Should I File an Amended Tax Return?

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 already filed your tax return only to realize that there’s an error or you omitted pertinent information, you may need to consider amending your tax return. Here are the dos and don’ts you should follow when it comes to determining whether or not you should amend your return.

  1. You received a CP2000 notice. If you received this notice, the IRS is notifying you that they determined there is underreported income on your tax return. Don’t immediately file an amended return when you receive this notice. Instead, review the information that the IRS has provided you and see if there is something in fact missing on your return.
  2. You received an audit notice. In the event you receive this type of notice, the IRS will request you provide further information that they feel you did not prove on your tax return(s). Keep in mind that you are unable to file an amended return when you are being audited by the IRS. 
  3. The IRS rejected your e-filed return. Don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that you need to amend your return if the IRS rejects it. Instead, review all the information to ensure it is accurate (name, birthdates, social security numbers) and attempt to e-file again. The IRS typically rejects returns if they believe identity theft is occurring or if two people have claimed the same dependent. 
  4. You forgot to include additional information on your tax return. If you already filed your return with the IRS and realized that you forgot to include additional income you earned throughout that tax year, you do have the option to amend your tax return to include this additional income. This ensures that the IRS won’t send you a notice later on inquiring about the additional income that you received.  
  5. You forgot to claim a credit of deduction. The IRS offers many credits and deductions for eligible taxpayers to place on their tax return that could potentially lead to them reducing a tax balance they may have or receiving a bigger refund. If you qualify for either a credit or deduction but failed to include it on your return, you can amend your tax return to include this in order to receive the most out of your tax filing.
  6. Your employer made a mistake on your W-2. If there were errors on your W-2 form that lead to your employer having to send you a corrected W-2 form after you filed your taxes, the IRS will allow you to amend your return to include the new information.

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

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How to Make a Payment to the IRS

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.

  • The IRS offers payment options for those seeking to pay down their tax liability or make estimated tax payments.
  • Taxpayers paying off their tax balance can choose to have a monthly payment directly debited from their account or make payments manually.
  • For those making estimated tax payments, the IRS offers the option to mail in your payments or pay online. 

If you’re looking to avoid paying your back taxes at the end of the tax year or you want to start paying down your tax liability but have no idea where to make payments, it may be beneficial to look into what options the IRS can provide to you in order to stay compliant and out of collections.

If you owe a tax balance to the IRS and don’t have the ability to pay it back in full right away, the IRS does provide payment plan options for you to pay on a month to month basis. 

The IRS also offers the following options to help you make your monthly payments:

Direct Debit– For those who don’t want to deal with making manual payments to the IRS every month, you can request that your monthly payment is taken out from your bank account. Once you have established an agreement with the IRS, they will request that you fill out a direct debit form, also known as a 433-D form. The form requires that you input your accounting and routing information, the name of your bank, the tax balance amount, what tax years you owed for, and a signature to confirm you are requesting the tax payment be debited out of your account. 

Manual Payments – If you’re eligible, you can request to manually make your installment agreement payments. The IRS does require that you either mail in a check, money order or cashier’s check and to make it payable to the U.S. Treasury. In addition, the IRS also requires the following when you send in your payment:

  • Your name and address
  • Social security number 
  • Employee Identification number (if applicable)
  • Daytime phone number
  • Tax year
  • IRS notice or form related to the payment (if applicable)

Depending on the state you live in, the IRS will require that you mail your payment off to a specific processing center. You can click here to see where to send your payment.

Estimated Tax Payments

If you know that you’re going to owe a tax balance at the end of the tax year or are a 1099 earner looking to avoid owing money after filing your taxes, the IRS recommends that you make estimated tax payments either monthly or quarterly. 

The IRS provides several options for those looking to make their payments:

Pay online– Taxpayers can make their estimated tax payments online if they want to avoid the hassle of having to send in their payment. You can choose to: 1)  pay in full with a debit card or a credit or 2) make monthly installment agreement payments (subject to additional fees for each payment).

Manual payments– For those that choose to submit their payments by mail, the IRS requires the same information as mentioned above for the manual installment agreement payments. Taxpayers should also keep track of every payment they have made to the IRS throughout the tax year to ensure there are no discrepancies when they file their taxes. 

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


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Is the IRS Really Calling Me?

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 can expect to see an increase in identity and tax theft during tax season. 
  • Scammers most commonly reach out to taxpayers by calling them or leaving an automated message.
  • The IRS will never leave threatening voicemails about your tax account and will typically send notices via ground mail to notify you of any discrepancies they may have found. 

During tax season, tax filers can expect to see an increase in fraudulent activity from scammers looking to make money quick. As a taxpayer, you must be vigilant of any criminal activity that may be occurring and always be sure to protect your sensitive information.

The IRS will never email, call, or reach out to you via social media although, quite a few people have reported receiving supposed messages from someone claiming to be from the IRS via one of the platforms mentioned above every year. 

The most common way a scammer will attempt to reach out to a taxpayer is by phone call. Most people who see that an unknown caller is calling them will ignore the call and go about their daily routine only to check their phone later and see that they have received an automated message that is supposedly coming from the IRS. 

These messages will typically tell you that they’re from the IRS and that they’re calling you regarding a time sensitive and urgent matter regarding a large sum of money you owe. These messages may even sometimes claim that you will get sued or arrested if you don’t respond immediately.

Some people may even encounter speaking to someone that is impersonating an IRS agent. These scammers will threaten to take action against you if you do not send them the tax balance you supposedly owe right away and sometimes will ask that the payment be made using random forms of payments such as placing the money on gift cards. The impersonator may even ask for personal information like your social security number or banking information over the phone. 

The IRS will never leave you threatening voicemails about any possible tax balance or fraud regarding your account and will never ask for you to provide personal information or payments over the phone.  If the IRS is attempting to get in contact with you, they will send you a notice via ground mail letting you know if there are any discrepancies on your tax return and will allow you time to respond accordingly. 

Taxpayers should never return a phone call that they receive from someone claiming to be from the IRS and should instead contact the IRS directly to address any concerns they may have. Individuals can reach out to the IRS directly at 800-829-1040 and business owners can call them at 800-829-4933.

It is important to reiterate that the IRS will never discuss your personal tax issues through unsolicited emails, texts, or social media. Always be cautious of any phone calls you receive from someone claiming to be from the IRS who tells you that you owe money.

If you receive an unexpected and suspicious email from the IRS, forward it to phishing@irs.gov.

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

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Is a Tax Relief Company Beneficial for You?

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’re unable to afford paying your taxes on time and fear that the IRS will penalize you because of it, hiring a tax relief company may be the best choice for you. So what should you look for when you are exploring which tax relief company may be the best fit for you?

Here are the tax relief options you should look out for before choosing a company:

Release of Liens and Levies: Typically a tax relief company will offer a service where they will either assist in releasing any liens or levies that have been placed against you or work towards avoiding having them ever be placed on you.  Typically they can do this in two ways, one by filing your taxes to ensure that you are fully compliant with the IRS and two, negotiating a payment plan to get you out of collections. 

Payment Plan: One of the main services you should also be on the lookout for is whether or not the tax relief service offers to negotiate a payment plan with the IRS on your behalf. Typically, they will attempt to get you the best resolution possible by providing a compilation of all necessary expenses to the IRS in order to prove you are unable to pay your tax balance in full.

You can expect a payment plan to be a monthly expense that you will take on until your liability has been paid in full. 

Offer in Compromise: If you are facing true financial hardship and don’t have the means to pay back your IRS debt, then an Offer in Compromise (OIC) might be something you could possibly qualify for. If you do qualify, you could settle with the IRS for a lot less than what you owed – or the IRS might wipe all your debt away altogether. When searching for a tax relief company, inquire if they review their clients for OIC and if they do this at an additional charge.

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

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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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