Okay, this is a doozy. I've got a hell of a mess on my hands and would appreciate getting some advice on what kind of specialist I need to hire to help me get this fixed.
After experiencing three layoffs since 2009, I have missed filing my taxes for a couple of years:
- 2009 - year I was laid off
- 2010 - year I was unemployed and had zero income
- 2014 - year I was laid off and earned less than 20k for the year
- 2015 - year I was still laid off and earned zero income
I received unemployment benefits in 2010-11, but was overpaid. In late 2012, I received notification from the CA EDD that I had been overpaid in my 2010-11 unemployment benefits. I set up a monthly repayment plan with CA EDD. Then, in 2013, when I was still making monthly payments back to CA EDD, I got laid off from another job. With no income, I had to stop making payments to CA EDD in the middle of my repayment schedule.
In 2013-14, I was approved for unemployment benefits for the second time and the California EDD informed me that they were going to delay my new set of unemployment benefits and, then, after the delayed period, they would deduct the overpayment amount from my bi-weekly unemployment checks until that balance was resolved. Except, their computers must've messed up, as after the delay, I ended up receiving my full unemployment benefits, so I still owe a nearly $3k balance on that original overpayment.
What's more, the IRS and CA Franchise Tax Board sent notices saying I owed taxes on the amount I was overpaid. But how can I pay taxes on something I'm in the process of repaying?
After two years of unemployment, I've finally landed a good job with a pretty generous signing bonus. I have to use part of that signing bonus for relocation and various expenses associated with coming back into the professional world after two years in the wilderness, depending upon the kindness of friends and family. But, I also want to use part of that signing bonus to get started on getting these tax issues resolved.
In addition to my new regular 9-5, I've also landed a consulting/contractor gig which will require me to file quarterly tax payments.
From back IRS and CA taxes, to late unfiled IRS and CA taxes, to unemployment benefits overpayments to making future quarterly payments on my independent contracting, this is just too messy and complex for me to handle on my own. So, what kind of tax specialist should I be hiring to help me sort this mess out and to get on reasonable payment plans with the IRS and CA State Franchise Tax Board? A tax attorney? A tax preparer? An accountant? Is a mess like this going to cost me thousands in professional fees to fix?