Retirement Planning • Cash Flow Optimization • Tax Advantaged Planning
Pension Review • Annuity Placement
Steve Clott has provided residents of the Greater Philadelphia Region, Delaware Valley Tri-State Area, and beyond, affordable tax services since 1974. He launched his career working for a center-city Philadelphia accounting firm, became a Certified Public Accountant licensee in 1978, and soon rose to senior staff accountant. In 1983, he left to start his own CPA tax practice in suburban Philadelphia, and in 1996, he earned his Certified Financial Planner ™ and Enrolled Agent designations. To greater serve the needs of his clients, Steve started Dedicated Investment Advisers, LLC in 2003. Four years later, he created Dedicated Insurance Advisers, LLC, furthering his portfolio of financial and long-term services.
Steve graduated from Temple University in 1974 with a Bachelors of Business Administration degree in Accounting. He is married, with two children.
Memberships & Certifications
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the title of qualified accountants in numerous countries in the English-speaking world. In the United States they will have passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination and have met additional state education and experience requirements for membership in their respective professional accounting bodies and certification as a CPA. In most U.S. states, only CPAs who are licensed are able to provide to the public attestation (including auditing) opinions on financial statements.
Services provided by CPAs
CPAs have a niche within the income tax preparation industry. Many small to mid-sized firms have both a tax and an auditing department. Along with attorneys and enrolled agents, CPAs may represent taxpayers in matters before the Internal Revenue Service.
Whether providing services directly to the public or employed by corporations or associations, CPAs can operate in virtually any area of finance.
In order to become a CPA in the United States, the candidate must sit for and pass the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination (Uniform CPA Exam), which is set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and administered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). The CPA was established in law on April 17, 1896.
Eligibility to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam is determined by individual state boards of accountancy. All states have adopted what is known as the “150 hour rule”, which usually requires an additional year of education past a regular 4 year college degree, or a master’s degree.
The Uniform CPA Exam tests general principles of state law such as the law of contracts and agency (questions not tailored to the variances of any particular state) and some federal laws as well1.
Other licensing and certification requirements
Although the CPA exam is uniform, licensing and certification requirements are imposed separately by each state’s laws and therefore vary from state to state.
State requirements for the CPA qualification can be summed up as the Three Es—Education, Examination and Experience. The education requirement normally must be fulfilled as part of the eligibility criteria to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam. The examination component is the Uniform CPA Exam itself.
Over 40 of the state boards now require applicants for CPA status to complete a special examination on ethics, which is effectively a fifth exam in terms of requirements to become a CPA.
Continuing Professional Education (CPE)
CPAs are required to take continuing education courses in order to renew their license. Requirements vary by state but the vast majority require an average of 40 hours of CPE every year with a minimum of 20 hours per calendar year. The requirement can be fulfilled through attending live seminars, webcast seminars, or through self-study (textbooks, videos, online courses, all of which require a test to receive credit). As part of the CPE requirement, most states require their CPAs to take an ethics course during every renewal period. Again, ethics requirements vary by state but the courses range from 2–8 hours.
State CPA association membership
CPAs may choose to become members of their local state association or society. Benefits of membership in a state CPA association range from deep discounts on seminars that qualify for continuing education credits to protecting the public and profession’s interests by tracking and lobbying legislative issues that affect local state tax and financial planning issues.
CPAs who maintain state CPA society memberships are required to follow a society professional code of conduct (in addition to any code enforced by the state regulatory authority), further reassuring clients that the CPA is an ethical business professional conducting a legitimate business who can be trusted to handle confidential personal and business financial matters. State CPA associations also serve the community by providing information and resources about the CPA profession and welcome inquiries from students, business professionals and the public-at-large.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
What Does It Take to Become a CFP® ?
The Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation is a professional certification mark for financial planners conferred by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP® Board) in the United States, and by 25 other organizations affiliated with Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB), the international owner of the CFP® mark outside of the United States.
To receive authorization to use the designation, the candidate must meet education, examination, experience and ethics requirements, and pay an ongoing certification fee. The information relates specifically to CFP® certification in the United States.
To earn the CFP® Board designation, candidates in the United States must meet several requirements—the first of which is the educational requirement, which requires candidates to have a bachelor’s degree (or higher), or its equivalent in any discipline, from an accredited college or university. The bachelor’s degree requirement in the United States may be completed after passing the CFP® exam (within five years) and is also not a requirement to be eligible to take the CFP® Board Certification Examination. As a first step to the present CFP® certification criteria, students must master a fairly rudimentary list of approximately 100 topics on financial planning. The curriculum taught must be the equivalent of 18 semester credit hours (e.g. 6 courses). The topics cover major planning areas such as:
- General Principles of Finance and Financial Planning
- Insurance Planning
- Employee Benefits Planning
- Investment and Securities Planning
- State and Federal Income Tax Planning
- Estate Tax, Gift Tax, and Transfer Tax Planning
- Asset Protection Planning
- Retirement Planning
- Estate Planning
- Financial planning and consulting
Individuals holding professional designations pre-approved by the CFP® Board, which include attorneys, Certified Public Accountants (CPA), Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Chartered Accountants (CA), Chartered Wealth Managers (AAFM), Chartered Life Underwriters (CLU), Chartered Financial Consultants (ChFC), and Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA)) are all entitled to register for and take the exam without having to complete the education requirements by using the CFP® -board’s “challenge” status.
Despite the relatively rudimentary prerequisite educational requirements, only PhDs in business or economics are exempted from the educational requirements. The CFP® board excludes Bachelor or Masters MBA degrees from accredited universities in Finance, Business, Economics, Commerce and Accounting as part of its educational exemption list, thus limiting the overall appeal of the designation for university educated finance, economics, & business professionals and creating a generally negative perception of attempted Credentialism on the part of the CFP® board.
Individuals who seek to challenge the CFP® certification exam after March 2012 will be required to take a financial planning Capstone course before sitting for the exam.
In recent press, the CFP® Board and other organizations have communicated with the CFP® B Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to augment accredited degree standards and ranking of professional designations.
The CFP® Certification Examination is a 10-hour multiple choice exam that contains 285 questions. The exam is divided into one four-hour session (Friday afternoon) and two three-hour sessions (Saturday). The exam includes two case studies, multiple mini-case problem sets and stand-alone questions. The exam is designed to assess the student’s ability to apply his or her knowledge of the aforementioned areas to financial planning situations.
The pass rate for the CFP® certification exam fluctuated historically between a low of 42% and a high of 66%. The pass rate tends to be slightly higher for first-time test takers and lower for repeaters.
The candidate must demonstrate that he or she has extensive experience in the financial planning field. The CFP® Board defines work experience as “the supervision, direct support, teaching or personal delivery of all or part of the personal financial planning process to a client” and such experience must fall within one or more of the following six primary elements of financial planning:
- Establishing and Defining the Client Relationship
- Gathering Client Data and Goals
- Analyzing and Evaluating the Client’s Financial Status
- Developing and Presenting Financial Planning Recommendations and Alternatives
- Implementing the Financial Planning Recommendations
- Monitoring the Financial Planning Recommendations
- After the student passes the exam and meets one or more of the six primary elements of financial planning, he or she must also have completed the following:
- Three years full-time or equivalent (2,000 hours per year) part-time experience in the financial planning field
Two years of full-time experience under the “Apprenticeship Experience” option, which requires experience focused exclusively on personal delivery of all the steps of the personal financial planning process to a client under direct supervision of a CFP® professional (the Apprenticeship option became effective September 1, 2012)
- Be approved by the CFP® Board during initial certification, which also involves an extensive background check—including an ethics, character and criminal check.
- Three years full-time or equivalent (2,000 hours per year) part-time experience in the financial planning field
Ethics and continuing education
The final components are the ethics and continuing education requirements. Students and certificants are required to adhere to the CFP® Board Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and to the Financial Planning Practice Standards. Registered investment advisors have a fiduciary duty to care for investments. The CFP® Board has the right to enforce them through its Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.
To maintain certification, license holders are also required to complete thirty (30) hours of continuing education, of which two (2) hours the Board of Standards approved ethical information, on an on-going basis in addition to paying a licensing fee every two years.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
See: EA Brochure
Hear: EA Radio announcement
A do-it-yourself tax software ad says “it doesn’t take a genius to do your taxes.” That is quite correct. It doesn’t take a genius to do your taxes.
It also doesn’t take a genius to do the wiring in your house nor does it take a genius to install a toilet. It doesn’t take a genius to make a soufflé; and it does not take a genius to change the brakes on your car.
All of these things you can certainly do yourself. If you figure them out without training or experience, you may luck out and not get electrocuted, or flood your house, or serve an embarrassing dessert to your guests, or hit something because your brakes fail.
Yes, you can certainly do your own taxes, but you don’t know what you don’t know. The IRS knows this about do-it-yourselfers, and gives those tax returns more scrutiny.
You don’t need me to do your taxes and you also don’t need insurance on your house. But, once your house is in flames and your tax return under scrutiny, you’re going to wish you had spent the money.
Hire an Enrolled Agent. Maybe a genius, maybe not, but we are highly educated and experienced in the field of income taxes….and these days, it is more important than ever to avoid dealing with the IRS.
– Julie Dailey, EA (Enrolled Agent)
From National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA):
How Can an Enrolled Agent Help Me?
Enrolled agents (EAs) are America’s tax experts. They are federally-licensed tax practitioners who both specialize in tax preparation and have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service. If you get a letter from the IRS, or worse, are audited or are the target of a collection action, your EA can speak directly to the IRS on your behalf. The enrolled agent license is the highest credential the IRS issues.
To become an EA, a tax professional must pass a stringent and comprehensive three-part examination covering individual tax returns, business tax returns, and representation, practice and procedure. All candidates are subjected to a rigorous background check conducted by the IRS. To keep their licenses, EAs must complete annual continuing education reported to the IRS, which keeps them on top of the most current tax laws. Unlike attorneys and CPAs, who may or may not choose to specialize in taxes, all enrolled agents specialize in taxation. That’s why they’re the tax professional of choice!
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
An enrolled agent (or EA) is a federally authorized tax practitioner empowered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Enrolled agent status is the highest credential awarded by the IRS. The EA credential is recognized across all 50 U.S. states. Attorneys and certified public accountants (CPAs) are licensed on a state by state basis, and are also empowered by the Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before the IRS. According to the National Association of Enrolled Agents, there are approximately 48,000 practicing EAs in the United States.
The position of enrolled agent was created as a reaction to fraudulent war loss claims in the wake of the American Civil War with roots tracing back to the Enabling Act of 1884, or General Deficiency Appropriation Bill (H.R. 2735), also known as the “Horse Act of 1884,” which was signed into law by President Chester A. Arthur on July 7, 1884. After the Civil War, many citizens faced difficulties in settling claims with the government for property confiscated for use in the war effort. As a result, Congress endowed enrolled agents with the power of advocacy to prepare claims against the government. From 1884 through the early 20th century, this statute remained largely unchanged.
When the Revenue Act of 1913 was passed, signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson on October 3, 1913, the scope of the enrolled agent was expanded to include claims for monetary relief for citizens whose taxes had become inequitable. As income, estate, gift and other sources of tax collections became more complex, the role of the enrolled agent increased to include the preparation of the many tax forms that were required. As a result of this complexity, audits became more prevalent and the enrolled agent role evolved into taxpayer representation, promulgating a series of statutes which were combined into a single Treasury Department Circular in February 19, 1921, known as Circular 230, to address “the laws and regulations governing the recognition of agents, attorneys, and other persons representing claimants before the Treasury Department and offices thereof.”
Unlike enrolled agents of today, the first enrolled agents were appointed with little or no qualifications other than a minimal background in bookkeeping.
Becoming an enrolled agent
To become an enrolled agent, an applicant must obtain a PTIN and achieve passing scores on all three parts of the Special Enrollment Examination, which covers many aspects of the Internal Revenue Code, or must have worked at the IRS for five consecutive years in a position which regularly engaged in applying and interpreting the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code and the regulations relating to income, estate, gift, employment, or excise taxes. A background check, including a review of the applicant’s personal and business tax compliance, is conducted after an applicant files Form 23, Application for Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service, within one year of completing all three parts of the examination.
Maintaining enrolled agent status
In order to qualify for renewal as an enrolled agent, an individual must complete 72 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) every three years, including two hours of ethics or professional conduct in each of the three years. To prevent overloading of CPEs in any year of an enrollment cycle, the IRS requires a minimum of 16 hours of CPE every year.
Renewal after initial enrollment cycle
Individuals admitted to practice at any time during an enrollment cycle, “the three successive enrollment years preceding the effective date of renewal,”must complete two hours of continuing professional education for each month of enrollment, including two hours of ethics or professional conduct in each year.
Practice before the IRS: Enrolled agents and other practitioners
The right to practice before the Internal Revenue Service is regulated by Federal statute, and persons authorized to practice are known as “Federally Authorized Tax Practitioners,”or “FATPs”. The FATP status is granted to attorneys, certified public accountants, and enrolled agents, each having unlimited representation rights before the Internal Revenue Service. These practitioners may represent their clients on any matters including audits, collection actions, payment issues, tax refund matters, and appeals. FATP status is also granted with limited representation rights to enrolled actuaries, enrolled retirement plan agents, and registered tax return preparers.
Enrolled agents, like other FATPs, are subject to a set of procedures and regulations described in Treasury Department Circular No. 230, Regulations Governing the Practice of Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants, Enrolled Agents, Enrolled Actuaries, and Appraisers before the Internal Revenue Service (or Circular 230).
When practicing before the Internal Revenue Service, enrolled agents may not use the term “certified” in describing their professional designation. An enrolled agent admitted to practice before the Internal Revenue Service may not state or imply that an employer/employee relationship exists between the enrolled agent and the Internal Revenue Service.
Practice in federal courts
Enrolled agent status does not automatically allow the enrollee to practice before the United States Tax Court. That practice is limited to members of the Bar of the Court. The Internal Revenue Code states, “No qualified person shall be denied admission to practice before the Tax Court because of his failure to be a member of any profession or calling.” Bar membership for non-attorneys requires that the applicant pass a Tax Court examination. Attorneys are admitted to the Bar of the Tax Court without having to take the examination.
National registration of federal tax return preparers in the United States
All tax return preparers, including those tax return preparers who are attorneys, certified public accountants, or enrolled agents, are required to have a Practitioner Tax Identification Number (PTIN).
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For full disclosure, Steve is registered as an Investment Advisor Representative of Dedicated Investment Advisers, LLC, (DIAL), a Registered Investment Adviser with the PA Securities Commission. Securities and Advisory Services: offered through DIAL, 2024 Darby Rd, Havertown. As such, these services are strictly intended for individuals residing in Pennsylvania.
As well, Steve also holds an insurance license for Long-Term Care, Life Insurance, and Annuities, offered by well-known reputable companies via Dedicated Insurance Advisers, LLC.