About Carnow & Associates, Ltd.

Carnow & Associates, Ltd. has built a reputation of providing professional, creative retirement plan design with a focus on developing the highest level of tax advantaged savings coupled with the greatest flexibility to tailor a program that will fit your individual company needs.

Located in the NorthShore area of Chicagoland, we have positioned ourselves as one of the premier pension consulting and pension actuarial firms in the region. Our primary niche/focus revolves around designing tax advantaged solutions for the small to medium size business.

Carnow & Associates, Ltd. prides itself on getting to know each of our clients on a individual basis. Properly designing a retirement plan is not “cookie-cutter” business. Your needs and the needs of your company undoubtedly change over time…and that could affect the needs, requirements and goals of your retirement plan.

Shouldn’t you have someone on your side that will be able to clearly identify these opportunities and/or pitfalls for you…before they happen?  Remove the uncertainty of your financial future. Let Carnow & Associates, Ltd. help to keep you on target toward financial independence

Donald S. Carnow

Don is the founder and President of Carnow and Associates, Ltd. He is a practicing ERISA attorney with a practice National in scope. Don is a former IRS Estate Tax Attorney and has worked exclusively in the Pension and Estate Planning fields. Mr. Carnow is a member of the Illinois Bar and is licensed to practice before the Illinois and Federal Courts including the U.S. Tax Court. His practice is dedicated exclusively to the pension, estate, and tax planning fields. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association and is an Affiliated Professional Member of the American Society of Pension Actuaries where he is a member of the Government Affair Committee. Mr. Carnow is an active member of the American Bar Association Taxation Section, Employee Benefit Committee and a frequent contributor to the proceedings of the Fiduciary Responsibility Subcommittee, the Independent Contractor Subcommittee, the Defined Benefit Subcommittee and the Qualified Distribution Subcommittee. Mr. Carnow received his bachelor of science degree in business administration, with a major in accounting, from Roosevelt University in 1963. Mr. Carnow received his Juris Doctor degree from the John Marshall Law School in 1967.

Mark H. Carnow

Mark is both an attorney and an actuary. For a number of years following law school, Mark practiced law with a large national law firm, and then with a Chicago-based litigation boutique, focusing in complex commercial, securities, and ERISA litigation matters. He now focuses his practice on tax and ERISA matters relating qualified retirement plans. Mark’s consulting practice includes, but is not limited to, plan design (401(k), DB, Cash Balance), advanced combination plan (DB/DC plan) design, implementation, administration, actuarial valuation and actuarial consulting, and related matters. His law practice includes counseling clients regarding fiduciary matters attending retirement plans, representing clients in matters before the IRS, DOL, PBGC, serving as litigation counsel on ERISA retirement plan matters, due diligence reviews associated with M&A transactions, and counseling clients with respect to plan design and related matters. Mark is a member of the Illinois Bar and is licensed to practice before the Illinois and Federal Courts, is a member of the Illinois Bar Association, and the American Bar Association Taxation Section, Employee Benefits Committee. Mark is also an Enrolled Actuary (EA) under ERISA. Mark received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Northwestern University, and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law in (cum laude).

Ronald J. Thurber

Ron is an Enrolled Agent, admitted to practice and represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service. Since joining the firm in 2001, his practice has focused on the pension consulting side of the business, including but not limited to advanced plan design, implementation, and plan administration of all types of qualified plans including 401(k), DB, and cash balance plans, audit representation and other consulting arrangements with both clients and advisors regarding all aspects of qualified retirement plans to maintain operational compliance. Ron is an Associated Professional Member (APM) of the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA) and an active member of The National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA). Ron received his Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture and Engineering Technology (magna cum laude) from Wentworth Institute of Technology in 1993.

What is an Enrolled Agent?

An Enrolled Agent (EA) is a federally-authorized tax practitioner who has technical proficiency in the field of taxation and who is empowered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the Internal Revenue Service for audits, collections, and appeals.

What does the term “Enrolled Agent” mean?

“Enrolled” means to be licensed to practice by the federal government, and “Agent” means authorized to appear in the place of the taxpayer at the IRS.  Only Enrolled Agents, attorneys, and CPAs may represent taxpayers before the IRS.  The Enrolled Agent profession dates back to 1884 when, after questionable claims had been presented for Civil War losses, Congress acted to regulate persons who represented citizens in their dealings with the U.S. Treasury Department.

How does one become an Enrolled Agent?

The license is earned in one of two ways, by passing a comprehensive examination which covers all aspects of the tax code, or having worked at the IRS for five years in a position which regularly interpreted and applied the tax code and its regulations.  All candidates are subjected to a rigorous background check conducted by the IRS.

Privilege and the Enrolled Agent

The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 allow federally authorized practitioners (those bound by the Department of Treasury’s Circular 230 regulations) a limited client privilege.  This privilege allows confidentiality between the taxpayer and the Enrolled Agent under certain conditions.  The privilege applies to situations in which the taxpayer is being represented in cases involving audits and collection matters.  It is not applicable to the preparation and filing of a tax return.  This privilege does not apply to state tax matters, although a number of states have an accountant-client privilege.

Are Enrolled Agents required to take continuing professional education?

In addition to the stringent testing and application process, the IRS requires Enrolled Agents to complete 72 hours of continuing professional education, reported every three years, to maintain their Enrolled Agent status.  NAEA members are obligated to complete 90 hours per three year reporting period.  Because of the knowledge necessary to become an Enrolled Agent and the requirements to maintain the license, there are only about 46,000 practicing Enrolled Agents.

Source: www.naea.org