and attorneys seeking large life-insurance commissions." Mr. Wallach clearly attended the Jay Adkisson school of self-promotion.

Would any fair person reading the headline and opening paragraph of Mr. Wallach's article conclude that it is only certain types of 419 plans, 412(i) plans, captive insurance arrangements, and Section 79 plans that are "listed"? Maybe, but I doubt it. Reading the opening sentence again, it seems clear the article was written to cause anyone "who previously adopted 419, 412i, captive insurance or Section 79 plans" to think that they are now "in big trouble" thanks to greedy advisors who have led them down the primrose path.

Mr. Wallach would also seemingly have us believe that other professionals are conflicted while he is objective. But, simply reading the virtual "autobiography" he provides at the end of the above-linked article shows that his own motivations in writing the article are hardly selfless:


Lance Wallach, National Society of Accountants Speaker of the Year and member of the AICPA faculty of teaching professionals, is a frequent speaker on retirement plans, financial and estate planning, and abusive tax shelters. He writes about 412(i), 419, and captive insurance plans. He speaks at more than ten conventions annually, writes for over fifty publications, is quoted regularly in the press and has been featured on television and radio financial talk shows including NBC, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, and others. Lance has written numerous books including Protecting Clients from Fraud, Incompetence and Scams published by John Wiley and Sons, Bisk Education’s CPA’s Guide to Life Insurance and Federal Estate and Gift Taxation, as well as AICPA best-selling books, including Avoiding Circular 230 Malpractice Traps and Common Abusive Small Business Hot Spots. He does expert witness testimony and his side has never lost a case. Contact him at 516.938.5007,wallachinc@gmail.com or visit www.taxadvisorexperts.org or www.taxlibrary.us.


Mr. Wallach is clearly a self-promoter extraordinaire. Once we understand this, and once we understand how Mr. Wallach makes a living (he tweets that he is in the business of "[d]efending & protecting businesses & financial professionals from IRS audits, insurance & brokerage firms..."), then it becomes clear why he fails to emphasize in his article that not every 412(i) plan is a listed transaction, nor every 419 arrangement nor every Section 79 plan. In fact, contrary to his implication, 831(b) captive insurance companies are not listed transactions at all! Why does he not make these facts plain?

The reason is obvious. This article, and others like it, are clearly designed to drive inquiries to Wallach's firm. The more people he alarms, the more inquiries he receives, and the more likely he is to develop business.

Don't get me wrong, I have no objection to self-promotion, and I don't blame Mr. Wallach for pursuing his own self interest. But I do resent the alarmism that results from Mr. Wallach's lack of full-disclosure on these points, and I especially resent his implication that other advisors were improperly motivated by commissions whereas his own fee-based (?) motives are somehow purely benevolent.

Mr. Wallach is clearly a knowledgeable and respected professional, one who shouldn't need to engage in such unseemly marketing practices.

If Mr. Wallach or his defenders would like equal time, they are free to reply via comments to this post. I will be sure to post any such reply.



UPDATE:> Heavens to Betsy, when I said above that Mr. Wallach was a "self-promoter extraordinaire", I was understating things considerably. His self-promotion borders on megalomania. This from his website:

"Lance Wallach, Managing Director, is the nations [sic] leading expert on employee benefit plans, tax problem resolution and IRS audit defense."


That's a bold statement by itself, but that's not the half of it. Under the "life insurance" tab on the same website, I find this:

"Lance Wallach, Managing Director, is the nations [sic] leading expert on life insurance, annuities,
retirement & financial planning for business
executives, sports figures, entertainers, affluent
families and successful entrepreneurs."


Wow! And to think I've never heard of him till recently.

The only thing we can say with certainty that Mr. Wallach is not the "nation's leading expert" on is...grammar. (Oh wait, that last sentence wasn't very grammatical, was it?)

15 comments:

Lance Wallach said...

I like it, Lance Wallach and I like the way the author writes, smart man.

Lance Wallach said...

Can you please edit my other sites, books, etc? You are good.

Lance Wallach said...

My secretary says pots shouldn't be calling kettles names. She clicked through to your profile which calls you "an risk management and capital preservation specialist." Shouldn't that be "a" risk management and capital preservation specialist? Hope your secretary can fix your website as fast as mine did.

One good turn deserves another. I dare you to print this.

Sean King said...

Wow, that was fast Lance. Just over three hours from the time I posted till your first response.

I appreciate your reply, and your good-natured ability to handle criticism.

I'm sure I'd like you in person. You seem like a great guy. But the not-so-subtle contempt for the work of other professionals displayed in your writings comes across at times as...to be blunt...unprofessional and transparently self-serving. Given your incredible resume', I respectfully suggest that such an approach is beneath you.

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean King said...

Oh, and I fixed my typo. Many thanks to your secretary for the tip. Seems I must concede that I'm not the nation's leading expert on grammar either! lol

Best,

Sean

Anonymous said...

Sean, again I got a great laugh out of reading your roast of me. I usually do not charge to help the many people who call me. I do very well and feel badly for most of the people caught in the scams and fined by the IRS. try some newer sites like Benistarabuses.com: in the Google search today it shows above all of the Benistar sites. I think that you will love this.

Ron Snyder said...

I have known Lance for many years, and he was self-promoting long before any heard of Jay Adkisson. Maybe Jay attended Lance's school.

Lance Wallach said...

I read this again. It is great stuff and you may want to Google me. Thank you for sending some clients. Many of my recent clients claim to have read your post and contacted me as a result. Some of your readers visited my websites and have engaged me.
Naturally you cannot be expected to read one of my articles and gleam my 30 years of history. You would need to read some of my many CPE books for accountants in order to begin to understand my professional experience.

Lance Wallach said...

I read this again. It is great stuff and you may want to Google me. Thank you for sending some clients. Many of my recent clients claim to have read your post and contacted me as a result. Some of your readers visited my websites and have engaged me.
Naturally you cannot be expected to read one of my articles and gleam my 30 years of history. You would need to read some of my many CPE books for accountants in order to begin to understand my professional experience.

Sean King said...

Thanks, Lance. Who knew my little piece of the blogosphere was so influential? Glad to help. The axiom that "all publicity is good publicity" seems to be working out well for you.

I must admit that I am largely ignorant of the details of your 30 years of professional experience, but your skills at promoting yourself by impugning the motives of other professionals, many of whom have experience and/or credentials equal to or even superior to your own, are legendary.

Lance Wallach said...

Thanks and would like to know of someone who has never lost a lawsuit as an expert witness. They would need to have helped in at least five cases? Would like to kn ow someone who has been quoted or been published more than me on 419 abusive plans? Would like to know someone who has spoken at more conventions in the last ten years than me? And would like to know someone who could beat me at Stratego?

Lance Wallach said...

Just got two more clients from this, thanks again.

Lance Wallach said...

I still love this site

Lance Wallach said...

Do you need help geting this first page Google placement? I have received some good clients from you blog and think first page would get me a lot more. And someone finally beat me at stratego, but my side has not yet lost a court case. www.taxaudit419.
com for any other new clients, or just Google Lance Wallach. If Mr. King, ever comes to the Big Apple the drinks are on me, everything is free, 516 9385007

Lance Wallach said...

This site now shows on google first page when someone types in any of the abusive tax shelters that Lance Wallach helps people with, LOL