Victim Location 32824
Total money lost $590
Type of a scam Home Improvement
So I received this call from our house phone and this individual asked me, ‘if I would be interested in being able to get additional back from my prior tax return and future years’ for the solar panels I purchased in April 2017. I entertained the idea. Let him talk. He asked nothing that seemed odd. The guy was setting up appointments basically for a later date, because they have been so busy with clients. The person he referenced was Christopher Douglas (The Solar Tax Association). He was going to call me in the coming days.
So Chris called me and we had a good discussion about available incentives. He mentions that solar panel dealers may not have made you aware of additional deductions. This is mostly due to the fact that they are not experts in Green Energy Tax Laws. Blah blah blah. My wife and I set aside *0 minutes for him to go through his presentation. Here was the rub, for $*** he would provide a CPA from Strategic Tax Services, LLP out of Los Angeles. Chris went further and said based on the information we gave him that we would receive approximately $*k back from our 2017 return if we amended it. And if we were to move forward with the process, he would even reduce the fee from $*** to $*** for us. We told him to give us the weekend to think it over and would make a decision on Monday. He was okay with that.
Monday comes and my wife and I decide to move forward with it. I mean for $*** and we get $*k back on our 2017 income taxes? Great deal, no? And besides we could use the additional money to pay off some additional credit card debt. We were excited.
So now Chris’ associate, Patricia Beason calls us after the transaction goes through and she welcomes us and gives the lowdown on what comes next, etc. She sends an email to us depicting all of the forthcoming steps. And introduces us to the Solar Tax Credit Specialist, Isabel Barber.
We provide her all of our information and everything goes well with that. She was very nice. She forwards it to the CPA (Amy Barber) from Gaytan Leevan who is going to do the actual amended return on our behalf. Now looking at it, why are there two Barber’s? Are they related or did they run out of fictitious names? Anyway, i digress.
17 days go by and Amy sends an email with my amended return showing that I get an additional $*** only for 2017, not the $*k that Chris said I would be receiving. To say I was ticked off would be an understatement. In Amy’s email, she references an Account Manager, Cyndi Thompson. I email Cyndi, Amy, Isabel and Patricia voicing my displeasure and I get nothing. Not a response from anyone.
On one of the emails, a Phillip Grayson is referenced. Come to find out he is the ‘owner’ of The Solar Tax Association. I try calling the 2 numbers provided and one goes to Cyndi Thompson and the other goes to ‘Sarah’ from Strategic Tax. Hmmmm.
I call Patricia. She actually answers. Wow. I tell her I have been duped. A total bait and switch. I told her I want my money back. She says that she does not have the authority. She needs to reach out to Phillip. I ask, what is Phillip’s number. She gives it to me. I call it while I am talking to her, right to voicemail. Does Phillip even exist? She says to me that she will talk to Phillip today and will have him call me. Right.
Anyway, that is the whole story 100%. I am going to get with my credit card company and see if I can get our money back. The think that got us is that the information provided to us was so detailed and legitimate. Having 2 independent companies play off of one another to make it look like its not my fault it is the others was do I dare say ingenious.
Be careful out there, hope this helps others.
Victim Location 91902
Type of a scam Tax Collection
I recieved a phone call about my solar system tax credits and how this person could assist me in getting up to 60-75% back on tax credits. He said he worked out of another accounting firm in LA and was part of the solartaxassociation credited by the SEIA. This is the email he sent prior to our conversation.
Here is some information that I thought might assist you. It includes links to the BBB, / IRS Private Ruling letters / .gov website links and details about our background, credentials and what it is that we do.
All of this should make you feel great about us … and the INCENTIVES you have coming.
The average family who buys their system typically gets 75 to 80% of their systems cost back from our Federal incentives. This is in ‘addition’ to any local state or energy company credits you may have coming. For many, it makes the cost of their system very close to FREE, and in some cases,…it is totally FREE.
For families who LEASE their system, there are two incentives. And this typically represents an average of 9-11 years worth of payments coming back to the family on their tax returns."
Our tax division, Gaytan and Leevan has an A+ ScamPulse.com rating: See link> STS ScamPulse.com A+. and has been in business for over 12 years. We maintain an UNACCREDITED status by our choice, so that customers will know that we do NOT ‘pay’ to have complaints removed from their records. We are proud of the fact that we can have such a perfect record without having to BUY the rating, which is in our opinion, the most honest way to conduct business,
We are also members of www.SEIA.org and specialize in Solar Tax Incentives.
As for what we do…if you installed panels from January 1st 2014 forward, you are entitled to a consultation with our firm. You will speak with an expert who will go through and tell you exactly what incentives you qualify for, the amounts you can expect back from them, and what forms need to be filed to claim them.
For you, we would be doing the following:
Filing the 3468 form and gathering all necessary information to notify the appropriate departments that you are qualified to take additional incentives.
Filing all required forms to claim the MACRS incentive and depreciate the cost of the system over an accelerated 5 year period. This will take 85% of the purchase price of your system and qualify it as 100% tax deductible. This should be approximately an additional $____ incentive each year for the 5 year term.
Filing all forms to write off interest paid on the system when applicable. This will make the amount that you pay in interest each year 100% deductible for the life of the loan. Based on a $____ loan amount at 2.99% interest, this will be approximately a $____ a year deduction.
Filing a Schedule C to document the production, consumption, distribution, and payment in kind or cash that you have received from the local utility company. This is also where we can add in any other qualifying items you may have such as additional energy efficient upgrades, fees for net metering, or other incentives.
Unlimited time with the CPA for any questions.
Audit protection and accuracy guarantee. We guarantee the accuracy of all forms we file on your behalf. We will take care of all correspondence in the event of an audit.
Making the filing fee itself 100% tax deductible.
Depending on your state and county, there may be items that need to be documented or notifications sent to the city, state, or IRS in advance of your personal taxes to qualify for certain tax incentives. The appropriate departments will immediately be taking care of all of these items for you.
You will be assigned to one CPA, and always work with that same specialist. They will help you find all available incentives, and make sure you take full advantage of the items you qualify for. There is no additional per form or hourly rate. Everything is covered under the flat fee. And as mentioned earlier, we are not here to take you away from your current CPA or accounting firm. We are here to provide the documents and filings he or she will need to support the registration and documentation of forms that they will need to properly file your return.
The CPA will prepare all the forms, sign all the forms, and guarantee the forms as correct. If the IRS has any questions, the CPA will represent and support you. They will finalize everything and provide you a packet that contains all completed Solar Tax forms and schedules. If you have a personal accountant, we will include a letter of explanation to give to your current tax preparer that will show them how to file these alongside your personal income taxes and they can also call us with any questions. If you file your income taxes yourself, we will give you a tutorial on including these forms. The CPA will be available at anytime for questions and guidance down the line.
We have specialized in Real Estate and Solar Tax Incentives for over a decade now. We’ve helped thousands of clients like yourself. Please don’t hesitate to call with any questions.
Within the 50 states of this country, there are over 3,000 counties, and nearly 1,000 different power companies. These variables can affect what incentives you receive and the dollar amount … for the creation, consumption, distribution, and compensation of energy from your solar system.
Federal Incentive 1, (the one that most home owners know about before we call): Everyone who purchases solar in the United States receives the Federal ITC, which is a 30% credit on the full purchase price of the solar panel system. However, when we analyze your system against all available incentives, most every family gets 2 more Federal incentives … and that will mean thousands of dollars more for your family. For most, it often represents 75 to 80% of the solar systems cost.
In the following, we will now explore the different tax codes. They may sound similar, but they do have important nuanced differences and perspectives. So why do you get more than 1 Federal incentive?
Because you are creating power from a property you own…and sending that energy into the local city grid … where the local utility company purchases it from you … and then compensates you in the form of credits on your monthly utility bill. You are literally selling energy. That energy production and consumption is even tracked by the net meter, under its corresponding agreement with the local utility company. This constitutes a sale in the interpretation of the IRS code as "payment in kind." Payment in kind is often seen as a lower bill or NO bill … and when solar systems produce more than the family consumes, it can even result in large, physical cash payouts. Many families receive checks for $7,000 to $9,000 a year for over-production. It is income and needs to be reported as such.
The IRS is going to be looking at the NEG (Net Energy Generation). Your home residential system qualifies you as an NEC (Net Energy Contributor) meaning that you are producing energy and distributing it into the local grid. Most families fall into this category. This is also part of our job, and we have checked this out before we scheduled your appointment. Because of this, we have determined that you are able to claim additional incentives such as Federal incentive 2: Deprecation, and Federal incentive 3: Interest on any financed solar loan … as well as any other reasonable expenses related to the solar equipment. These benefits will typically result in clients receiving thousands of additional dollars for what we call Federal incentive 2 and 3.
The main requirements to ‘depreciate’ the solar equipment is as follows:
• You must own or lease the equipment. Rental equipment does not qualify.
• For owners, you must have responsibility to pay the maintenance expenses of the equipment. For leases, having responsibility for maintenance does not apply.
• The equipment must have a determinable useful life, and it must be longer than one year.
(See https://www.irs.gov/publications/p946/ch01.html for qualifications on depreciation.)
It is our job to help RESIDENTIAL clients who have installed solar systems to claim the MACRS incentive, depreciation, and interest and other items when the following criteria is met:
1. The client owns the property where the panels are located.
2. The client owns or leases the panels.
3. The system is being used in ANY of the following: Business and income producing activities. The customer is selling RECS or power directly to the utility (net metering) and being reimbursed in the form of credits. Section 61 of the tax code very broadly defines what qualifies as income. The code discusses virtually ALL compensation, including but not limited to financial considerations, payments in cash or payments in kind (such as a credit on a utility bill) as income.
Please note: Selling power to the utility is a sale even if the consideration comes in the form of a credit and therefore constitutes an income producing activity.
In IRS section 126 it states subsidies from utilities are not income, but it goes on to describe subsidies as, money ‘paid’ toward energy saving equipment. For example, a rebate from the local utility company. There is however, NO exemption made for income on the ‘sale of power’ to a utility in net metering or feed in tariffs or on the sale of RECS. Therefore, the sale of power should be considered income and is considered an income producing activity. The IRS has even issued a Private Ruling Letter which you can see below:
PRL #201035003 http://www.rodmancpa.com/are-solar-renewable-energy-credits-taxable
The Schedule C that is filed at year end is not only for you to take the additional incentives such as MACRS deprecation, but also for you to report the amount of power your system produced, the amount that was distributed into the grid, and the amount that you were compensated or paid out in kind in the form of credits by the utility company. This is all broken down and documented on the Schedule C form.
As a member of the Solar Association, and our years in business doing this, we believe our record shows that a precedent has been established and that this is the legal and correct way to file your taxes. You do not have to claim these incentives, but if you are going to be reporting your credits to the IRS as it says you should above, then there is no reason not to take advantage of the additional incentives as well.
Because of this, there is incentives coming to you, and we are here to help you get them.
Our fee for doing this is $590, which is 100% tax deductible and becomes part of your next next tax refund.
Glenn Van Dyke
Solar Tax Associaion