The Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department are aware of a type of transaction that taxpayers are using to avoid the limitations on contributions to Roth IRAs. Notice 2004-8 discusses this type of transaction.
In general, these transactions involve the following parties: (1) an individual (the Taxpayer) who owns a pre-existing business such as a corporation or a sole proprietorship (the Business), (2) a Roth IRA within the meaning of IRC section 408A that is maintained for the Taxpayer, and (3) a corporation (the Roth IRA Corporation), substantially all the shares of which are owned or acquired by the Roth IRA. The Business and the Roth IRA Corporation enter into transactions as described below. The acquisition of shares, the transactions or both are not fairly valued and thus have the effect of shifting value into the Roth IRA.
Examples include transactions in which the Roth IRA Corporation acquires property, such as accounts receivable, from the Business for less than fair market value, contributions of property, including intangible property, by a person other than the Roth IRA, without a commensurate receipt of stock ownership, or any other arrangement between the Roth IRA Corporation and the Taxpayer, a related party described in IRC sections 267(b) or 707(b), or the Business that has the effect of transferring value to the Roth IRA Corporation comparable to a contribution to the Roth IRA.