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Belgarath

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  1. Like
    Belgarath reacted to Paul I in In-Plan Roth Conversion & 2024 RMD   
    With Roth accounts in 401(k) plans not being subject to the RMD rules, some people without other taxable income other than Social Security are looking to reduce prospective current year income below the threshold that triggers taxation of their Social Security benefits.  Add in the potential exemption of earnings from taxable income from the Roth accounts, this may be an attractive option for someone who is betting on living longer than their average life expectancy.
    There also are individuals who see the sun setting in 2025 on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provisions and they are anticipating a hike in their personal rates.
  2. Like
    Belgarath reacted to Bill Presson in In-Plan Roth Conversion & 2024 RMD   
    i get this strategy, I'm just questioning the age at which it's being done.
  3. Like
    Belgarath got a reaction from Bill Presson in In-Plan Roth Conversion & 2024 RMD   
    I'm certainly no investment expert or tax strategist either. I have sometimes seen a strategy where part of the "diversification" is that the "aggressive" investments are converted to Roth, on the theory that if they hit a home run and get big returns, it'll be tax free. The conservative investments remain as pre-tax.
  4. Like
    Belgarath got a reaction from AlbanyConsultant in mandatory cash out woes   
    Peter, this compliment is long overdue. You are without question one of the most objective and fair minded observers I've encountered, as well as being a great source of information.
    If you decide to run for higher office, I'll vote for you! 
  5. Like
    Belgarath reacted to Peter Gulia in 401(k) Hardship Withdrawal   
    A value of deciding claims using only a § 401(k)(14)(C) certification is that the plan’s administrator is removed—and its service provider too is removed—from discretionary decision-making about questions of the kind Ilene Ferenczy and Paul I describe.
    Instead, a plan’s administrator designs (or approves its service provider’s design of) the claim form to state each of the available deemed hardships, and not ask for any supporting information. Likewise, a service provider designs the participant website’s software to not receive any information beyond the online claim form.
    The claims procedure can be simplified (mostly) to approving a claim if the form is completed “in good order” and signed under penalties of perjury. Or NIGOing a form not filled-out or not signed.
    But shouldn’t an employer that serves as its plan’s administrator (and service providers too) welcome a procedure that gets rid of discretionary decisions?
  6. Like
    Belgarath got a reaction from SSRRS in What do you get out of your participation on these message boards?   
    Ditto on previous comments. While I've been able to help some people, I have to say this board has been a net gain for me - I've learned so much over the years. There is also great comfort in knowing that other professionals struggle with many of the same issues, and there often isn't a perfect answer/solution. And, many a time when I'm chasing my own tail, someone looking at a question with fresh eyes sees the solution instantly, and I think to myself, "You darned fool, why didn't you think of this already!" Many times I have saved a great deal of time due to the helpful comments and advice available here. It's a great resource for experienced professionals, AND for newbies.
  7. Like
    Belgarath got a reaction from Bill Presson in 2023 federal income tax refunds   
    Refund finally approved (of course.) So late that they have to pay me interest!
  8. Like
    Belgarath reacted to Lou S. in Late transfer to participant accounts   
    I'd vote with you. No 5330, reflect the earnings in 2024 when received.
  9. Like
    Belgarath reacted to Dave Baker in So sorry for the long delay in getting software updated today (Thurs. 5/30/2024)   
    I'm so sorry for the long delay in getting software updated today (Thurs. 5/30/2024). The message boards were offline for most of the day. I believe everything is up and running correctly now. Thanks for your patience!
    Dave Baker
    Troublemaker
  10. Like
    Belgarath got a reaction from Bill Presson in terminate 401k/SH... start SIMPLE IRA in the same calendar year?   
    As far as I know, you can't do it. But I'm going from memory - I didn't go back and specifically check.
  11. Like
    Belgarath reacted to Bill Presson in terminate 401k/SH... start SIMPLE IRA in the same calendar year?   
    Why are those few months really needed? Can’t we all just wait until January 1?
  12. Like
    Belgarath reacted to CuseFan in Employee thought they were participating... for 3 years   
    Totally agree. Just didn't want to go down that rabbit hole again ranting about employee accountability and how (not just here, but many other cases discussed here) it is mind boggling that someone doesn't notice or doesn't say something when something that is supposed to affect their pay and doesn't. But if double health plan premiums were withheld by mistake you can bet they'd be in HR the next day!
  13. Like
    Belgarath reacted to fmsinc in Legal opinions   
    You may be under the impression that your legal option must come down to the correct opinion, and that you may be sued for malpractice is you are incorrect. 
    In my mediation cases I always make it a point to tell the client's that Mary's lawyer may have one opinion of the outcome of a particular dispute, and that John's lawyer may have a second and different option, and I may have yet a third and different opinion, and that at the end of the day the only opinion that counts is the opinion of the judge knows nothing about the area of law involved, and who hears the case after an expensive trial.
    I can find case law on every side of every issue.  I can find you inconsistent statutes and regulations.  The best I can do is say that if Mary is right then the outcome will be favorable to her, and that if John is right the outcome will be favorable to him, and that my opinion as a mediator doesn't count, and that Mary and John may just have to wait and see what the judge decides at the end of an expensive trial.
    Now the parties have to do a cost benefit analysis and decide if a compromise settlement might be a better option. BINGO.
    The old saying is the opinions are like a*******s, everybody has one.
    You opinions better be filled with lots of "but"s and "however"s and "on the other hand"s, and plenty of disclaimers, your know:  "This opinion is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any uncertain issue."
    And, of course, don't offer an opinion about anything unless you are an expert and know your stuff. 
     
     

      
  14. Like
    Belgarath reacted to Peter Gulia in Legal opinions   
    Based on how much strength a tax position needs to get the taxpayer an excuse or relief from a tax-reporting penalty, tax practice has developed a special lingo with term-of-art phrases to describe the relative strength of interpretations of tax law.
    See my table “How strong is this interpretation of tax law?” attached below.
    One of those term-of-art descriptors—“more likely than not”—applies in generally accepted accounting principles for accounting for income taxes.
    A less-confident “substantial authority” often lets a taxpayer assert a tax-return position without a particular disclosure that the IRS might view the tax law differently.
    (Using Belgarath’s illustration, if a practitioner doesn’t nudge her thinking from 50/50 to 51/49, one would write a substantial-authority opinion. That might be enough to omit a particular disclosure from a tax return, but might not be enough to omit an accrual from financial statements.)
    A practitioner who renders written advice often provides a reasoned opinion that at least alludes to, and often describes, other possible interpretations.
    Likewise, it’s often useful to present all or some possible interpretations and explain the strengths, weaknesses, and consequences of each choice.
    This note is about tax advice a practitioner provides to her client that or who is the taxpayer. An opinion or advice that a nonclient third person may read is a different practice.
    And a lawyer’s advice to an employee-benefit plan’s fiduciary often is burdened by recognizing that an ERISA-governed plan’s fiduciary—and, depending on State law and other circumstances, a governmental plan’s or church plan’s fiduciary—cannot invoke the evidence-law privilege for lawyer-client communications against the participants and beneficiaries of the fiduciary relation.
    How strong is this interpretation of tax law.pdf
  15. Like
    Belgarath reacted to QDROphile in Legal opinions   
    A cynic might say that a legal opinion is simply a device for putting the lawyer’ malpractice insurance behind a proposed position or course of action that the client wants to take.
  16. Like
    Belgarath reacted to Luke Bailey in Legal opinions   
    Belgarath, a lot of opinions in the tax area just say that there is enough basis for the position that the taxpayer who takes the position would not be subject to penalties other than interest if challenged by the IRS and taxpayer loses. But the point here is that the client is willing to take their chances and just wants a back-up in case of an audit to try to avoid IRS penalties, opprobrium within company or profession, etc. It's legal CYA. 50% would be way above what is necessary for an opinion that the taxpayer can file the return and likely not be subject to penalties (there is never any certainty in life). My guess is it's largely the same in areas other than tax as well, e.g. is anyone going to give a 50+% opinion to an AI company that it can use a voice just like some famous person without permission and not be subject to damages? Probably not, but the AI company would want to be able to say that they had checked with their lawyers and been advised it might be OK before doing it. I'm pretty sure that outside a few areas like muni bonds and secured transactions, maybe some securities law provisions, opinions are rarely something where a law firm is effectively saying,"Yeah, go ahead and do X. We're sure you can and if we're wrong we're good for all of your damages." I've written some plan asset reg opinions (VCOC and REOC) where we were able to give nearly complete assurance on the legal issues, but that is the only area I have experience with where it's been near certainty. The rest were around 50% but really impossible to quantify. And that's another issue, i.e. although people do put percentages on tax opinion levels of certainty, it's ultimately more of a subjective art than a mathematical science.
  17. Like
    Belgarath reacted to QDROphile in Legal opinions   
    The IRS issued Circular 230 to establish whether a taxpayer may rely on written advice for the purpose of avoiding certain tax penalties when the taxpayer takes a certain position position that the IRS ultimately determines is wrong. This sets the standard and framework for legal opinions in certain areas of tax practice. Check it out if you are interested in a deeper dive and can tolerate some fairly technical material.
    Otherwise, legal opinions are just opinions, all over the place in what they cover and how they are expressed. Sometimes the law and facts are such that a legal opinion gives a clear and definite statement without much explanation. A “reasoned opinion” usually includes a discussion of the law, as applied to the circumstances at hand and provides some conclusion that is not definite. A reason opinion may also include many assumptions that are not tested or verified. The opinion may include some measure of confidence about the conclusion, which reflects the uncertainty about the state of law, such as “more likely than not”. Some legal opinions are an exercise in the art of providing a legal opinion that says nothing that one can rely on. Opinions that a retirement plan is “qualified” tend to fall in this category — in my opinion. But such opinions often follow a certain convention that has a commonly understood meaning in the industry that is worthwhile for certain purposes, but not for establishing whether or not a plan is actually qualified.
     
     
  18. Like
    Belgarath reacted to EBECatty in Legal opinions   
    At least in tax-related areas of practice, which includes a fair amount of benefits work, for "formal" legal opinions there is a range of confidence levels (will, should, more likely than not, reasonable position, not frivolous...). 
  19. Like
    Belgarath reacted to Bill Presson in EZ Filer.... Changing sponsor from "XYZ CPA" to "Bob & Sue CPAs LLC"   
    Correct. Updated info goes in 1 & 2 and old info in 4a and b.
  20. Like
    Belgarath reacted to fmsinc in QDRO for Alimony   
    I suggest that before you waste your time responding the Jack Stevenson you take a look at his repetitive posts over the last few months.  https://benefitslink.com/boards/profile/103326-jack-stevenson/content/
  21. Like
    Belgarath reacted to Bill Presson in Can forfeitures be used to pay for earnings on an EPCRS SCP QNEC?   
    Can’t use plan assets to pay employer penalties. 
  22. Like
    Belgarath got a reaction from Luke Bailey in QACA 2-6 year graded vesting   
    The QACA safe harbor contributions themselves cannot use 6-year graded vesting. But, there could be other employer contributions such as profit sharing that could use that vesting schedule.
  23. Like
    Belgarath got a reaction from Luke Bailey in "Pending" cause of death prevents distribution to death beneficiary   
    The legal eagles here can tell you if this suggestion is proper or valid, but what about filing an interpleader - let the court determine when it can be paid out, and get the Plan Administrator off the hook? 
  24. Like
    Belgarath got a reaction from Lou S. in QACA 2-6 year graded vesting   
    The QACA safe harbor contributions themselves cannot use 6-year graded vesting. But, there could be other employer contributions such as profit sharing that could use that vesting schedule.
  25. Like
    Belgarath got a reaction from Bri in QACA 2-6 year graded vesting   
    The QACA safe harbor contributions themselves cannot use 6-year graded vesting. But, there could be other employer contributions such as profit sharing that could use that vesting schedule.
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