Do You Qualify for IRS Penalty Relief?

Penalty abatements provide relief from IRS tax penalties. How do you know if you’re eligible? If you are looking to resolve your tax burden with the IRS, you may qualify for a penalty abatement. Optima CEO David King and Lead Tax Attorney Philip Hwang discuss the two most common circumstances that would qualify you for penalty relief.

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

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What to do if You Missed the Tax Filing Deadline

filing deadline

The end of tax season was officially April 18, 2022, which means the IRS is diving into enforcements and catching up on notices. What should you do, and what should you expect if you missed the filing deadline?

One-Time Penalty Relief

For late filers who have a history of filing and making payments on-time, you may qualify for one-time penalty relief. One-time penalty relief could reduce your owed balance by removing penalties such as interest. It’s also referred to as penalty abatement.

What Happens to Your Refund When You File Late?

Although your return is late, you should still file your taxes as soon as possible. If you are expecting to receive a return, but you filed late, you may have some of the balance offset and receive a smaller refund.

If you qualify for one-time penalty relief, you will not owe a balance and you can expect to receive the full refund.

Because you filed late, your refund will likely be late as well. The IRS has a huge backlog and the returns that are e-filed on time are top priority. Filing by paper and filing late will increase the likelihood of delays.

Penalties for Filing Your Taxes Late

Penalties for late filing range based on how late you file. Filing a few days late could result in interest on your balance. You will continue to accrue interest daily until you file, or the IRS will take more serious enforcement action.

Some of these more serious actions include levies and account liens, or even garnishing your wages to pay the balance owed.

Tax Debt Relief

Cases of tax returns that are years behind, or accounts that have been levied may benefit from professional assistance. Tax debt relief is available for many cases, in the form of payment agreements, offer in compromise, penalty abatement, and innocent spouse relief.

Call Optima for a free consultation today at (800) 536-0734. Our tax professionals may be able to assist you with your case.

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IRS Unclaimed Tax Refunds

tax refunds

There were about 1.5 million taxpayers that didn’t file a return in 2018. The IRS announced that it has $1.5 billion in tax refunds from 2018 and gave taxpayers until the end of the season to claim their money. If you missed out on claiming your refund, there are steps you can take to make sure you claim other refunds from 2019 and on.

How to claim an old tax refund

Taxpayers have a three-year deadline to claim unpaid tax refunds for federal taxes. While there are instances where it may not be required for you to report your income, filing helps the IRS ensure that you receive any refunds you may be eligible for.

The first thing you should do is make sure that you filed for the year in question. If you missed the filing deadline, you should still file as soon as possible to avoid IRS enforcement. To file a return from 2018 and prior years, you’ll have to file by paper. The final page of your current Form 1040 will tell you which IRS center to send your return to, as it may differ based on your state.

Low and moderate-income families could be eligible for larger refunds by qualifying for Earned Income Tax Credit. This credit is based on the number of children in a household and filing status.

Returns for 2019 and on can be e-filed.

What happens to your refund if you owe back taxes?

The refund is generally applied to any amount that you owe to your state or the IRS. It can be used to offset other overdue balances such as child support and student loans as well.

Optima Tax Relief assists clients with large tax liabilities reach a resolution. Give us a call for a free consultation today at (800) 536-0734.

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Where is My Tax Refund?

The IRS backlog has caused delays in millions of tax refunds, but not all refunds are delayed due to the pandemic. Lead Tax Attorney Philip Hwang and CEO David King discuss how you can avoid refund delays when you file and how your refund may be affected by various circumstances.

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

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President Biden’s Billionaire Income Tax Proposal

billionaire tax

President Joe Biden has discussed a proposal that would target billionaires in his 2023 budget. The proposal calls for a new minimum tax, forwardly named the “Billionaire Minimum Income Tax.”

What exactly is the Billionaire Minimum Income Tax?

This tax would assess a 20% minimum tax rate on US households worth more than $100 million. However, over half the revenue would likely come from households bringing in more than $1 billion of income.

The proposal document states, “This minimum tax would make sure that the wealthiest Americans no longer pay a tax rate lower than teachers and firefighters.”

Wealthy households that already pay 20% on their full income won’t pay any additional tax under the Billionaire Income Tax proposal. However, if they pay less than 20%, they will be expected to meet the new minimum.

What will the Billionaire Minimum Income Tax accomplish?

The proposal was created as part of Biden’s new spending plan, which is expected to reduce the deficit by $1.3 trillion over the next ten years. About $360 billion of that would be due to this new levy proposal.

In 2021, the federal deficit totaled nearly $2.8 trillion. Should this proposal pass through Congress, we could see nearly half of the deficit decrease over the next ten years.

When would the Billionaire Minimum Income Tax be enacted?

There is still uncertainty surrounding Congress moving forward on Biden’s proposal. Last year, Senate Democrats proposed a billionaires’ tax that ultimately didn’t proceed.

As Congress continues to discuss and debate the new billionaire tax proposal, Optima will update our readers and clients accordingly.

For tax debt assistance, call Optima at (800) 536-0734 for a free consultation today.

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IRS Sends Large Tax Bills for 2021 Unemployment Benefits


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of US workers lost their jobs. While some were able to return to work in 2021, approximately 25 million people received unemployment benefits and didn’t withhold taxes. The IRS is now looking to collect back taxes for the $325 billion in total benefits and mailed millions of large tax bills this season.

Withholding Unemployment Tax

Most states and the federal government consider unemployment benefits taxable income. You should withhold federal taxes on your unemployment in order to avoid a bill the following tax season.

In 2020, there was a tax break that allowed millions of Americans to owe a lesser amount of tax, or not owe tax at all. However, as the IRS has steadily made efforts to return to normal enforcement activity since 2021, there was no such tax break this year.

What happens if you don’t pay taxes on unemployment benefits?

As with any tax liability, you will receive a tax bill from the IRS via mail. Should you not reach out to the IRS or pay the bill by the end of the tax season, you could face enforcement consequences such as a levy or lien, accrue interest, and lose eligibility for a refund after filing a return.

What to do if you owe taxes for unemployment benefits

If you owe taxes on your unemployment benefits and can’t afford to pay it back in full, you have a couple of options. The first option, if your tax bill isn’t too high by your means, you can contact the IRS to set up a payment plan. This option allows you to negotiate how much you will pay monthly until the bill is paid.

Should you find that your liability is too high for you to pay back or you’re facing hardship that doesn’t allow you to afford your payment options, consider seeking professional assistance such as Optima Tax Relief.

At Optima, we assist clients who owe state and federal taxes, including individual, joint filers, and business filers. Give us a call at (800) 536-0734 for a free consultation today.

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Optima Tax Relief is Recognized in Comparably’s Best HR Teams 2022

comparably hr

Comparably’s Best HR Teams list recognizes the nation’s top HR departments. There are over 299,440 Human Resources Managers currently employed in the United States, and Optima is proud to announce that our HR team has ranked in the Top 50!

About Comparably

Comparably is a leading workplace culture and corporate brand reputation platform with over 15 million anonymous employee ratings on 70,000 companies. Comparably awards are based on feedback provided by current employees in several categories. Workplace culture categories included the following:

  • Compensation
  • Leadership
  • Co-workers
  • Work-life balance
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Perks and benefits
  • Executive Team
  • Retention
  • Happiness
  • Meetings
  • Diversity
  • Team
  • CEO Rating
  • Manager
  • eNPS
  • Gender
  • Overall Culture
  • Office Culture

Of nearly 20 different categories total, all ratings were provided from March 2021 through March 2022.

Optima’s HR Team

Optima’s Associate VP of Human Resources Kimberly Carson shared her experience working with Optima, saying, “When I came to Optima, I was provided the opportunity to build almost an entirely new HR department/team. We have been incredibly blessed for the way that both the current and new HR team members have come together to show support for one another in working as a team, to be selfless and supportive every day, and exhibit a true love for life and positivity. I wake up each day excited to work with this team, and I feel incredibly honored that their efforts are being recognized for all the great work they do to make it the best department! I could not be prouder of our team!”

Optima is just as honored to have the great support system that is our HR department. We look forward to our company’s growth and improvement in all categories for next year’s list. Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition!

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Does Inflation Affect Your Tax Debt?

The state of the economy can be detrimental to your IRS or state tax liability. What exactly happens to your tax debt during inflationary periods? CEO David King and Lead Tax Attorney Phillip Hwang discuss the difference in interest rates, deadlines, and what to do if you find yourself in this circumstance.

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

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Gas Stimulus: What You Need to Know

gas stimulus

The inflation is directly affecting drivers and daily commuters alike with skyrocketing gas prices. In California, the average cost for regular gas is now up to $5.82, or $6.21 for premium. Recently, the government has decided to step in on federal and state levels to alleviate costs and provide support to the public. This has led to the creation of a new gas stimulus, which would support households that own vehicles.

Gas Rebate Act of 2022

The Gas Rebate was introduced by Reps Mike Thompson (CA-05), John Larson (CT-01), and Lauren Underwood (IL-14). The bill calls for an energy rebate of $100 per month, plus another $100 for each dependent for the rest of 2022.

“The Putin Price Hike is putting a strain on our economy,” Thompson said, “and I am proud to be working with Reps.  Larson and Underwood to introduce this legislation to provide middle-class Americans with monthly payments to ease the financial burden of this global crises.”

The stipulation is that the average gas prices must exceed $4.00 per gallon; meaning, if at any time during the year the gas prices drop to an affordable price, then the stimulus check would not be dispersed that month.

What are the requirements to be eligible for the gas stimulus check?

  • Single filers earning less than $75,000 and phases out to $80,000
  • Joint filers earning less than $150,000 and phases out at $160,000

If you earn more than $80,000, you could still be eligible for a smaller amount.

Gavin Newsom’s Gas Proposal

Governor Newsom proposed $400 per vehicle in direct payments for California taxpayers. The maximum is two cars per household. The proposal calls for the use of $9 billion of the state’s budget surplus to provide the $400 rebate.

Optima will continue to follow news on the Gas Rebate Act of 2022 and Governor Newsom’s proposal, and update our readers and client accordingly.

At Optima, we help clients that are facing tax debt in their journey to a resolution. Give us a call at (800)536-0734 for a free consultation today.

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IRS Backlog to Clear Up by End of 2022

irs backlog

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS was forced to close its doors. Since reopening, there has been an extensive backlog of tax returns that the organization couldn’t seem to catch up on. Many American taxpayers have been waiting for refunds that are a year or more behind. In recent weeks, Commissioner Charles Rettig stated that the IRS backlog is due to clear up by the end of 2022.

What has changed for the IRS?

In addition to the complications of being a business in the midst of a pandemic, being understaffed has also immensely affected the turn-around for tax returns. This month, the IRS has accelerated their recruiting process in order to reach a goal of hiring 10,000 new employees. The hiring push is expected to cut tens of millions of tax returns in the backlog.

What does a clear backlog mean for 2023 filing season?

Commissioner Rettig said, “As of today, barring any unforeseen circumstances, if the world stays as it is today, we will be what we call ‘healthy’ by the end of the calendar year 2022, and enter the 2023 filing season with normal inventories.”

This means that next year, the IRS will likely resume usual enforcement and collection activity. With a lack of backlogged returns and a mostly healthy nation, in addition to thousands of new hires, the IRS can operate normally- if not better than the last two years.

What does IRS enforcement look like?

When you have a penalty or fall behind in paying your taxes, you should expect a notice from the IRS. The notice is the first step in communicating a liability. From there, your penalty can accrue interest daily until paid.

The IRS is also known for applying liens and levies, taking legal possession of your assets. Ideally, you want to contact them before this point to gain compliance and prevent worst-case scenarios.\

What if you owe back taxes currently?

At Optima, we help clients that are facing tax debt in their journey to a resolution. Give us a call at (800)536-0734 for a free consultation today.

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