Today At A Glance:

IRS Warnings and Memos

Occams Advisory’s Track Record

Understanding the Differences in Practices

Warning Signs and Occams Different Approach

The Malign Strategies of Promoters

Occams Advisory’s Outreach and Sales Process

Closing Remarks

Sources

Over the last 12 months IRS has released several notices and memos advising ERC aspirants to be careful about the unscrupulous practitioners in the marketplace who might be bringing unwarranted risks to their targets through aggressive marketing and incomplete disclosure. These reminders are timely cautions for uninitiated prospects walking into a trap that is likely going to cost them money, time and even reputation. Here is the link to some of these memos and notices.   

Occams Advisory has provided the highest level of compliant ERC services to more than 1,000 clients and has committed to standing behind our work. The quality of work has been appreciated and applauded by clients, affiliates and unrelated third parties. The continued and repeated feedback from our clients and affiliates alike is a testimony to the high standards we set and maintain all through the ERC process.   

The table below helps you quantify and qualify the differences in our practices and the ones that are typically followed by providers and promoters that IRS calls ERC mills. Please understand these differences well and use them in your communication with prospects. Leveraging these you should be able to clearly distinguish Occams Advisory and its market-leading ERC services from other practitioners who might not be as compliant or transparent in their ERC services. 

 

Warning signs to avoid include  How Occams is Different 
 A. Unsolicited calls or advertisements mentioning an “easy application process.” 
  1. We approach you only through your trusted partners (advisors, agents, CPA et al).  
  2. Our application process is clear and extensive, involving dozens of documents and multiple interactions.  
B. Statements that the promoter or company can determine ERC eligibility within minutes. 
  1. It takes Occams team and its client’s multiple conversations and reviews to identify impacts from government mandates.  
  2. We also involve independent tax experts and attorneys to ascertain eligibility.  
C. Large upfront fees to claim the credit. 
  1. Our retainers, if applicable, are small and do not even cover our out-of-pocket costs for the process.  
D. Fees based on a percentage of the refund amount of Employee Retention Credit claimed. This is a similar warning sign for average taxpayers, who should always avoid a tax preparer basing their fee on the size of the refund. 
  1. Occams accepts flat fees upon completion of work.  
  2. We have accepted and are open to accepting alternate methods to estimate our fees. 
E. Preparers seeking anonymity by refusing to sign the ERC return being filed by the business as well as supplying their identifying information and a tax identification number. Similar to “ghost preparers,” this limits the risk to just the taxpayer claiming the credit. 
  1. We share our names, corporate email, and telephone numbers with all our clients.  
  2. Our website has the names of all the employees who work on various client matters. 
  3. Occams employees connect with prospects and clients on social media. 
F. Aggressive claims from the promoter that the business receiving the solicitation qualifies before any discussion of the group’s tax situation. In reality, the Employee Retention Credit is a complex credit that requires careful review before applying. 
  1. Occams states the eligibility rules clearly to its prospects.  
  2. We have specific guidance available on our website and through our chatbot available 24×7. 
  3. We have a high level of expertise on this complex credit and serve our clients with transparency. 

 

How the promoters lure victims  Our Outreach and Sales Process 
A. Aggressive marketing. This can be seen in countless places, including radio, television, social media, online as well as phone calls and text messages. 
  1. Although we have a social media and online presence, we connect with prospects primarily through their trusted advisors (CPA’s, wealth managers, trade associations etc.) 
B. Direct mailing. Some ERC mills are sending out fake letters to taxpayers from the non-existent groups like the “Department of Employee Retention Credit.” These letters can be made to look like official IRS correspondence or an official government mailing with language urging immediate action. Some solicitations even make it look like it’s coming from the bank the business uses. 
  1. Occams does not send direct mailers. 
  2. We always identify ourselves as who we are.  
  3. There are no misleading emails / letters from us.  
C. Leaving out key details. Third-party promoters of the ERC often don’t accurately explain eligibility requirements or how the credit is computed, and they do not share their workpapers with the businesses claiming the credit. They may make broad arguments suggesting that all employers are eligible without evaluating an employer’s individual circumstances. 
  1. Occams states the eligibility rules clearly to its prospects.  
  2. Occams clearly states that there are specific eligibility criteria that must be met.  
  3. We deploy market leading expertise on this complex credit and serve our clients with transparency. 
  4. We share our work product with clients. 
D. For example, only recovery startup businesses are eligible for the ERC in the fourth quarter of 2021, but promoters fail to explain this limit. 
  1. We clearly advise clients of the rules regarding which quarters an employer can be eligible for, including the recovery start-up rule. 
E. Also, the promoters may not inform taxpayers that they need to reduce wage deductions claimed on their business’ federal income tax return by the amount of the Employee Retention Credit. This causes a domino effect of tax problems for the business. 
  1. We advise clients about the tax implication of ERC claims.  
  2. Our agreement states that the ERC claims will lead to the requirement of the client’s amendment of its income tax returns in the years in which ERC is claimed.  
F. Paycheck Protection Program participation. In addition, many of these promoters don’t tell employers that they can’t claim the ERC on wages that were reported as payroll costs to obtain Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness. 
  1. We advise clients of the PPP funded wages being ineligible for ERC credits.  
  2. We do not “double dip” in our calculations when we are aware of the client taking PPP. 
G. Mistaken supply chain arguments. Contrary to advice given by unscrupulous preparers, IRS legal guidance in July makes clear that supply chain disruptions do not qualify an employer for the credit unless they are due to a government order. Employers that experienced supply chain disruptions qualify for ERC only if they had to suspend their business operations because their suppliers were unable to provide critical goods or materials due to a government order that caused the supplier to suspend its operations. 
  1. We have advised clients that supply chain disruptions must be due to governmental orders.  
  2. An independent attorney will review and opine on any claims of supply chain disruption. 

In the ever-evolving landscape of the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) program, Occams Advisory stands as a beacon of trust, guiding clients with transparency, diligence, and unmatched expertise. As the IRS warns against fraudulent practitioners, Occams Advisory fortifies its commitment to ethical and meticulous service, championing open communication and accurate guidance. Choose a partner dedicated to safeguarding your interests through informed and compliant practices. Choose wisdom, choose integrity, choose Occams Advisory for your ERC journey. 

Source: Internal Revenue Service (IRS), 2023