Free Cash Balance Plan CPE: Here’s Your Best Option

As a practicing CPA myself, I’m always looking for tax strategies. I started working with high-income business owners and setting up cash balance plans to reduce their tax liability.

These plans are the number one option for high-income business owners. Most business owners start to make higher incomes when they get into their 40s and 50s,

There are not many CPE options out on the market. We considered running our own CPE plan course but decided doing a CPE course through CPA Academy made more sense.

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The advantage of using this course is it’s free for all CPAs. You can find the course here: CPAacademy.org

But over and above a cash balance plan CPE course, there are various sites out there that will have options for retirement plans in general. Here are just a few that you could consider:

Comparing and Contrasting Retirement Plans for Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses (surgentcpe.com)

PES – IRAs, 401(k)s, and Other Retirement Plans (mypescpe.com)

How does a cash balance plan work?

A cash balance plan is a type of retirement savings plan that combines features of both traditional pension plans and individual retirement accounts (IRAs). In a cash balance plan, employers contribute a percentage of an employee’s salary into an individual account, much like a 401(k) plan.

However, unlike a traditional 401(k), the employer is responsible for investing and managing the funds. The employee’s account grows at a predetermined interest rate, typically tied to an index such as the Treasury rate. The account balance continues to accumulate over time, regardless of changes in investment performance.

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Upon retirement or separation from the company, employees have several options for accessing their cash balance plan funds. They can choose to receive a lump-sum distribution, which provides the entire account balance in a single payment. Alternatively, they can opt for a rollover to an individual retirement account (IRA) or transfer the funds into another employer-sponsored retirement plan.

Some plans may also offer the option of receiving a lifetime annuity, which provides a regular stream of income throughout retirement. The flexibility of cash balance plans allows employees to tailor their retirement savings strategy to their individual financial needs and goals.

One notable aspect of cash balance plans is their inherent portability. Unlike traditional pension plans, which typically provide a monthly benefit based on years of service and salary history, cash balance plans are more portable because the funds are held in individual accounts.

This portability makes cash balance plans attractive to employees who may change jobs frequently or work in industries with high turnover rates. Employees can take their accumulated account balance with them when they leave the company, ensuring that their retirement savings remain intact and accessible regardless of their employment circumstances.

How Does CPE Work?

CPE stands for Continuing Professional Education, and it is a requirement for Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) to maintain their professional licenses. CPAs are required to engage in ongoing learning and development to stay up-to-date with the latest accounting and auditing standards, tax regulations, and professional ethics. CPE ensures that CPAs remain competent and knowledgeable in their field throughout their careers.

The specific CPE requirements for CPAs vary by jurisdiction, as each state or country’s accounting board sets its own guidelines. Generally, CPAs must complete a certain number of CPE hours within a specific time period, such as annually or over a three-year reporting period. The number of required hours typically ranges from 40 to 120 hours, with some jurisdictions mandating additional hours in specific areas, such as ethics or professional conduct.

CPE activities can take various forms, including attending conferences, seminars, webinars, workshops, or courses offered by accredited providers. Self-study programs, such as online courses or educational materials, may also qualify for CPE credits.

Additionally, participating in professional activities like teaching, writing articles, or presenting on accounting topics can count towards CPE requirements. CPAs are responsible for documenting and reporting their CPE activities to their respective accounting boards to maintain their licenses and professional standing.

Paul Sundin

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