Tax Help Videos

IRS Audits: Tips for Staying on the IRS’s Good Side

The IRS has the authority to audit any tax return. Optima CEO David King and Lead Tax Attorney Philip Hwang explain what an audit is and help taxpayers understand what they can do to stay on the right side of the IRS. (One important tip: The IRS sends audit notices through the U.S. Postal Service. “Audit notices” coming to you over the phone or email can safely be considered a scam.)

Confused or scared by an IRS notice? Download the Optima®TAX APP and easily understand the severity of your tax situation.

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Received a Math Notice from the IRS? Here’s what to do.

The IRS sent out more than 5 million math error notices to individuals, many of them having to do with the economic impact payment issued in 2020 and 2021. Optima CEO David King and Lead Tax Attorney Philip Hwang help explain what this notice means and provide guidance on what to do if one is received in the mail.

Got an IRS Notice? Get a FREE Risk Review with our Optima® TAX APP with Notice Analyzer

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What’s the difference between a Tax Lien and Levy?

If you’ve received a notice from the IRS, you could be at risk of having IRS action taken against you. Some of the most common tactics that are used by the IRS is filing a tax lien or levying an individual’s assets. Optima CEO David King and Lead Tax Attorney Philip Hwang help taxpayers understand the difference between a lien and levy and how to stay on the IRS’ good side.   

Confused or scared by an IRS notice? Download the Optima®TAX APP and easily understand the severity of your tax situation.

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Can you Stop a Tax Lien?

Individuals who fail to file their tax returns or pay off their tax liability with the IRS are at risk of having a federal tax lien filed against them. Optima CEO David King and Lead Tax Attorney Philip Hwang discuss options a taxpayer has in order to mitigate the impact of a tax lien being filed by the IRS.

Got an IRS Notice? Get a FREE Risk Review with our Optima® TAX APP with Notice Analyzer

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What is a Federal Tax Lien?

Owing a tax balance with the IRS could mean that a federal tax lien has been filed against you and any assets or property that you have. Optima CEO David King and Lead Tax Attorney Philip Hwang discuss how a federal tax lien can directly impact an individual and what they need to do in order to resolve their tax liability.

Confused or scared by an IRS notice? Download the Optima®TAX APP and easily understand the severity of your tax situation.

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How long do you have to Claim your Tax Refund?

The IRS reported more than a billion dollars’ worth of unclaimed tax refunds last tax season. Optima CEO David King and Lead Tax Attorney Philip Hwang remind taxpayers that they have up to three years to claim their tax refunds with the IRS and review how they can receive the assets that are owed to them.

Got an IRS Notice? Get a FREE Risk Review with our Optima® TAX APP with Notice Analyzer

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How long does the IRS have to collect on your unpaid tax debt?

The IRS can collect on any outstanding tax liabilities for up to ten years from the filing date – and in some cases even longer. Join Optima CEO David King and Lead Tax Attorney Philip Hwang as they review what you can expect if you find yourself with aging unpaid IRS tax debt and offer tips on what you should do next.

Received an IRS notice? Download our free Optima® TAX APP to get your IRS notice analyzed today.

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Tips for Hiring a Tax Resolution Firm

IRS issues can be complicated to solve on your own. Understandably, many people look to find a professional tax firm for help.  But some tax companies are better qualified than others. Optima CEO David King and Lead Tax Attorney Philip Hwang provide helpful tips on how to find a truly qualified tax firm and some red flags taxpayers should look out for.

Got an IRS Notice? Get a FREE Risk Review with our Optima® TAX APP with Notice Analyzer

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The IRS has Resumed its U.S. Passport Revocation Program

Optima CEO David King and Lead Tax Attorney Philip Hwang answer questions on how taxpayers can avoid getting their passport seized by the IRS.

As of March 14, 2021, the IRS resumed their Passport Certification program, and in doing so has notified the Department of State about taxpayers that are certified as owing a seriously delinquent tax debt. The IRS previously suspended certain collection activities, including passport certification, under the People First Initiative, which was created in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Taxpayers who are delinquent with their tax debt should expect to receive a notice informing them of their balance due. It is recommended that individuals pay off their tax liability or enter into a payment agreement with the IRS to avoid any collection action and having their passports revoked. The level of action the IRS takes against an individual is typically based on the amount owed and how long the taxpayer has been delinquent without contacting the IRS to resolve their tax balance.

The IRS is typically required by law to certify individuals to the Department of State when an individual has unpaid, legally enforceable federal tax debt over the amount of $54,000 (including interest and penalties), of which a federal lien has be filed against and all administrative remedies under Internal Revenue Code Section 6320 have lapsed or been exhausted. The IRS is also required to certify any individuals who have had a levy issued against a tax debt of that size.

If a taxpayer has a large tax debt amount, the State Department typically will not renew or issue out a new, passport after receiving certification from the IRS, and in some extreme cases, they may even revoke someone’s current passport. Taxpayers living and working overseas will have a limited validity passport issued out by the State Department that is only valid for a direct return to the United States. Before a passport renewal or new passport application is denied, the State Department will typically hold a taxpayer’s application for 90 days to allow a taxpayer to:

  • Pay any owed tax debt in full.
  • Enter into a payment arrangement with the IRS.
  • Resolve any erroneous certification issues.

Once a taxpayer has resolved their tax issue, the IRS will generally reverse the certification within 30 days of the date of resolution and provide notification to the State Department.

Resolve your tax situation

The IRS provides a variety of programs that assist taxpayers in resolving their tax obligations including payment agreements and Offers in Compromise. In some cases, if the IRS determines a taxpayer is in a financial hardship and cannot pay any of their tax debt, a temporary delay will be made to the collection process.

Taxpayers who recently filed their tax return for the current year and expect a refund should be aware that their refund amount will be applied to the total debt owed until it has been paid in full. If the refund is enough to satisfy a delinquent tax debt, the IRS will consider the account paid in full. Taxpayers are warned to not solely rely on this option and resolve their tax issues as soon as possible in order to avoid collections with the IRS.

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What happens if I miss the Tax Deadline

Failing to file your tax return before the tax deadline could result in the IRS filing on your behalf, and more often than not, the IRS will file a return that is unfavorable to you. Optima CEO David King and Lead Tax Attorney Philip Hwang provide helpful tips on what to do if you receive a balance due notice and how to file your own return to replace the one that was filed by the IRS.

Need more time to file your taxes? Download the Optima® TAX APP to file a free tax extension today.

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