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What Would You Do? Sketchy Accountant
BenefitsLink Message BoardsLink to more items from this source
Jan. 14, 2021

"There's an advisor who's been bringing me plans, and he works closely with a CPA. From what I can tell, this CPA is a somewhat big name in the CPA world, if there is such a thing (or at least, google search makes it seem like he's somewhat known, though his internet presence comes off as very 'sales-y.'). I'll admit I'm not a tax expert, but a lot of the stuff the CPA does doesn't pass the smell test. I suspect that, best case scenario, this guy is setting things up that push the very edge of gray areas; worst case, he's breaking laws. Seeing a client have like 40 companies set up that they own, some of which are co-owned by the client and the CPA, just doesn't pass the smell test to me. But, I won't comment further on that right now, because my main concern at this moment is the DB plans we work on together.

Example of one case -- this owner and spouse own a professional firm with employees, but then they also have a side company with no employees. They made sure that their ownership in the side company was small enough that there would be no controlled group or affiliated service group issue (so no employees to consider). However, the side company (which is a corporation) never paid any W-2 income for 2019 (and from what I've been given, has never paid out any income). So, there was no plan compensation and therefore no retirement benefits for 2019. Despite this, they made a large DB contribution (over $250k), and I believe they maxed out PS too (though I don't remember if this was ever confirmed to me or not, since the CPA's office is handling admin for the PS plan). I've told them probably a dozen times that PS has to be limited to 6% of comp in this situation, but it appears that they didn't heed this on any of the other owner/spouse plans we work on together either. I also told them that they had to file a 2019 5500 for the PS plan, but they said they didn't since the PS plan was under $250k (which is incorrect, since you use combined plan assets). After repeated emails and contacting various people at this firm over the course of many months, the last thing I've heard was a question asking about what would happen if they re-file 2019 taxes as a partnership. I answered that question but have since heard no more updates. I just strongly suspect that they aren't going to make any changes, and I'm wondering how others would handle the situation if it comes to that. For what it's worth, I sent over 2019 reports showing that the maximum deductible contribution was $[0] But of course, they made their contributions during 2019 (year of plan setup) before I was given the actual data and facts and circumstances of what happened (which took a very long time to get, by the way; probably because they are setting things in these complicated tax-avoidance schemes and it's therefore hard for the advisor to track down the exact things I need)."

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