Planning is the key to successfully and legally reducing your tax liability. We can recommend tax saving strategies to maximize your after-tax income. We make it a priority to enhance our understanding of the current tax law, tax code, and new tax regulations through a commitment to continuing professional education. Our business and individual tax clients reduce the amount of taxes they pay because we continually look for ways to legally minimize your taxes throughout the year, not just at the end of the year.
Forensic Accounting and Fraud Auditing
The Forensic Accountant is a designation bestowed by the (ACFE) American College of Forensic Examiners. William Briggs has been awarded a Diplomate Certification by a voluntary peer-review process which recognizes excellence in the profession of forensic examination.
The term Forensic Examiner refers to a Certified Public Accountant who performs an orderly analysis, investigation, inquiry, test, inspection or examination in an attempt to obtain the truth and from which to make an expert opinion and report the true results of their findings in an unbiased and objective manner.
The Objective Scientist Model
The ACFE endorses the Objective Scientist Model for Forensic Examination. This Model provides that Forensic Professionals conduct their examinations and consultations and render objective opinions regardless of who is paying their fee. Forensic Accountants are only concerned with establishing the truth and are not advocates. Only CPA’s who meet the requirements of expertise as defined in the Federal Rules of Evidence, Rule 702, and the additional qualifications as established by the American College of Forensic Examiners will be considered qualified to receive the designation Diplomate, American Board of Forensic Accounting.
Qualifications of Experts
Federal Rules of Evidence, Rule 702
Whether a witness is sufficiently qualified as an expert is a matter to be decided by the court. An expert must be shown by the party calling him/her to have scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge. A witness may be qualified as an expert by reason of knowledge, skill, education, training, or experience.
Under Rule 702, a witness maybe qualified as an expert by virtue of any one such factor, or upon a combination of any of the five factors. Specific degrees, certifications, training or membership in a professional organization are not required. The trial court has wide discretion in determining the competency of a witness as an expert with respect to a particular subject. The court’s decision will be overturned on appeal only if manifested erroneous.
While the Federal Rules of Evidence state “a witness may be qualified as an expert by virtue of any one such factor, or upon a combination of any five factor,” the American College of Forensic Examiners goes beyond the requirements of the Federal Court and holds Forensic Examiners to a higher standard. Applicants for Diplomate Status by the ACFE must submit written documentation in each of the five prescribed categories: Knowledge, Skill, Education, Training, and Experience.
In addition, the ACFE requires that the applicant has not been convicted of a felony, been held in ethical violation by a professional group, or been disciplined for any type of unethical or illegal conduct.
Preparation of Personal tax returns
Preparing your own income tax return can be a task that leaves you with more questions than answers. According to a study released by the US Government's General Accounting Office, most taxpayers (77% of 71 million taxpayers) believe they benefited from using a professional tax preparer.
Whether we like it or not, today's tax laws are so complicated that filing a relatively simple return can be confusing. It is just too easy to overlook deductions and credits to which you are entitled. Even if you use a computer software program there's no substitute for the assistance of an experienced tax professional.
Preparation of Business tax returns
Income tax preparation, federal and state tax returns for sole proprietorships, partnerships, non-profit, limited liability companies, corporate tax returns for S and C corporations, including out-of-state and multi-state returns.
Multi-state and Expatriate tax returns
As a U.S. based certified public accounting firm, Wm. Briggs & Company, Ltd. is dedicated to serving the American expatriate community around the world with a sole focus on income tax preparation, planning and compliance for Americans living abroad.
Representation before Taxation Authorities
We represent individuals and businesses in disputes with the IRS and the various state taxing authorities. These disputes may include tax notices, compliance issues, tax examinations or the appeal of positions taken by the government. In our years of experience, our Firm recognizes that there is a need for professional, personalized services when these types of issues arise.
As your representative, we will ensure that the IRS and other state taxing authorities follow the rules and proper procedures when dealing with you. We will also guard against the violation of your rights as a taxpayer.
Tax examinations and notices are difficult and time consuming, requiring the gathering of information and documentation, coordination and due diligence to ensure your rights are respected and preserved. We stand ready to serve your needs. We will review the issues and assist you all the way through the process and take the action that is appropriate for your situation. Professional representation can be vital when you need assistance during a dispute.
New Business Entity Set-up
Design and Set-up of internal controls
Internal controls are designed to prevent and detect errors or fraudulent activities, safeguard assets, ensure financial information is accurate and reliable, and assist in the achievement of business objectives. Wm. Briggs & Company, Ltd. provides internal control services to all types and sizes of businesses, to assist in evaluating the effectiveness of the company's internal controls. Many internal control engagements are focused on assisting management in documenting or implementing new systems or procedures and making improvements in internal accounting controls. Management and the Board of Directors are much more cognizant of the need for an effective system of internal control.
Mergers and Acquisitions
If you are a business owner, acquiring a company or planning for a divestiture can be a stressful event. Having a trusted advisor to guide you through the transaction can help ensure a successful outcome. We offer the following M&A advisory services:
• Expert representation in negotiations
• Divestiture plans
• Analyzing risk and assistance in business transaction Contract Disputes
Contracts are the backbone of the business world. Goods and services are supplied in exchange for compensation of one form or another, in accordance with terms with which both parties presumably agree. The vast and overwhelming majority of these arrangements (contracts) either work in accordance with all parties’ understanding or, if they don’t, legal dispute arise. When a dispute does arise, it is typically due to either (a) the amount of money involved in the transaction, or (b) the level of personal angst between the participants. There are several variations of a contract dispute:
In evaluating the facts, the forensic accountant generally can assist with the evaluation of any of those variations. Accounting records can be used to: (a) prove whether goods were delivered, (b) determine the valuation of the transactions in dispute, (c) identify the sequence of the transactions, (d) the source and use of cash, and (e) to establish other facts that occurred and that are under dispute. An experienced accountant can explain accounting terms which are used in contracts, as well as the application of those terms to the facts and circumstances of the case. If it is determined that one party has been damaged, then the next issue becomes how to quantify the damages in monetary terms. This process requires collaboration between a law firm and the accountant.
The law firm provides an understanding of legal precedent or statutory definitions that provide guidance for the calculation of damages. An experienced accountant should be able to demonstrate a calculation of damages that is rational, reasonable, and easily understood. Ambiguity is the mother of litigation. Disputes abound when there is no written contract, or it is incomplete or unclear.
The role of the forensic accountant in contract disputes can be summarized as a three-fold process: (a) assistance in obtaining the relevant financial evidence to prove what happened, (b) explaining the evidence in understandable terms, and (c) to assist the trier of fact (Judge, Jury, Arbitrator, etc.) in interpreting the evidence. It must be noted, that a forensic accountant should be used in the process of settling a case before incurring the costs of trial. Very often, a meeting between opposing experts can resolve many of the areas of potential disagreement. At worst, the scope of issues to be litigated can be greatly reduced. The desired result is not a greater chance of success at trial, but elimination of unnecessary legal and accounting costs for the client.