I took over bookkeeping from the company's previous bookkeeper, and am struggling with cleanup in some areas.
Many of our employees have contributed pre-tax dollars to their 401k's over the years. For many years, the employees' contributions were correctly withheld from their paychecks and credited to a liability account (aside: the account was a general "Payroll Liabilities" account that was also used for FICA payroll withholdings, and should have been more specific to employee benefits). However, when the contributions were provided to the 401k administrating company, the same liability account was not debited to return the liability to $0. Instead, the transactions were recorded against an expense account called "Retirement Acct Contributions". Therefore, our "Payroll Liabilities" liability account gradually increased over time - 6 years - to where it is today at about $130,000.
I'd like to clear this liability from our balance sheet, but I'm not sure how to correctly do it. I know that I can fix each individual transaction, but that's impractical for 6 years of contributions. I'd settle for a journal entry, but again, I'm not sure what to credit and debit.
Thanks very much!
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I agree with Bob H. Appears that company took a tax deduction and recorded an expense for 401(k) remittances. Short of amending six years worth of tax returns, you AJE it out and show a negative 401k expense in the current year. Company will pick this up as income. Definitely a question for the tax preparer that did not catch on to the error or perhaps he/she did and the adjustment was never recorded.
I would ask the tax preparer for last year's adjusted trial balance and compare it to the QBs trial balance before doing anything.
I would also question the tax preparer as to why they did not question this after six years. Even if you only pay for tax returns, 401k or retirement plans should be on their list for even top-level review. Especially, if they work with the Bookkeeper so likely know not experienced, since most can tell that from a mile away.
I am not a CPA, have nothing against CPA's, just never wanted to be one. In my work, I unfortunately run into many bad CPA's and just like Bookkeepers, there are some good, some bad, and some very bad as you have probably seen based on the work you do (I do similar clean-up but for Govt contractors only).
Your client is lucky to have hired you to help them out (finally).