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Belgarath

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  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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?
  6. 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!
  7. 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. 
     
     

      
  8. 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
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
     
     
  12. 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...). 
  13. 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.
  14. 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/
  15. 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. 
  16. 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.
  17. 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? 
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Like
    Belgarath got a reaction from Bill Presson 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.
  21. Like
    Belgarath reacted to C. B. Zeller in Employee w/ loan becomes Union EE--default the loan?   
    Is there anything in this particular plan document that says a loan becomes payable in full immediately upon the employee becoming a union member (or more generally, transferring to an excluded class of employees)? Usually I would only see that kind of provision apply upon termination of employment, but I suppose it could happen.
    Absent that, I don't think so. The employee continues to repay it through payroll deduction (assuming that's what the loan policy says). Transferring to an excluded class means you are not entitled to future contributions. Loan repayments are not contributions.
  22. Like
    Belgarath got a reaction from Dave Baker in Mike Preston   
    I didn't know Mike, but always respected and benefited from his knowledge and opinions. The Enrolled Actuary at my former place of employment was a PIX member, and Mike's opinions came up in discussion frequently. He'll be missed.
  23. Like
    Belgarath got a reaction from Luke Bailey in IRA $$ Stolen   
    Other than asking a good CPA...
    Perhaps this will help a bit? And I believe you can maybe deduct a theft loss on a Form 4684? But this is way out of my area of knowledge. My deepest sympathy to the poor lady with a loser of a Son.
    Theft losses
    A theft is the taking and removal of money or property with the intent to deprive the owner of it. The taking must be illegal under the law of the state where it occurred and must have been done with criminal intent. The amount of your theft loss is generally the adjusted basis of your property because the fair market value of your property immediately after the theft is considered to be zero.
  24. Like
    Belgarath got a reaction from acm_acm in IRA $$ Stolen   
    Other than asking a good CPA...
    Perhaps this will help a bit? And I believe you can maybe deduct a theft loss on a Form 4684? But this is way out of my area of knowledge. My deepest sympathy to the poor lady with a loser of a Son.
    Theft losses
    A theft is the taking and removal of money or property with the intent to deprive the owner of it. The taking must be illegal under the law of the state where it occurred and must have been done with criminal intent. The amount of your theft loss is generally the adjusted basis of your property because the fair market value of your property immediately after the theft is considered to be zero.
  25. Like
    Belgarath reacted to Brian Gilmore in Benefits for Highly compensated employees moving to post tax   
    Ha, let's hope that practitioner weighs in to set us all straight, Kenneth.
    Agreed, the distributions already made will just be recharacterized as taxable income.
    Here's an overview of the approaches that I've posted:
    https://www.newfront.com/blog/the-dependent-care-fsa-average-benefits-test
    Correcting an ABT Failure Where HCEs Have Already Exceeded the Reduced Limit
    In some situations, employers will not discover an ABT failure in time to impose a reduced HCE contribution limit prior to HCEs contributing to the dependent care FSA in excess of that limit. 
    For example, suppose the ABT pre-test results show that HCE elections must be reduced by 20%, resulting in HCEs who elected the $5,000 maximum having to drop to $4,000.  If those HCEs have already contributed $4,375, there is a $375 excess that must be made taxable income before the last day of the plan year.
    There are two basic approaches to converting excess HCE dependent care FSA contributions to taxable income:
    Refund/Return: The employer can distribute the excess contributions back to the HCEs through payroll as taxable income subject to withholding and payroll taxes by the end of the year, thereby reducing the amount available in the HCEs’ dependent care FSA account balance.  Note that this approach will not work for HCEs that have already received reimbursement of the excess amount. Recharacterize: The employer can recharacterize the excess contributions as taxable income subject to withholding and payroll taxes without directly refunding the excess to HCEs.  The downsides of this approach are that the employer will need to a) take the withholding and payroll taxes from other income, and b) inform the HCEs that they may take a distribution of the excess contributions (which no longer have pre-tax status) from the FSA without the need to submit qualifying dependent care expenses. With either approach, the employer will need to coordinate with the FSA TPA to ensure proper administration of the correction.  As always, the employer will need to take action before the end of the year to ensure a passing result as of the last day of the plan year.
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