Letter: Buyer beware with solar-energy investment

This is a text version of a Salt Lake Tribue article that was originally published on Dec 2, 2015.

The original article is here.

Letter: Buyer beware with solar-energy investment

By Lou Bourque

Retired IRS agent

I read the letter from Greg Shepard of RaPower3 ("Our technology works, you'll see," Nov. 29) regarding your report that the company was a sham. He complained that the IRS and Department of Justice wanted to stop the company from succeeding. What they want to stop, presumably, is the marketing of non-legitimate tax shelters to unsuspecting and gullible "investors."

I am a non-practicing CPA and long-retired large case financial products Internal Revenue Service agent. I spent my last couple of working years working on sham tax-shelter cases.

A brief review of the company's web page showed all the hallmarks of a non-legitimate tax shelter: (1) small investment, (2) large tax credit well in excess of cash paid, (3) large accelerated depreciation offsetting other income, (4) low-interest, non-recourse financing supposedly repaid by (5) lease income from those who reputedly use the product (lenses) in energy production.

There are few financially viable products as great as they hype theirs to be which do not ultimately succeed in the marketplace.

I suggest buyer beware, or look for years of audits, headaches, representative fees to your tax counsel and ultimate loss and repayment of taxes, interest and penalties.