About Optima Tax Relief

Do you owe more to the IRS than you can afford to pay? If so, one of Alan Thicke’s commercials for Optima Tax relief might have caught your eye.

In business since 2010, Optima Tax Relief is a full service tax resolution firm that specializes in resolving and reducing IRS or state tax debt.

Through Optima’s “revolutionary” 2-phase resolution program, they can help reduce the overall balance you owe to the IRS, prevent you from losing your home or other assets, avoid having your bank account levied, prevent wage garnishment—and help you enjoy a little peace of mind again. This process includes:

  1. Establish communication with the IRS and review your case summary options. Generally lasts 2-4 weeks.
  2. Resolve your problem by complying with the IRS to achieve the best resolution. This part of the process can last 3-9 months.

If you’re under the IRS’s microscope, this all probably sounds like a welcome change! But can Optima Tax Relief provide a solution to your IRS problem, or will you be more frustrated with less money after everything’s said and done?

We’ll begin by taking a look at the tax relief industry as a whole.

Why Are There So Many Tax Relief Companies?

As of 2009, the IRS estimated that “8.2 million Americans owed over $83 billion in back taxes.” And of those who needed to make payments on their debt, the IRS charged each individual an average of $10K in penalties and interest!

When it comes to taxes, you’d better pay them on time, or the IRS will be diligent about collecting their debt, whether this involves taking your home, garnishing your wages, and more.

This is where tax relief companies like Optima Tax Relief come in, who basically acts as an intermediary between you and the IRS. They’ll make sure all your paperwork is in order, speak directly with an assigned IRS representative for your case, and attempt to find a resolution, which might involve a reduction in your debt, lower interest and fees, reasonable payment plans, avoiding wage garnishment, and more.

Because of the widespread problem of back taxes, there are hundreds (perhaps even thousands) of popular tax relief companies in direct competition with Optima Tax Relief, including Tax Defense Network, Government Tax Lien Network, 911 Tax Relief, and many more.

But here’s the truth: Outside of their customer reputations, there really isn’t anything that sets one of these tax relief companies apart from one another. They all do pretty much the same thing, so Optima’s 2-phase resolution process doesn’t seem quite as “revolutionary” as the company claims.

From this perspective, what are Optima’s customers saying?

Client Feedback for Optima Tax Network

At the time of our research, Optima Tax Relief based out of Santa Ana, CA, had an A rating with the Better Business Bureau based on 84 closed complaints (as of 10/1/15). There, common complaints revolved around lack of communication (sometimes months without any feedback on a case), high fees (one complainant stated theirs was $23K) with nothing to show for it, and repeated requests for more money.

On the other hand, there were 119 customer reviews for Optima on TrustPilot, where the company had an 8.7-star average rating. Common compliments cited solid customer service and effective resolutions with the IRS.

This doesn’t mean all reviews were positive though. Similar to those found on the BBB, numerous TrustPilot reviewers claimed that Optima provided no resolution to their problems (we’ll come back around to this momentarily), and that their fees were excessive (as well as repeated requests for more money).

Based on 7 Yelp reviews, Optima Tax Relief had an average rating of 4.5 stars, with many of the same compliments and complaints found elsewhere online.

Finally, according to the company, Optima was ranked the #1 Financial Services Company by Inc. Magazine, although no additional details were provided, and we didn’t locate any third-party verification of this online.

You probably noticed that a lot of Optima Tax Relief’s customers referenced fees. Just how much are these, anyway?

Optima Tax Relief Pricing & Fees

Optima Tax Relief provides all prospective clients with a free, no-obligation consultation.

From there, fees are variable. This means that what you ultimately pay depends on the details of your case (usually the more you owe or the more complex your case, the higher your fees will be).

Based on many of the complaints we read on the BBB’s website though, it appears that most clients are charged an initial $995 fee to begin the case. From there, we read about fees ranging anywhere from $4K to $23K.

Optima’s services do come with a 15-day money back guarantee, which you can request by contacting the company at 800-536-0734.

Customer reputation and fees aside, is a tax relief service like Optima your best option when dealing with the IRS?

Pros & Cons of Tax Relief Services

First, consider how much you owe the IRS. If you owe less than $10K, you can contact the IRS directly and request an installment agreement, which by law, they can’t deny.

Yes, you’ll likely be assessed a small penalty and interest, but if you owe such a small amount, this can end up being much less expensive than a tax relief company’s fees. You can even directly request an Offer in Compromise (OIC) to reduce the overall amount you owe!

Next, as we mentioned at the beginning, there are hundreds of tax relief companies out there that all provide essentially the same services, so it’s important that customer reputation plays a role in your decision. To help, Consumer Affairs provides an in-depth list of the top tax relief companies.

Finally, as noted in the FTC link above, just because a tax relief company agrees to work with you, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you qualify for relief through the IRS. Optima Tax Relief expressly notes this on their website by stating, “Each individual case is unique and we may not be able to save you anything at all.”

Should You Choose Optima Tax Relief To Represent You?

In many instances, you’re taking a gamble with tax relief companies, regardless of how positive their online reputation might be. And because you’ll be paying upwards of $1,000 just to sign on with Optima, it might save you a great deal of money (and time!) by first reaching out to the IRS on your own.

At the very least, this might give you an idea of what kind of resolution the IRS is willing to offer, which could help your case move along more quickly if you decide to enroll the help of Optima Tax Relief.

Have you used Optima Tax Relief? Were they able to reduce your tax burden or help out in another way? Whatever occurred, tell the world about it by writing your review below!

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14 Customer Reviews for Optima Tax Relief

Average Customer Rating: 1.6
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 1 4 star: 1 3 star: 0 2 star: 1 1 star:  11
Bottom Line: 7% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 14
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  • Disappointment in services offered

    After analyzing the cost/benefits of dealing with Optima Tax Relief, I decided that it wasn't feasible for me to pay over $3600.00 for an unknown, or wait and see result, so after paying over $1500.00 of that amount, I decided to cancel their services, only to find that they won't respond to my emails now. I consider this to be shady business practice and will certainly look into legal options if need be. I strongly urge anyone thinking about this to think over very carefully!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Do not waste your money, exceptionally poor service.

    • San Francisco Bay Area, CA,
    • Jul 11, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Like most people that seek to use the services, you either owe or may soon owe the IRS money. I am a client. I almost hit a lien that they ignored, and I had negotiated with the IRS myself. They straight out stated that they could do nothing to help me. I thought I was paying monthly to avoid those type of letters from the IRS.

    Have my taxes been reviewed? I have no evidence. Has my 2016 taxes been prepared? I have no evidence. Have I paid them faithfully each month on time and in full? Yes, I have evidence of that.

    The bottom line is, the business is a ripoff. It has not met my expectation for the required fees. Find an accountant and a lawyer and work directly with the IRS. What do you have to lose? At least you will know what is happening with your case.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 6 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Waste of money

    • Charlotte, NC,
    • Jun 24, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I paid over $4,000 and they did nothing to reduce my $19,000 tax burden. Everything they did for me I could have done myself by calling the IRS. Optima is a total waste. I thought they would at least help me save what I paid them, but it was like they did nothing at all and now I am out the $4,000 I paid Optima and still owe the IRS $19,000.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Jun 26, 2017

      Satisfaction Team, Consumer Asssistance

      Hello, we truly apologize for the experience you've had with our firm. We strive to address and mediate every issue that is brought to our attention. We have attempted to locate you in our system but we were unable to find "Jason Lawson". We would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you directly to come to an amicable resolution.

      In order to locate your file, we would need to have some additional information such as, the name or email address that is on your file with us. If you feel uncomfortable giving out your information, can call our customer service line at (800) 965-3192, and ask to be transferred to our Quality Assurance Department? One of our specialists will be more than happy to speak with you directly about your concerns. We truly hope you provide us with an opportunity to turn your experience around. Thank you.

    • Jul 10, 2017

      Eric Graham

      I paid over $4,000 on a $10,000 tax problem. I called and called and email several times, it has been over ten months for a promised 6-month turnaround. I haven't received any responses for over three months. I haven't received any results, and they are always changing to a different party asking for the same information over and over again. It seems like there very unorganized.

      And as of today, I still haven't heard of any results. I definitely wouldn't recommend them. My other coworkers also told me the same thing happened to them. The Better Business Bureau definitely needs to hear from me, as well as my other coworkers. If I don't get this resolved soon, I'll make sure they hear from all my coworkers and friends that tried doing business with them. I hope people take this as a warning!

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  • 12 out 12 people found this review helpful

    Fraud and negligence of the highest order

    • Philadelphia, PA,
    • May 24, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima Tax, in my opinion and experience, is nothing but a fee collection company and a sham. They did not tell me that the IRS requested information. They ignored requests from the IRS which resulted in a lien being filed despite their promises that I would be protected from a lien as long as I was working with them. They did not file my tax return, which they said they would. The list of egregious malpractice goes on and on. Stay away from this company, or you will be sorry!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 12 out 13 people found this review helpful

    Don't use this company!

    This company could not get my amount lowered, barely were able to file the taxes they were supposed to file for me (and I still think they are incorrect), and could not even get the installment payments scheduled with the IRS like they promised. Honestly, I don't know what I paid for!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 19 out 19 people found this review helpful

    Rip-off in every sense of the word

    DO NOT waste your time and effort dealing with this company.

    I have some serious tax problems that include wage garnishment. I contacted this company and went over everything with them. They told me OK, to send them $1,000.00, and they would start to work on getting the garnishment stopped and all my other tax problems resolved.

    They told me time and again that getting the garnishment lifted would be no problem, but I would have to pay them another $12,000. I told them that I was unable to do that until they got the garnishment lifted. I was told not to worry about making the payments to them for right now. TWICE.

    The next thing I know, I'm not hearing from them after being contacted every week for a month with them wanting all kinds of paperwork including Power of Attorney. I submitted all of that when asked to. I finally called to see what was going on with my situation and was told that because I hadn't made the scheduled payment that my account wasn't being worked on. This was the first I had heard of it. They didn't even have the common decency to honor their word, nor to even inform me of their decision.

    Next, I was told that since I had paid the $1,000.00 up front that they would at least file all my back tax returns and this year's. That was last week. Today I get a call telling me they're not going to file my tax returns for me. So I'm right back at square one with zero service for my original $1,000.00 and having to look for another solution to my problems.

    These people are nothing but liars and thieves. DO NOT do business with them!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 13 people found this review helpful

    Just the relief I needed

    I fell into some trouble with the IRS for filing incorrectly, which resulted in a high tax liability I could not afford to pay in full. I became stressed out when the notices starting coming in the mail. I had attempted to call the IRS myself to see what I could do. I remember calling the IRS and being on hold for two hours and then my call being dropped.

    I became restless, and that's when one day I was driving home from work that I heard the commercial come on for Optima Tax Relief. I decided to give them a call, and I'm so glad I did. Optima Tax Relief was able to submit an offer in compromise on my behalf that saved me a ton of money. Optima Tax Relief really took care of me and helped me along the way. Now I am all squared away with the IRS and stress-free.

    I want to give a big thanks to the people who were assigned to my case and helped me along the way. Thank you George Gonzalez, my tax associate, who brought me on board with Optima Tax Relief and explained everything and placed my mind at ease. Thank you to my case manager Andrea Aguilera, who constantly stayed in touch and gave me updates about my case. Thank you to the tax prep department that took care of filing my taxes. Thank you to all customer service reps who always answered all my questions and who were always so courteous and nice.

    It has been a pleasant experience using Optima Tax Relief for their services. I would definitely recommend them to friends and family.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 13 out 13 people found this review helpful

    Optima Tax Relief is NOT a relief!

    • Austin, TX,
    • Apr 5, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima Tax Relief is supposed to be helping my case. I say supposed to help because they are not. My case has been going on for two years! I don't ever hear anything from them until I get my ex to email them and he hardly ever gets a reply. The $4k we paid them up front has been money down the drain. They say our case has been passed on to someone else, etc.

    I will NEVER recommend this so called company to anyone! If I could give a rating of zero, I would.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 15 out 15 people found this review helpful

    Over 100K

    • San Francisco, CA,
    • Feb 17, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Well, I am in panic mode still after reading the comments here about Optima Tax Relief. I'm still in an even worst dilemma then I was when I called Optima.

    Yes, they do not let you know what they are doing about your case, and it's been over four months since I heard anything from these parasites. They are professionals when it comes to people in a desperate mode, and they sell easily because you're at a vulnerable state. My tax situation is probably going to most likely land me in prison.

    I'm trying to do the right thing by not evading the IRS, but when your taxes are adding up every tax season, you will owe so much that it will take another generation to settle the debt. I'm currently on a lien and my wages are being garnished. What got me in this situation is the fact that my spouse runs a private business and she is taking most, if not, all on what she earns.

    I'm at a loss on where to go. I'm currently financially broke and have no more funds to hire an attorney or even file bankruptcy, which I'm aware won't do anything for tax debt. Well, prison here I come.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Apr 19, 2017

      C.J.

      Has your accountant ever suggested filing your taxes using the "injured spouse" filing status? This may not help with past years, but it should help moving forward! I hope this helps.

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  • 16 out 16 people found this review helpful

    Optima is shady

    • San Francisco, CA,
    • Feb 16, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I paid over $4,000 to Optima Tax Relief because they promised to lower my balance with the IRS. But the only thing Optima did was set me up on an installment agreement, which I could have done myself.

    And to add insult to injury, Optima deleted the review that I posted on Yelp as if I was some type of troll. Can you believe that? They didn't even bother to reach out to me nor contact me. They just deleted me if as if I didn't even exist. Shame on Optima.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 18 out 18 people found this review helpful

    Wonderful

    • Arizona,
    • Feb 13, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    These people are wonderful at doing absolutely nothing except basically make payment arrangements. They never tried to lower any of the taxes, I wasn't even given the option for a fresh start program, and they didn't stop wage garnishes until it was too late. They never return calls, and your case is shuffled around to different people who have no idea what is going on.

    One thing they are great at is deducting their fee from your bank account.

    They are full of lies and give you the runaround. Thanks for nothing freaking snakes. Oh yes, one more thing, I now have to hire someone else to do the job right.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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