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Discussion:Pathfinder Business Strategies

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Mikef (talk|edits) said:

14 August 2007
Anyone have any knowledge of this firm, website: Pathfinder For a $5-10k fee, they guarantee certain amount of tax savings to personal and/or corporate clients. I have one of my S-Corp clients who just signed up for the service, and it sounds questionable.

Some of the preliminary recommendations seem "over the line" such as moving the state of incorporation to Wyoming, writing off personal vacations as business, deducting exercise equipment as business expense, and an annual $1600 tax free award to the owner who is the sole employee.

Taxcurmudgeon (talk|edits) said:

14 August 2007
FWIW Drew Miles says he's located in Sebastian, FL and is a lawyer but the Florida Bar Association has no listing for anyone with the last name Miles in Sebastian, FL.

Mtmckeecpa (talk|edits) said:

14 August 2007
Mike,

I am familar with the name and website through a conversation with a prospective client....a whole lot of nothing in my opinion...just a slick marketing campaign and a fat fee to boot.

Tell your S corp client to request a refund and put the cash in their IRA, that way in 20 years they will have something to show for it.

Waynecpa (talk|edits) said:

14 August 2007
One testimonial on the website says "During our call last week, you told us about deducting all items that contribute to our health and well being under our business." I, for one, would be very uncomfortable trying to justify this during an audit. I wonder if he know about the new preparer penalties for taking uncertain tax positions...

PVVCPA (talk|edits) said:

August 15, 2007
I had a client get suckered by a similar outfit a few years back. They got a big binder at the end of the engagement full of potential ideas like renting your residence to your corporation for 14 days. They sell the ideas, it is left up to me and the client to implement. Who gets to answer to the IRS?

I wonder where that $10K binder is now... Gathering dust somewhere I am sure.

You need to train your clients to run away from anybody that goes by the title of "Business Coach".

Drew Miles (talk|edits) said:

10 January 2008
Drew Miles here. I have seen myself and my company being discussed in this thread, so I thought I'd take some time to respond to your comments.

I was admitted to the New York Bar in 1988, and had my own practice in Suffolk County, Long Island for 13 years. I retired in good standing from the NYS Bar about 2 years ago after moving full time to Florida. I started Pathfinder Business Strategies to provide the kind of quality tax and financial education that simply isn't available anywhere else.

While still practicing in New York, I learned that the richest people in America were boasting the fact that they paid very low taxes, typically in the single digits. My interest was piqued and I spent 6 years and a small fortune learning everything I could about the wealth building and tax saving strategies these people and their advisors were referring to.

Along the way I met my fair share of crack pots and charlatans, but I also spoke with a growing number of respectable people; accountants, CPA and Tax Attorneys among them. My goal was to benefit from their expertise personally; I had no intention to teach this information to others. Researching.

In the late ‘90’s, I was asked to speak at an investment seminar and before long, I was on a new and unexpected career path.

I stand behind all of my coaching programs, and I spend a great deal of time developing and improving them. My coaches include attorneys and CPA’s and I work closely with them to continually improve the services we provide to our students. I do this because I'm committed to building a company that makes a difference in people’s lives.

I appreciate the need for a healthy dose of skepticism, especially among professionals. The fact is, we are charged with a higher degree of responsibility regarding our opinions. It is my hope that my reply will prompt you to reconsider your comments. I welcome each of you to contact me at (772) 228-7715 or Drew@pfbs.com.

To MikeF:

We currently have four levels of coaching programs for business owners and investors. The program levels are based on such things as income and net worth. The associated savings guarantees are based program level. Simply put, our experience indicates that higher one’s taxable income, the more savings we can uncover. We do not get paid based on the amount a person saves as I feel that would be unethical, (even if very profitable.)

Regarding Wyoming, we don’t recommend that people “move” the state of incorporation. Most businesses start with an entity in the owner’s home state. Typically, the Wyoming corporation would be set up in addition to the home state corporation(s). I agree that vacations can not be written off. Yet, under the proper circumstances, a business owner can write off the cost of their annual meeting and other business travel even though much of the time is spent on personal enjoyment (Sec 274) Also exercise and gym equipment is deductible under section (Sec 132(h) (s) ) and the Annual Achievement Award program falls under (Sec 74).

I’d be glad to speak to you about these issues in more detail.

To Taxcurmudgeon,

The Pathfinder Business Strategies, LLC office is located at 10315 102nd Terrance, Sebastian Florida 32966. I live in near by Vero Beach and my address and phone number are kept confidential for obvious reasons. As stated above, I was admitted to the NY Bar. I never practiced law in Florida and therefore had no need to join the Florida Bar Association.

To Mtmckeecpa:

To date, we have had over 3,000 people participate in our programs and uncovered a total of over $20 million in tax savings. In fact, we have individual testimonials evidencing savings of anywhere between $48,000 to over $500,000.   I have developed a five step program that has proven itself to be extremely effective and the statements from our students back that up. 

To Waynecpa:

Sections 105 and 106 allow business owners to deduct their health care including medical insurance premiums, deductibles, co pays and many uncovered costs by utilizing and properly implementing a written medical reimbursement plan.

To PVVCPA:

I’m sorry your client had a bad experience with that company. I am confident that they would have a better experience with Pathfinder Business Strategies. I know of one company that provide binders of information. Our coaching programs are one on one sessions conducted over 6-12 months (depending on the program), weekly teleclasses, live workshops, and a highly useful information archive on our student portal.

We welcome the opportunity to speak directly to our clients CPA’s, Attorneys, financial planners, etc. You would be given all the code sections, case law cites, required documentation, etc, to study thoroughly.

Again, I’d be glad to speak directly with each of you. Feel free to contact me at (772) 228-7715 or Drew@pfbs.com.

This is a proven method for achieving success in any area of your life.

Sincerely,


Drew Miles, J.D.

The Tax Savings Attorney™

Snowbird (talk|edits) said:

12 January 2008
Drew,

I enjoyed reviewing the information on your website. There are almost always opportunities to reduce tax liabilities, whether it is things from good record keeping to the type of business entity. I am curious, do you believe your organization and you are covered by Treasury Circular 230?

One of the things that always amuses me is the reference to “their CPA”, “my CPA”, etc. They consider the CPA as their advocate … like a lawyer. Unless the CPA is hired only for the tax engagement, the most important part of his responsibilities is the “P” … his attesting that any financial documents that others dependent on for information are a fair representation of the business, etc. A lot of CPA’s have forgotten this to the injury of innocent stockholders and even other CPA’ s. I think of the Andersen debacle … stockholders and many good CPA’s were hurt by a few that forgot their principal responsibilities.

PostingFromWork (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2008
Drew-

Annual Achievement Awards: While §74 allows certian awards to be excluded from income, §274(j) limits them to tangible personal property (i.e. no cash), the value can only be $400 or less per employee, and it can't discriminate in favor of "highly compensated" employees (i.e. owners (I can fax you a copy of §414(q) if your IRC is missing that page)). There are additional limitions as well, most importantly, the prohibition against "disguised compensation"

Exercise Equipment: §132(h) has absolutely nothing to do with exercise equipment. It only deals with dependents and spouses being able to use employee discounts without triggering tax.

Travel: I can't comment too much your travel plan as it is highly dependent on the facts and circumstances of the case, but I suggest you spend some quality time with §1.162-2

WY: In general, incorporating an out of state corp is a dubious tax planning vehicle for most taxpayers (i.e. closely held small businesses). I also doubt that the asset protection scheme is worth much given that the owner/operators reside in the same sate as the active business, but I'm no lawyer.

Take a look at the "before and after" tax return Drew puts on his website to illustrate the benefits of his program. Here's a 2006 1040 so you can compare line items. Notice on the before return there is six figures of Sch C income line 12. Take a look at the after return. Where did it go?!? Looks like they turned it into three figures of Sch E income. Amazing! Saving taxes is easy when you erase the SE tax.


Oh, yeah....


You're a hack.

PVVCPA (talk|edits) said:

January 13, 2008
PFW, Geez! Hack? That's a little rough. You don't even know the guy.

Those before and after tax returns are interesting though. I wonder what the changes were...

Before the taxpayer had a Sch C. After they had a corporation with a fiscal year end. Salaries were deferred until after 12/31/06.

OR

Before the taxpayer had a Sch C with a profit. After they had a Sch C that paid all of it's profits to their business coach.

BEGooding (talk|edits) said:

January 13, 2008
Dear Mr. Miles:

You say "My coaches include attorneys and CPA’s and I work closely with them to continually improve the services we provide to our students."

I am keen to check your references. Kindly provide the names and telephone numbers of two (2) CPA's with whom you work closely so that I may contact them to ask for references regarding your work.

Thank you.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2008
If you can't find a preparer to put these great ideas into effect, or you don't want to do your own return, I guess Drew will act as your preparer? Or at that point, he's a coach, and not a playa? Is that it?

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2008
Funny this discussion should surface almost in the same day Discussion: Ugh! I hate when client's meet their friend's pops up. For sure I would send my client to Tom, rather than have them wing their way here.

Following comment does not pertain to Drew or Pathfinder in particular but is it something in the water of the Sunshine State? Three times clients have been scammed serious money in my lifetime, and each of these three times the scam originated in Florida.

The last lost both his, his best friend's IRAs and his stepfather's investment account to a Ponzi scheme which sent monthly reports of monies made. Stepfather reported gains yearly, but in fact no trades were ever made.

MEMCPA (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2008
Drew,

I noticed that you signed as "The Tax Savings Attorney™". I don't know the rules of the bar. So a question - is a "retired" New York attorney allowed to do business in Florida with this tag?

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2008
A lot of scams originate in FL because of the older population. But we do have preying on the elderly laws.

MEMCPA (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2008
From the Pathfinder web site: 1

"A few more things you need to do to take full advantage of the child tax reduction include carefully monitoring the amounts spent by your child from their wages and on what. Make sure that the children do not account for more than 49% of their upkeep. If they pay for 50% or more of their total expenses, you will lose them as an itemized deduction on your personal return (Meaning you’d lose at least $3,000 in deductions AND the $1,000 child tax credit – ouch!). Using bookkeeping software can help you track kids’ total expenses (including housing and food) to make sure that you do not cross the 50% line."

What if I take the standard deduction?Image:smile.jpg

BEGooding (talk|edits) said:

January 13, 2008
Ok. If I pay my 7 year old daughter $5.50 per hour, that would be about 3 hours a day after school. Would it be a deductible expense to have a driver pick her up at school to drive her to my office downtown? It seems like 3 hours a day is quite a load for a 7 year old. Do you think it would be reasonable to pay her $16.50 per hour of work so she only has to work 1 hour per day after school? Do I need to be concerned about child labor laws?

After much searching, I found a bookkeeper to hire to keep track of my child's living expenses to make sure I am paying over 1/2 of her support. Can I pay this bookkeeper out of my business or is this considered a personal expense? When counting the total dollars of her support, do I need to count the $50 checks that she receives from her Grandparents for her birthday and for Christmas?

Are you sure I don't have to file quarterly state unemployment tax returns and pay the related tax? Are you sure her wages are exempt from social security taxes? Am I required to cover her under a workchild's compensation policy? What if she gets her little fingers caught in the document shreader while doing her job? Are you sure IRS would buy this as a valid business expense or simply look at it as a scam purely motivated by tax avoidance?

Greg91020 (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2008
It's nice to learn I can deduct my kid as an itemized deduction. Which line do they go on Schedule A?

HAPPY TAX (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2008
It didn't take me long to find this:

http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/0/297/RipOff0297558.htm

BEGooding (talk|edits) said:

January 13, 2008
Or this one: "Is Pathfinders Business Strategies Coaching Beneficial For Everyone" -->

[1]

HAPPY TAX (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2008
I'm not up on my pig Latin, and I could be wrong, but what does the name AMSCO suggest to you?

Taocpa (talk|edits) said:

14 January 2008
As usual, the only ones who really get rich off these schemes are guess who? Guys like, you guessed it, Drew Miles.

Look Drew, I don't know you from Adam. I've seen and heard this stuff before as have all of us. "Pay me $5,000 to $10,000 and I will show you how to save $10,000. Buy my books, tapes, CD's, DVD's, etc. and you if you aren't completely satisfied return them for a full refund, blah, blah, blah, blah...."

Well, I don't buy it. It drives me bananas when I get a client who stays up late one night channel surfing and stumbles onto the Don Lapre's and the Carlton Sheet's of this world.

Years ago, a buddy of mine watched one of these late night shows filled with "tax strategies." One of the "tax savings strategies" was to incorporate yourself. My friend repaired cameras for a living. When I told him he would have to jump through so many hoops to incorporate himself, then pay himself, then pay his withholding and unemployment taxes all for his meager $30K salary repairing cameras, he began to see he was going to lose money. But they never tell you that in these commercials or pitches. It's as PVVCPA said, it's up to the individual to read the manual and put the strategies into place.

BTW, thanks, D&T for the kind word.

Tom

Taocpa (talk|edits) said:

14 January 2008
FYI:

It seems Mr. Miles goes out of his way to find out what people say about him. Check this out:

http://www.earnersforum.com/t4171/

Tom

JEllegate (talk|edits) said:

14 January 2008
Was this the same guy who put that "for sale" sign up on the Brooklyn Bridge? Maybe that's why he retired to Florida.

San Diego (talk|edits) said:

14 January 2008
Scam artists usually live in Florida because their homes cannot be seized when they are sued or arrested due to the homestead protection act. Scam $10 million, buy a home with it, and wait out the lawsuits...


Amazing he thought his post would fly on such a respectable forum....

San Diego (talk|edits) said:

14 January 2008
According to the Florida State Bar link, advertising attorneys must be registered with the Florida State Bar.

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

15 January 2008
Maybe the FL Bar should check him out.

San Diego (talk|edits) said:

28 January 2008
He has began to surface yet again...

Is he not in jail yet?

Drdave (talk|edits) said:

13 February 2008
I purchased the drew miles system for a couple thousand dollars. With it you get personal coaching from one of their "tax experts." Every time I asked her a question, she would say "let me get back to you on that," and call me back in a couple of days. She had lots of good advice like "did you know that if you pay us $2500 to create a corporation for you, then your home mortgage interest will be tax deductable?" When I told her that it was deductible whether in a corp or not, she said, "I'll check on that and get back to you." I stopped accepting her calls after that and tried to get a refund but the best they would offer was another "coaching" session. Learn from my mistake. Save yourself the money, time and frustration from these clowns.

BEGooding (talk|edits) said:

February 13, 2008
$20MM sure is not much in savings for 3000 clients; I expect those savings don't take into account the fee they pay to Pathfinder to "learn" of the savings. I expect Pathfinder thinks you should capitalize their fee as an investment rather than expense it as a sunk cost. What is really relevant is how much of the savings produced would hold up during an IRS investigation.

I urge everyone who has a bad experience with Pathfinder Business Strategies to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Complaints may be filed at this address [2]

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

13 February 2008
I would be curious to know what profession you are in Dr. Dave. There are CPAs, CFPs, EAs other competent individuals probably within blocks of your home or office. They have a reputation to protect in the local community, and you can sue them for malpractice or fraud in a local court. WHY, WHY do people, even educated people, fall for this CRAP? P.T. Barnum was a genius. They have your 2K, who's the clown?

Sitruc (talk|edits) said:

27 March 2008
Pathfinders Business Strategies = Managed Neglect. Service after they collect the dollars is marginal at best. Information they provide can be found with a diligent effort over the web and a few visits to a good local CPA. Forms filed and entities created can be done with minimum effort by the individual. Most states now have an automated website to create whatever business structure you want. IRS has its own site to issue tax id's. Save your money if you can because once it leaves your pocket you are the clown as the gentleman Crow has illustrated "They have your 2k, who's the clown." Well, I for one am now, but it looks like the tide of the web will soon change, but we Pathfinders students know how well Drew has protected his own empire don't we. Good luck and happy hunting.

Flipalka (talk|edits) said:

14 September 2008
Drew Miles, in his posting claims that "exercise and gym equipment is deductible under section (Sec 132(h) (s) )".

1 - There is no such section (his reference, by the way is intended to be to the Internal Revenue Code, hereinafter referred to as "Code" or "the Code", and references to any "section" hereinafter refers to a section of the Code). However, section 132(j)(4) is what he meant to refer to;

2 - Section 132(j)(4) does not even remotely say that exercise and gym equipment is deductible. What it does say is that an employee may exclude from income the value of his of her use of an on-premises gym or athletic facility, but only if substantially all of the use of the facility during the year is by employees, their spouses, and their dependent children, but this rule is subject to the application of the §274(e)(4) rules with respect to facilities found to be primarily for the benefit of officers, owners, or highly compensated employees.

What this means, in layman"s terms, is that the general rule provided by section 132(j)(4)that the value of the USE of the equipment which would ordinarily be taxable to the employee who uses the equipment (such value being for example the amount one would pay to belong to a health club with similar facilities) will instead be tax-free to the employee, except if the use of the equipment is is primarily by officers, owners, or highly compensated employees (meaning YOU if you use this worthless strategy).

In short, Mr. Miles is advising you to do something - deduct the cost of the equipment - which is patently illegal. There are similar problems with various other assertions he makes.

Philip C. Seltzer, CPA

Riley2 (talk|edits) said:

14 September 2008
So, I guess deducting an on-premises gymnasium located in the 100% shareholder’s home is out of the question unless the rank and file employees are also given access to the facilities.

RoyDaleOne (talk|edits) said:

15 September 2008
Rev. Rul. 2004-32

Wonder where the IRS came up with this ruling?

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