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Tax Tips for 2023

tax tips for 2023

The 2023 tax filing season will be different than the past few years and getting prepared early can help make the process much easier. Some of the changes expected in 2023 could affect tax bills, which in turn could affect tax refunds. Here are some tax tips for 2023.  

Wait for Form 1099-K Before Filing 

Perhaps the most notable change for tax year 2022 is the reporting rule change for Form 1099-K. The form reports all funds received through third-party payment networks like Venmo and PayPal. With the rise of small businesses and gig work, a large number of taxpayers are expected to receive this form, especially since the reporting threshold has changed. Prior to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Form 1099-K was not sent out unless a taxpayer collected more than 200 transactions valued at an aggregate above $20,000. Now, that threshold has dramatically decreased to just $600. 1099-Ks must be sent out by January 31, 2023, which would make filing at the end of February or early March ideal for taxpayers. The IRS is urging everyone to wait until they receive these forms before filing. Failing to include this income can have serious, negative consequences. 

Consider Changes to Tax Credits 

Another major change for tax year 2022 is the end of expanded tax credits that were introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these credits, including the Child Tax Credit (CTC), Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child and Dependent Care Credit will return to pre-COVID levels. For example, the expanded CTC which previously granted $3,600 per dependent in 2021 will be reduced to $2,000 for the 2022 tax year. In 2021, eligible taxpayers without children received about $1,500 for the EITC but that amount will drop to about $500 for 2022. The Child and Dependent Care Credit is returning to a maximum of $2,100, down from 2021’s maximum of $8,000. These changes can drastically affect tax refunds so taxpayers should plan accordingly. 

Check Eligibility for a Clean Vehicle Credit 

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 amended the Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Credit, also known as the Clean Vehicle Credit. If you purchased a new electric vehicle after August 16, 2022, you may be eligible for a tax credit. To qualify, your purchased vehicle must have finished assembly in North America. You can check the Department of Energy’s list of approved vehicles. If you purchased an electric vehicle before August 16, 2022 but did not take possession of the vehicle until on or after August 16, 2022, you may still claim the credit. In this scenario, the final assembly of your vehicle does not need to be in North America. The credit is worth up to $7,500.  

Tax Relief for Taxpayers 

The changes for the 2022 tax year can leave many taxpayers with surprise tax bills, especially if they have not prepared for these changes throughout the year. Still, steps can and should be taken to prepare for 2023 tax filing season. These new changes can result in a more stressful tax season. Working with a qualified and dedicated tax professional can help ease the process. If you need tax help, call us at 800-536-0734 for a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable tax professionals. 

Optima Newsletter – December 2022

Optima newsletter
Tax Forms for Self-Employed Individuals

Filing taxes when you are self-employed can be very complex. One of the ways you can better prepare yourself for the filing season is to ensure you have all the correct and relevant tax forms.

Read More

An Update on Fed Rate Hikes

American households have been feeling the full effects of inflation all year with Fed rates at their highest since early 2008. Here’s the latest update on Fed rate hikes.

Read More

Taxes on Social Security Benefits

Many taxpayers are often shocked to learn that their Social Security benefits can be taxed. Here’s a brief overview of how Social Security income is taxed, both at the federal and state level. 

Read More

Tax Checklist for Moving States

tax checklist for moving states

A new year means new beginnings for taxpayers, and sometimes that means moving to a new state. One of the things that taxpayers commonly overlook when moving states is taxes. It’s important to note that not all states have the same tax laws. Some states do not have state income tax while others may tax your retirement income. Here’s a quick tax checklist for moving states.  

Check the Income Tax Rate 

When researching where to move, finances are sure to be a top priority to keep in mind. Sometimes this means choosing a state that has a lower cost of living. Another thing to consider is the state income tax rate. Certain states do not tax any income. These include: 

  • Alaska 
  • Nevada 
  • South Dakota 
  • Texas 
  • Tennessee 
  • Washington 
  • Wyoming 

Florida does not tax personal income but does tax certain business assets. New Hampshire does not tax W-2 wages but does tax certain investment and business income. California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Oregon and Minnesota currently have the highest income tax rates.  

Check Your Filing Requirements 

If you lived in two or more states during a year, you would need to check the filing requirements for each state. The requirements are typically listed on the state’s tax authority website. In most cases, you’ll need to file a return in all states you lived in during the tax year. To do this, you’ll need to calculate your earnings in each state and determine the percentage of your income that was earned in each state. You’ll need to file the relevant tax forms in each state, usually as a resident or part-year resident. It’s important to note that two different states legally cannot tax the same income, so moving states does not necessarily mean you will pay more taxes.  

There may be some scenarios in which you moved states, but still work in your old state. In this case, you would likely need to file a tax return in the state where you live, as well as a nonresident tax return in the state where you work. You may also want to check the tax laws in your new state. Finding out how your new state handles itemized deductions, state tax deductions, or federal tax changes can help you avoid unexpected issues during tax time. 

Check Which Income Types Are Taxable  

If you have multiple sources of income, it is vital to check how the income will be taxed in your new state. Interest and dividend income is typically taxed by the state in which you are a permanent resident. In addition, some states require estimated tax payments on some incomes. Not knowing the rules or deadlines for these can result in underpayment penalties.  

Investments that are tax-exempt in your old state may suddenly be taxable in your new state. While all states do not require you to pay taxes on federal bonds, not all states have the same definition of a federal bond, meaning some tax bonds and others do not. Retirement income is also taxed differently in certain states, so if you are moving because of retirement, you may want to check the tax laws surrounding retirement income first.  

Check Your Eligibility for Moving Expense Deductions 

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) eliminated the moving expense deduction for taxpayers, unless they are active-duty military members. However, this act is set to expire beginning in 2026.  

Tax Relief for Those Moving States 

It goes without saying that filing taxes after moving states can become very complex, especially if you have several income sources. Sometimes the new state you move to may not be your first choice, like when you’re an active-duty military member or are relocating for a job. In other cases, you may have the option to choose which state you want to relocate to. In these cases, researching tax laws in your new state can save a lot of time, money and stress during tax time. It may be best to seek the help of a credible tax preparer or professional to look at your tax situation. Give Optima a call at 800-536-0734 for a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable tax professionals.

An Overview of Property Taxes

an overview of property taxes

Property taxes are paid on property owned, either by an individual or a legal entity. How much property tax you are required to pay is determined by the local government where the property is located. Typically, the assessed taxes are used to fund things like water and sewer improvements, education, road construction, and public services like law enforcement and fire protection. Here is a brief overview of property taxes and what they mean for your taxes. 

How is property tax calculated? 

The amount of property tax you are required to pay depends on the value of your property, including the land and buildings sitting on it, as well as your assessed property value and the county’s projected mill tax. A mill tax rate is the sum of all tax rates levied on your property value.  

The mill tax is multiplied by the property value to calculate your assessed value of your property, which is then used to find the fair market value of your property. This figure is multiplied by an assessment rate to calculate your tax bill.  

Your property tax bill may be higher or lower than your neighbor’s. For example, if your plot of land is larger or if your home’s assessed value is higher, your tax bill will be higher than your neighbor’s. In some rare cases, your neighbor’s property may fall in a different jurisdiction with a lower mill tax rate, resulting in a smaller tax bill.  

Who must pay property taxes? 

Typically, most owners of property must pay property taxes, whether they are an individual or legal entity. However, there are some groups or property types that are exempt. These include senior citizens, those with disabilities, and military veterans. Additionally, there is a homestead exemption that reduced property tax bills. The rules for exemption vary by state or municipality so it’s best to check with your local and state government. Also note that the agencies that collect property taxes will not always notify you if you do qualify for an exemption and you may need to apply for it on your own.  

What happens if I do not pay property taxes? 

Put simply, failing to pay property taxes can result in a lien on your home. A lien is a legal claim against your property that can be used as collateral to repay the debt owed. If you still do not pay off the balance, the taxing authority can legally sell your home, or sell the tax lien. In this case, the purchaser of the lien can have your home foreclosed or use other methods to obtain the deed to your property. The consequences vary by state.  

Tax Relief for Homeowners 

It goes without saying that all property owners should stay on top of their property tax bills. Failing to pay can have serious financial consequences but choosing to pay can also have other financial benefits during tax time. Homeowners who itemize their deductions can deduct property taxes paid on a primary residence and any other real estate owned. You can deduct up to $10,000 in state and local income taxes, which includes property taxes. If you need tax help, call us at 800-536-0734 for a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable tax professionals. 

Optima Tax Relief Named an OC Top Workplace for Eighth Year

Optima Tax Relief Named an Orange County Top Workplace Winner for the Eighth Consecutive Year

Landing at No. 4 on this year’s list, the company was one of only two companies to rank in the “Top 5” over the last five years. 

Optima Tax Relief, the nation’s leading tax resolution firm, has been honored as a 2022 Top Workplace winner by the Orange County Register for the eighth consecutive year. This year the company ranked fourth out of the 17 large company honorees, making them one of only two companies to land in the “Top 5” in a five-year span. Orange County Top Workplaces recognizes U.S. employers that have fostered a people-first company culture.  

“At Optima, our success is deeply rooted in our company culture,” said Optima CEO David King. “We recognize that employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction not only go hand in hand, but also build each other up. Because of that, we are constantly working to cultivate a culture that is inclusive, nurturing and diverse.” 

The list of honorees is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by employee engagement technology partner Energage LLC. The confidential survey uniquely measures 15 culture drivers that are critical to the success of any organization, including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few.  

The Top Workplaces in Orange County award comes just months after Optima Tax Relief was named a Top Workplace USA winner for the second year in a row. The company was also recognized with Culture Excellence Awards in five categories: Leadership, Purpose & Value, Work-Life Flexibility, Innovation, and Compensation & Benefits. Optima was also honored with the “Excellence in Management” award for the last two years. 

Optima’s Associate Vice President of Human Resources Kimberly Carson credits the company’s success to their close-knit staff. “Our best quality is our people,” Carson said. “The level of engagement (even in a remote or hybrid environment), teamwork, inclusivity, and drive for excellence every day is exactly why we are such a fun place to work while still delivering the highest quality service to our clients.” 

An in-person awards program to celebrate the 2022 Orange County Top Workplaces winners took place on Wednesday, December 7th at the Irvine Improv.  A complete list of this year’s winners can be found on the Top Workplaces website.