Neil HarlFollow


The concept of self-cancelling installment notes or SCIN's grew out of a 1980 Tax Court decision holding that an arrangement involving the cancellation at the death of the seller of the remaining payments due on an installment obligation would not be treated as a transfer with a retained life estate. The publication in 1986 of Rev. Rul. 86-723 essentially validated the concept and provided guidelines for classifying arrangements as private annuities, SCIN's or conventional installment sales. Since 1986, SCIN's have come to be viewed as a useful planning device in some settings. In particular, many view SCIN's as superior to private annuities in that SCIN's permit the seller under the obligation to retain a security interest in the underlying property without adverse income tax consequences. Retention of a security interest by an annuitant under a private annuity runs the risk of causing the transaction to be treated as a sale with recognition of gain in the year the obligation became effective.