Retirement Plan Audits
Our team performs employee benefit plan audits every year for all types of retirement plans across the Pacific Northwest.
We take our commitment to quality service, cost efficiency, timely communication, and technical expertise seriously. Our client promise is to issue benefit plan audits within 60 days of the information being provided and are willing to guarantee a delivery date in most situations. Serving all regions of Oregon from our offices in Bend, Eugene, and Portland, we provide audits for 401(k), 403(b), ESOP, Defined Benefit, and Health & Welfare plans.
We are a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center. Our clients are as small as 100 participants and as large as 14,000.
Contact us for a no-obligation fee quote for your retirement plan audit and/or a second opinion on your current services.
“As one of the leading Retirement Plan Audit Firms in the Pacific Northwest, our promise is to deliver high quality work, on time, with efficiency that is cost effective.”
— Evan Dickens, CPA
Retirement Plan Audits Team
Evan Dickens, CPA
Partner and ShareholderBio
Jon Newport, CPA
Partner and ShareholderBio
Mark Reynolds, CPA
Get in touch with us.
Section 529 plans provide a tax-advantaged way to help pay for college expenses. Here are just a few of the benefits:
• Although contributions aren’t deductible for federal purposes, plan assets can grow tax-deferred.
• Some states offer tax incentives for contributing in the form of deductions or credits.
• The plans usually offer high contribution limits, and there are no income limits for contributing.
Prepaid tuition plans
With this type of 529 plan, if your contract is for four years of tuition, tuition is guaranteed regardless of its cost at the time the beneficiary actually attends the school. This can provide substantial savings if you invest when the child is still very young.
One downside is that there’s uncertainty in how benefits will be applied if the beneficiary attends a different school. Another is that the plan doesn’t cover costs other than tuition, such as room and board.
This type of 529 plan can be used to pay a student’s expenses at most post-secondary educational institutions. Distributions used to pay qualified expenses (such as tuition, mandatory fees, books, supplies, computer equipment, software, Internet service and, generally, room and board) are income-tax-free for federal purposes and typically for state purposes as well, thus making the tax deferral a permanent savings.
The biggest downside may be that you don’t have direct control over investment decisions; you’re limited to the options the plan offers. Additionally, for funds already in the plan, you can make changes to your investment options only twice during the year or when you change beneficiaries.
But each time you make a new contribution to a 529 savings plan, you can select a different option for that contribution, regardless of how many times you contribute throughout the year. And every 12 months you can make a tax-free rollover to a different 529 plan for the same child.
As you can see, each 529 plan type has its pluses and minuses. Whether a prepaid tuition plan or a savings plan is better depends on your situation and goals. If you’d like help choosing, please contact us.
If you have incomplete or missing records and get audited by the IRS, your business will likely lose out on valuable deductions. Here are two recent U.S. Tax Court cases that help illustrate the rules for documenting deductions.
Case 1: Insufficient records
In the first case, the court found that a taxpayer with a consulting business provided no proof to substantiate more than $52,000 in advertising expenses and $12,000 in travel expenses for the two years in question.
The business owner said the travel expenses were incurred ”caring for his business.“ That isn’t enough. ”The taxpayer bears the burden of proving that claimed business expenses were actually incurred and were ordinary and necessary,“ the court stated. In addition, businesses must keep and produce ”records sufficient to enable the IRS to determine the correct tax liability.“ (TC Memo 2016-158)
Case 2: Documents destroyed
In another case, a taxpayer was denied many of the deductions claimed for his company. He traveled frequently for the business, which developed machine parts. In addition to travel, meals and entertainment, he also claimed printing and consulting deductions.
The taxpayer recorded expenses in a spiral notebook and day planner and kept his records in a leased storage unit. While on a business trip to China, his documents were destroyed after the city where the storage unit was located acquired it by eminent domain.
There’s a way for taxpayers to claim expenses if substantiating documents are lost through circumstances beyond their control (for example, in a fire or flood). However, the court noted that a taxpayer still has to ”undertake a ‘reasonable reconstruction,’ which includes substantiation through secondary evidence.“
The court allowed 40% of the taxpayer’s travel, meals and entertainment expenses, but denied the remainder as well as the consulting and printing expenses. The reason? The taxpayer didn’t reconstruct those expenses through third-party sources or testimony from individuals whom he’d paid. (TC Memo 2016-135)
Keep detailed, accurate records to protect your business deductions. Record details about expenses as soon as possible after they’re incurred (for example, the date, place, business purpose, etc.). Keep more than just proof of payment. Also keep other documents, such as receipts, credit card slips and invoices. If you’re unsure of what you need, check with us.
In responding to concerns regarding the upcoming new reimbursement platform for Medicare as defined by MACRA, CMS has released alternative reporting options for the first year of the payment program. CMS announced that the new program allows physicians to set the pace of their participation. As Helio.com reports, the announcement has been met with praise from the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Even with the flexibility of the first year options, practices should not let their foot off the pedal and continue their efforts in reporting the elements through the existing programs. Read the full article on Helio.com.
Nicole McOmber, CPA is a Healthcare CPA and the leader of the Jones & Roth Healthcare Team. She specializes in practice management, advisory services, and tax & accounting services for medical practices and clinics across Oregon & Southwest Washington.