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The History of Qualified Settlement Funds (QSFs)

The need for Qualified Settlement Funds (QSFs) emerged in the 1980s. Insurance companies grew anxious that settlements made with an entity (or directly to an individual) would not qualify for immediate tax deductions. They lobbied Congress for the ability to deduct payments in the year of the settlement, instead of when the payments were distributed. Congress acted in 1986 by enacting Section 468B of the Internal Revenue Code, a Qualified Settlement Fund and 468B allows the defendant to receive an immediate tax deduction. 

With a QSF a defendant can transfer settlement funds, receive a current-year tax deduction, and obtain a release of claims. Also, plaintiffs may finalize the settlement terms without tax implications until the funds from the Qualified Settlement Fund are dispersed. This framework allows the QSF administrator to determine the allocation among the claimants. 

While Section 468B initially focused on designated settlement funds, it was later amended by Congress to grant the Treasury powers to develop regulations. Qualified Settlement Fund accounts were thus born by regulation. 

It is worth noting that in the past some insurance companies and large self-insured businesses have opposed the implementation of QSFs. However, numerous recent favorable court cases stipulating using QSFs have made such objections moot. 

To qualify a QSF must be established pursuant to an order from, or approval by, a governmental authority. Additionally, it must settle one or more disputed or undisputed claims, asserting at least one liability. All claims must stem from an event or a related series of events. Unrelated events are not allowed. Finally, the QSF must be created as a trust under state laws or the assets are segregated from those of the transfer and related parties. 

QSFs have provided many tax and other financial advantages for the defendant and the plaintiff for decades. To access more educational content on QSFs and various other trust products, visit EasternPointTrust.com/articles

Disclosure: This content is an overview. It is not a detailed analysis and offers no legal or tax opinion on which you should solely rely. Always seek the advice of competent legal and tax advisors to review your specific facts and circumstances before making any decisions or relying on the content herein.
Any opinions, views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content contained herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Eastern Point Trust Company, its Affiliates, or their clients. The mere appearance of content does not constitute an endorsement by Eastern Point Trust Company (“EPTC”) or its Affiliates. The author’s opinions are based upon information they consider reliable, but neither EPTC nor its Affiliates, nor the company with which such author(s) are affiliated, warrant completeness, accuracy or disclosure of opposing interpretations.

EPTC and its Affiliates disclaim all liability to any party for any direct, indirect, implied, special, incidental, or other consequential damages arising directly or indirectly from any use of the content herein, which is expressly provided as is, without warranties.
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