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Taxpayers Have Until May 13 to Submit Direct Deposit Information in Order to Receive Their Stimulus Check

Optima Tax Relief provides assistance to individuals struggling with unmanageable IRS tax burdens. To assess your tax situation and determine if you qualify for tax relief, contact us for a free consultation.

  • Millions of stimulus checks are still being sent out to taxpayers via direct deposit or ground mail.
  • Individuals will receive their checks much quicker if they fill out their information for direct deposit on the IRS website.
  • Taxpayers have until noon on May 13, to submit their direct deposit information in order to receive their check through their preferred bank account.

If you have yet to receive your stimulus check and would like to receive your money directly in your bank account, there is still time to do so. The IRS announced last Friday that taxpayers will have until noon on Wednesday, May 13, to submit their direct deposit information. 

For those that fail to set up direct deposit before the deadline, the government will send out paper checks that will arrive sometime in May and in June. 

Individuals who qualify for the stimulus check will receive up to $1,200, or a maximum of $2,400 for married couples, in addition to $500 for each child under the age of 17. The check is meant to assist taxpayers that are struggling financially due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

The IRS has provided the Get My Payment tool that allows individuals to not only check the status of their payments, but to also request that their stimulus check be sent to them via direct deposit. 

For those who are not required to file their taxes, the IRS has also provided a non-filers tool that allows taxpayers to submit their basic tax information  such as their bank account number, in order to receive their check through their preferred bank account.

If you receive government benefits through Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Railroad Retirement or Veteran Affairs, you will not need to fill out any information to receive your money. These individuals will have their stimulus check automatically sent out to them.

If you need tax help, contact us for a free consultation.

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5 Ways you can Protect Your Financial Future During Quarantine

Optima Tax Relief provides assistance to individuals struggling with unmanageable IRS tax burdens. To assess your tax situation and determine if you qualify for tax relief, contact us for a free consultation.

With so much uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, which has caused businesses to close their doors, leaving large numbers of people unemployed, and created a nationwide self-quarantine in efforts to prevent spreading the virus even more than it already has, many find themselves struggling to deal with the stress of the situation. You may be wondering how you can protect yourself financially during these difficult times, as well as learning how you can ensure that you are also protected in the future should a similar situation occur. 

Here are a few ways you can protect yourself financially during the coronavirus outbreak:

  1. Create a budget – Having a budget in place will prevent you from making short-sighted purchases and help you focus more on your necessary expenses that you will have throughout each month. Make a point to also go through your bank statements to see what expenses you typically accrue through the month and find any frivolous spending you can cut out of your budget completely. Having a budget in place will help you build a robust savings account that may come in handy during emergencies.
  2. Start an emergency fund – Having extra money on hand could help you avoid a disaster in the future like being unable to pay your bills or having to take on additional unexpected expenses. Most employees are able to request that a certain percentage of their pay is redirected to the account of their choice.  Try allocating a set amount every month to a saving account to allow the money to accrue overtime. 
  3. File your taxes – With the tax filing deadline being extended until July, taxpayers should take advantage of filing their returns now since any changes on your tax status won’t affect your 2019 taxes. If you’re still waiting to receive your stimulus check, filing your tax return will allow you to update your direct deposit information if you haven’t done so already.
  4. Consider investing your money – The market is currently falling, which means that stock prices are lower than they have been for a long time. Do your research and see what stocks are beneficial to buy, purchase them and wait out the downturn. Eventually, the market will go back up and you will see a return on your investments. 
  5. Pay off your high-interest debt – If you have a credit card that is accruing a large sum every month and you’re still paying the minimum amount every month, it may be time to consider paying a higher amount each month – or if possible, pay off the balance in full. Paying down your credit card debt will allow you to have even more additional income that you could potentially invest with or put into savings.

If you need tax help, contact us for a free consultation.

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Why You May Not be Receiving a Refund this Tax Season

Optima Tax Relief provides assistance to individuals struggling with unmanageable IRS tax burdens. To assess your tax situation and determine if you qualify for tax relief, contact us for a free consultation.

If you’ve filed your tax return and expected to receive a refund only to find out that you owe a tax balance, your return was rejected, or you received a notice from the IRS about your return, you may be wondering what you did wrong and how you can avoid any future tax time surprises.  

Here are a few reasons why you didn’t receive your refund:

  1. Your return contains inaccurate information. If your tax return contains numerical errors or other mistakes, this can slow down the processing time with the IRS. If an error is detected on your return, an IRS agent will have to manually review your return for any mistakes causing a delay in you receiving a refund until the mistake has been corrected.
  • Your tax return is incomplete. Failing to include information such as your social security number or misspelling your name could result in a delay when it comes to receiving your tax return. If you e-file your return and it’s missing a page, this will also stop you from getting a refund. Make sure to double-check all information placed on your return and that all pages are included before sending it off to the IRS.
  • You put the wrong banking information on your return. If you request to have your refund sent to your bank account, make sure the accounting and routing information you put down is accurate. If just one number is wrong on the banking information you provided, it could cause your refund to be sent to someone else’s account. 
  • You’re a victim of tax fraud. If your personal information has been stolen and someone has filed a fraudulent return on your behalf to claim your refund, you will need to contact the IRS and the Federal Trade Commission to file a fraud report and properly file your return.

If you need tax help, contact us for a free consultation.

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Is Working with the IRS Your Only Option?

Optima Tax Relief provides assistance to individuals struggling with unmanageable IRS tax burdens. To assess your tax situation and determine if you qualify for tax relief, contact us for a free consultation.

  • Taxpayers have the option to work with the IRS directly or hire a tax professional to help resolve their tax situation.
  • Working directly with the IRS to settle tax debt could prove to be extremely time intensive. 
  • A tax professional will work with the IRS on your behalf to get you compliant and to negotiate the best possible outcome for you.

If you just found out you owe a tax liability or you’ve known for some time that you’ve had an outstanding balance with the IRS and you have no idea how you’re going to pay them back, don’t freak out. There
are options the IRS provides for taxpayers to get compliant as well as tax professionals who can walk you through every step of how to get you on the right track with your tax debt. 

Should you choose to work directly with the IRS, they will require that you have filed all your taxes, including the current tax year. If you have some tax years that have yet to be filed, you may have to either file your own taxes or go to a tax preparer to file for you. Once this is complete, the IRS will request proof of your most recent income to review what payment agreement you qualify for. The IRS will then present you with options you have for a monthly payment plan. Although the IRS will review some of your expenses and consider them as a factor when deciding how high your payment plan should be, the process to see if you can get it reduced can be extensive and time-consuming.

If you decide to go with a tax firm, they will negotiate on your behalf so you don’t have to deal with the IRS. If you have unfiled tax years that need to be filed, a tax firm will typically assist you with all your unfiled years and make sure that you’re up to date with all your taxes. Once your returns are filed and your financials have been reviewed, a tax professional will usually go over payment plan options you may qualify for and explain to you why you qualify for those options. After your options have been discussed with you, a tax professional will begin negotiations with an IRS agent and will attempt to get you the best possible outcome.

If you have a tax balance that you’re looking to settle with the IRS, weigh your options. Research whether it is more feasible to negotiate with the IRS directly or to have a tax professional assist you throughout the process. Whichever you decide to go with, it will still be beneficial to you since both will get you out of collections and compliant with
the IRS.

If you need tax help, contact us for a free consultation.

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Avoid any Tax-Time Surprises by Following these Simple Rules

Optima Tax Relief provides assistance to individuals struggling with unmanageable IRS tax burdens. To assess your tax situation and determine if you qualify for tax relief, contact us for a free consultation.

  • Taxpayers could potentially qualify for credits on their tax return that could either lower their tax balance or produce a larger tax refund. 
  • The IRS recommends that taxpayers check their withholdings throughout the year to ensure they are on the right track.
  • If you’re a 1099 earner or you’re not withholding enough from your paychecks, you will most likely need to make estimated tax payments throughout the year.

Tax filing season is upon us which means there may be some surprises you encounter along the way that may or may not be unpleasant. So what can you do to avoid being caught off guard when filing your taxes? 

Below are a few ways to prepare to get the most out of filing your tax return:

Understand what you qualify for. There are a vast amount of tax credits that you could potentially qualify for. The IRS isn’t going to tell you what you’re allowed to place on your tax return, so it is up to you as a taxpayer to do your own research or inquire with a tax professional to see if the type of expenses you have incurred can possibly go on your return. A few types of credits that you may qualify could be the following:

  1. Lifetime learning credit– this is to help offset the costs of post-secondary education; eligible students could earn up to $2,000. The credit is available to those who make $58,000 or less, or for married couples earning $116,000 or less. 
  2. Child and dependent care credit – this is to help offset the cost of babysitting and daycare. This is available to taxpayers who have children under the age of 13.
  3. Savers tax credit – Those who qualify have made eligible contributions to retirement plans such as a 401K. Taxpayers with the least income will qualify for a larger credit – up to $1,000 for those filing as single, or $2,000 for those filing jointly.

Do a withholding checkup. The IRS recommends that taxpayers check their withholdings throughout the year to ensure they are on the right track to receive a refund and to avoid owing at the end of the year. If your income has increased during the year, it is advised that you do a checkup to ensure that you are withholding enough or if more needs to be taken out of your paycheck. 

Make estimated tax payments. If you’re a 1099 earner or you’re not withholding enough from your paychecks, you will most likely need to make estimated tax payments throughout the year to ensure you don’t owe a tax liability come next filing season. The IRS allows taxpayers to make their payments via ground mail or online. Taxpayers are required to make their payments quarterly or monthly to ensure they do not receive a penalty when they file their taxes. If you need assistance calculating your estimated tax payments, the IRS encourages you to use their withholding estimator to see how much you should be making in payments. 

If you need tax help, contact us for a free consultation.

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Companies Giving Back During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Optima Tax Relief provides assistance to individuals struggling with unmanageable IRS tax burdens. To assess your tax situation and determine if you qualify for tax relief, contact us for a free consultation.

During these difficult times, we as Americans
are attempting to do our part by staying indoors and minimizing contact with
the outside world. Although it seems that there may be no end in sight as virus
numbers continue to increase,  some companies
have noticed that many Americans have been struggling to cope and have decided
to give back in any way they can.

These are just some of the many ways that businesses have been giving back to their employees and communities:

  1. Starbucks has extended its mental health benefits by offering confidential mental health care, 20 free in-person or video sessions for therapists and coaches. 
  • LinkedIn is providing 16 free courses that provide tips on staying
    productive, building relationships, how to use virtual meeting tools, and many
    other courses. 
  • Mark Cuban announced that all his employees will be reimbursed for any lunch and coffee purchases from local and independent small businesses.
  • Adobe is providing higher education and K-12 institutional customers
    their Creative Cloud apps which have the ability to request temporary at-home
    access for both students and educators. 
  • Salesforce has created a $1.5 million dollar coronavirus fund for San
    Francisco citizens that have been affected. 
  • Shake Shack returned their $10 million federal loan they received from the Paycheck Protection Program so it could go to other small businesses that are currently struggling and have yet to receive financial assistance.

If you need tax help, contact us for a free consultation.


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Avoid Scammers Getting Their Hands on Your Stimulus Check

Optima Tax Relief provides assistance to individuals struggling with unmanageable IRS tax burdens. To assess your tax situation and determine if you qualify for tax relief, contact us for a free consultation.

With millions of Americans currently losing their jobs and income during these difficult times, receiving a stimulus check is necessary for many Americans to stay afloat. The IRS has already begun to distribute stimulus checks for up to $1,200 to individuals. Although the thought of receiving money can seem like a good thing, it can also mean that there are thieves looking to take your check before you can even receive it.

Here are a few ways to avoid becoming a victim of fraud:

  1. The IRS will never contact you. Scammers may try to contact you claiming that they are an IRS agent and they need further personal information in order to process your check. This tactic is called “spoofing” and taxpayers can expect an increase in receiving these types of fraudulent phone calls as stimulus checks are being distributed. 
  2. Avoid clicking on emails claiming to be from the IRS.  Another tactic that you may come across are emails that appear to be from the IRS requesting that you provide your social security number or banking information. Be wary of these emails and avoid clicking on any associated link that is attached to the email as it could lead to a virus on your computer and whatever personal information stored on your computer could be stolen.
  3. If you don’t have direct deposit, you’ll never need someone to assist you with setting it up. The IRS will be sending money to households via direct deposit, using the banking information that you placed on your tax return. 

If you don’t have direct deposit, the IRS provides you with two options. You can submit your banking information to the IRS portal or you can choose to receive a paper check. If someone attempts to contact you claiming that they’re going to assist you with receiving your stimulus check much quicker, avoid providing any personal information to this person. The IRS will never attempt to contact you about your stimulus check and provides tools on their website for taxpayers to fill out themselves.

If you need tax help, contact us for a free consultation.

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You Could be Receiving a Monthly $2,000 Check and Canceled Rent or Mortgage Payments for 1 Year

Optima Tax Relief provides assistance to individuals struggling with unmanageable IRS tax burdens. To assess your tax situation and determine if you qualify for tax relief, contact us for a free consultation.

Stimulus Check:

Lawmakers are proposing a new economic plan to assist taxpayers during this ongoing crisis. The Emergency Money for the People Act would give Americans a $2,000 check every month for a year.  Those receiving the check must be 16 years and over and earn less than $130,000 and would continue until unemployment levels drop back down. 

Individuals who were left out of the initial act would be included, such as some high school students, college students and adults with disabilities who were previously ineligible to receive the prior stimulus check because they were claimed as a dependent on another tax return.

Additional eligibility requires:

  • Married couples earning less than $260,000 would receive $4,000 a month.
  • Qualifying families with children would receive $500 for up to 3 children.
  • Those who had no earnings, were unemployed, or currently unemployed will qualify for a stimulus check.
  • Taxpayers must have their 2019 or 2018 tax returns filed in order to receive their check. 

Canceled Rent/Mortgage Payments:

In addition to the stimulus check proposal, lawmakers also want to introduce an act that would help struggling Americans that are currently unable to pay their rent or mortgage due to the coronavirus. The Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, if approved, would call for a nationwide cancellation of mortgage and rent payments through the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, or up to one year. 

The bill would additionally include:

  • Rent or mortgage forgiveness for the primary resident.
  • No negative impacts on your credit score.
  • A relief fund would be established for landlords and mortgage holders.
  • No accumulation of debt for renters or homeowners.

We will continue to update you with new information as this story develops. 

If you need tax help, contact us for a free consultation.

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What You Need to Know About the Economic Relief Small Business Loan

Optima Tax Relief provides assistance to individuals struggling with unmanageable IRS tax burdens. To assess your tax situation and determine if you qualify for tax relief, contact us for a free consultation.

  • New negotiations on Capitol Hill have been ongoing in an attempt to assist the small businesses that have yet to receive relief.
  • Early discussions included allocating more money for hospitals and state governments during this time of crisis.
  • $60 billion in loans and grants would go to a small business lending program.

More than 22 million people have lost their jobs within the last month and many businesses are struggling to stay open as the economy continues to get closer to an impending recession. Discussions have been surrounding a new small business loan on Capitol Hill that is expected to assist small businesses that have been affected by the economic fallout from the coronavirus. 

Last Thursday, the $349 billion emergency small business lending loan program ran dry and now new negotiations on Capitol Hill have been ongoing in an attempt to assist the small businesses that have yet to receive relief. 

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Democrats are attempting to reach an agreement for a package that will immediately increase funding for the program to assist additional businesses. Early discussions included allocating more money for hospitals and state governments
during this time of crisis with $75 million being directed to hospitals and $25 billion for testing. 

The package continues to be finalized, lawmakers are discussing an increase of $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, with $60 billion being reserved for smaller financial institutions to distribute while the other half would be for provisioned lenders with less than $10 billion in assets and for institutions and with assets between $10 billion and $50 billion. An additional $60 billion in loans and grants would go to a separate small business lending program.

We will continue to update you with new information as this story develops. 

If you need tax help, contact us for a free consultation.

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When will You Receive your Stimulus Check?

Optima Tax Relief provides assistance to individuals struggling with unmanageable IRS tax burdens. To assess your tax situation and determine if you qualify for tax relief, contact us for a free consultation.

As of this week, the IRS has started to send out stimulus checks to taxpayers. An estimated 80 million people received the payment deposited into their bank accounts this Wednesday, others will be waiting longer to receive their money.

When should I expect to receive my payment?

The initial round of payments went to those who filed their 2018 and 2019 tax returns who requested directed deposits for their tax refunds. Those who had the lowest amount of income were distributed their checks first. In addition to this, Social Security recipients will automatically receive their tax payment even if they have not filed a tax return. 

For those who opted out of direct debit, the IRS will distribute checks, taxpayers could be waiting for weeks before they receive their money. If you have not been required to file a tax return for the past two years, the IRS will require you to submit some information before they send you a check. 

How do I check the status of my payment?

If you have yet to receive your stimulus check and want to find out further information on when you should expect it, the IRS
created an online tool called Get My Payment that allows taxpayers to check on the status of their money. 

In order to track the status of your money, the IRS will require that you enter your Social Security number, date of birth, and mailing address. For those that attempted to use this tool on Wednesday, the Treasury Department recommends checking again since the tool updates once daily. 

If you need tax help, contact us for a free consultation.

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