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Spotlight on Founder and CEO David King

Oct. 8, 2021, 1:00 PM

Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals across the globe. This week’s spotlight is on David King, CEO of Optima Tax. King helped found the California-based company in 2011, with a mission to provide ethical service to taxpayers who owe taxes. Optima focuses on tax relief, including assistance with tax audits and tax debt reduction.

While King counts his current job as one of the things he enjoys most, he has a secondary love: soccer. King made a run at a pro soccer career in Scotland after college, but, he says, he quickly realized that he should probably return to the U.S. and focus on his financial career. Now a successful CEO, King remains a soccer fan, cheering on Tottenham Hotspur F.C.

What’s your official title and what does it mean? I am the CEO of Optima Tax. It means it is my responsibility to deliver a positive employee and customer experience.

Free time: book, audiobook, or podcast? Book. Specifically, “The Infinite Game” by Simon Sinek. It helps leaders navigate an ever-changing environment. I referred to it often during the pandemic.

Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest? Quite simply, my interest is in bringing unserved/disillusioned taxpayers back into the tax ecosystem.

What’s the last movie or show that you watched and loved (DVD, Netflix, or in the theater)? Disney’s “Raya and the Last Dragon.” It was great to take kids to the movies again.

What college did you attend and what did you study? I earned my Bachelor of Science in Banking, Corporate, Finance, and Securities Law from California State University-Dominguez Hills.

Go to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea? Both. Coffee in the morning, tea at night (British habits die hard).

What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you? Financial discipline will lead to financial freedom. Thanks, Dad!

If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be? Teaching students financial literacy. We see the devastating results of this every day, and the gap is widening.

If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax code—an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever—what would it be? We see so many taxpayers exit the tax ecosystem because they are confused or disillusioned. Although it would impact demand for our services, I am a proponent of a simple flat tax to help close the tax gap.

Favorite food, snack, or candy during tax season (or other busy time)? I am pretty regimented and boring, so my favorite food is oatmeal—every day.

What tax news or move made the most impact on your practice or clients this past year? Without question, EIPs 1, 2, and 3. Our frontline Customer Service team was inundated with 100,000’s of calls which stress-tested our ecosystem. Thankfully, we survived!

If Uncle Sam handed you a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it? This year was my first year volunteering with VITA. I met some amazing people that have been participating for years. After being on the front lines with them and speaking to underserved taxpayers, those volunteers would deserve any surplus more than me!

You can find King on LinkedIn.

You can find out more about King’s company on its website: http://optimataxrelief.com/

If you’d like to recommend a tax pro to be featured, send your suggestion to kerb@bloombergindustry.com with the subject: Spotlight. Please include the following information: tax professional’s name, title, email address, and geographic area (city/state/country).

To contact the reporter on this story: Kelly Phillips Erb in Washington at kerb@bloombergindustry.com

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