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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19 Customer Reviews for Optima Tax Relief

Average Customer Rating: 2.6
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 7 4 star: 1 3 star: 0 2 star: 0 1 star:  11
Bottom Line: 37% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 19
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  • IRS - I'm really scared

    I went from IRS (I'm really scared) to see if there is hope.

    I tried resolving my issue with the IRS alone. I did everything that was asked of me, and then the IRS just got bigger and meaner. They wanted blood. I heard the commercial on KBLX, and I decided that I didn't have a choice, I had to get some professional help to deal with the IRS, at this point I had nothing to lose.

    I took the first step and contacted Optima Tax Relief and boy what a relief it was. I have not heard anything from the IRS since I hired this company. Optima Tax Relief has done everything that they said they would do, They kept me informed, told me exactly what forms they needed from me and when. I believe I dealt with 4 or 5 different people while going through this process, each and every employee that I spoke with was very understanding, polite, courteous and timely. I was kept very informed from the beginning to the end. I will definitely recommend them to everyone that I can, but I will also let people know each case is different and may get different results.

    I think the only thing that Optima Tax Relief can do to improve is to advertise more and while working with us scared individuals let us know that at each phase of the process we will be speaking with someone different. Overall this was the most trustworthy company that I have ever dealt with. My case ended successfully. A+.

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

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  • Saved us money

    • Texas,
    • Sep 19, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima Tax Relief truly helped us out in a very bad time in our lives. During the whole process we felt like they had our best interest and never once did I regret the decision to trust them with our tax issues. They were able to save us a lot of money, and the peace of mind was well worth the money. Thanks Optima!

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

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Optima Tax Relief

    We had a great experience with Optima. Any questions we had we were able to get help and questions answered fairly quickly. If we left a message, someone called us back within one business day. Very professional and helped our family out tremendously.

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

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful
    Updated review

    Very satisfied

    Optima Tax Relief contacted me yesterday and took care of everything, so I retract my last post. They are a great company and do make things right. I would very much recommend them. They will take care of you.

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

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    • Sep 10, 2017

      John Bass

      REASONS TO AVOID TAX RELIEF COMPANIES:

      What is written below, is "8 reasons" cited by real tax professionals at Watax.com website. You can also see on their website, the 91 "tax relief" companies SHUT DOWN because of their scam, unethical, illegal, and poor business practices!

      1.] These SCAM companies charge ridiculously HIGH fees. If a tax resolution company is going to charge you $3,000 or more for representation, you deserve the red carpet treatment. You should have direct access to your licensed tax professional and/or have the customer service rep who does your up-front analysis to be with you to the end. (If you're interested, we wrote more about what $4,000 of tax resolution should buy you.)

      2.] Many tax resolution companies have a tendency to whack you with new fees once you're on board with them, figuring you're more or less locked in. (We wrote more about this phenomenon too, about why reopening fees are problematic.)

      3.] They give BAD advice. Plainly and simply, many tax resolution companies will advise you to do the wrong thing.

      4.] They give DISHONEST advice (i.e. lying). The oldest trick in the tax resolution sales book is to tell someone that they'll qualify for an Offer in Compromise ("OIC") to settle their tax debt when they clearly do not qualify. It's human nature, people just love to hear that they will settle their debts, just like in the commercials! Shady salespeople love to scratch this itch for profit.

      FYI: You can file your own "OIC" (IRS Form #656), but it's HIGHLY UNLIKELY you'll get such "compromise" as statistics show the IRS rarely offer such.

      You can file your own "EXTENSION" (IRS Form # 1127 -Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Tax Due to Undue Hardship), which is what all these scam "tax relief" companies do anyway, charging you fees in excess of $1,000's and $1,000's with many consumers reporting being scammed and charged upwards of the $4,000-$7,000 ranges.

      If you owe back taxes, there are several IRS tax relief programs to help, including the IRS "Fresh Start Initiative"

      An "Installment Agreement" is generally available to people who can't pay their tax debt in full at one time. The program allows people to make smaller monthly payments until the entire debt is satisfied.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative", the IRS raised the threshold for streamlined installment agreements from $25,000 to $50,000 in tax debt, and the maximum repayment term of five to six years. Taxpayers who owe less than $50,000 may apply online with the IRS and don’t have to complete an IRS "Collection Information Statement" (Form # 433-A, Form # 433-B or Form # 433-F).

      An Offer in Compromise ("OIC") lets taxpayers permanently settle their tax debt for less than the amount they owe. The OIC is an important tool to help people in limited circumstances; taxpayers are eligible only after other payment options have been exhausted.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative," the IRS expanded the "OIC" program to cover a larger group of struggling taxpayers. However, the IRS will not accept an offer if it believes the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or through an installment agreement. The IRS offers guidance on choosing a tax professional for an OIC on its website.

      5.] Misstating urgency and scare tactics. Tax resolution sales people and telemarketers harass those with tax liens, they're notorious for telling you that the sky is falling if you don't hire them immediately. "Your case has reached 'Elevated Status!' barks one company to its prospective clients, cold calling tax liens. Tax relief companies will often manipulate your emotions to make the sale. There's no reason to fake urgency. An honest tax professional should lay out all of the options for you without emotion or scare tactics.

      6.] Employee turnover. Whether big or small, tax resolution companies are notorious for having high employee turnover. As many of the companies are reliant on "salespeople," employees who can't sell enough cases are fired. Hence, your case keeps getting handed off from representative to representative. In these environments, the institutional memory of your case can deteriorate fairly easily.

      7.] Dropping the ball. Keeping your client out of aggressive collection actions like levies and garnishments requires constant vigilance and a very delicate personal touch. Large companies are famous for cases falling into the cracks and subsequently, clients getting nailed with levies from the IRS.

      8.] Going out of business. Running an effective tax resolution business requires a unique blend of great customer service with excellent marketing. Take one of those two elements away and you're out of business! Again, see "Watax" website that lists The 91 Tax scam companies already SHUT DOWN!

      AS STATED BY THE FTC: Problems with Tax Relief Companies

      1.] Promise that you will get relief from tax liabilities;

      2.] Misrepresent how long it will take to process a debt relief request application; and/or

      3.] Omit relevant asset information on financial statements submitted to the IRS.

      ALSO STATED BY THE FTC:

      "Tax relief companies use the radio, television and the internet to advertise help for taxpayers in distress. If you pay them an upfront fee, which can be thousands of dollars, these companies claim they can reduce or even eliminate your tax debts and stop back-tax collection by applying for legitimate IRS hardship programs. The truth is that most taxpayers don't qualify for the programs these fraudsters hawk, their companies don't settle the tax debt, and in many cases don't even send the necessary paperwork to the IRS requesting participation in the programs that were mentioned. Adding insult to injury, some of these companies don't provide refunds, and leave people even further in debt.

      Some taxpayers who filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that, after signing up with some of these companies and paying thousands of dollars in upfront fees, the companies took even more of their money by making unauthorized charges to their credit cards or withdrawals from their bank accounts.

      If you owe back taxes and don't know how you're going to pay the debt, the FTC, the nation's consumer protection agency, says don't panic, take a deep breath, and consider your options. If you are having trouble paying bills, it's often better to try to work out a payment plan with the creditor yourself than to pay someone else to negotiate a plan for you. The same is true when you owe money to the IRS or your state comptroller."

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    • Previous review
    • Sep 7, 2017

    Very unsatisfied

    I started doing business with this company in January 2016. Still to date, nothing has been solved, and I have had three different case managers. I filed 2016 taxes late due to their negligence. I can never get a hold of anyone; they are never available. They do not respond to emails and always make excuses, which are only making things worse. I have already been paid in full. I am very unsatisfied.

    If had to do it over, I would not use Optima, but they already have $5000 of my money. I expect them to do what they say and what I paid them to do, not make it worse.

    (read moreread less...)

  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Manny's review

    • Fort Worth, TX,
    • Sep 7, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima Tax Relief helped me with my tax problems. They helped relieve my stress caused by my tax problems. They were very knowledgeable of tax laws. I definitely will recommend them to my family and friends.

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

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    • Sep 10, 2017

      John Bass

      REASONS TO AVOID TAX RELIEF COMPANIES:

      What is written below, is "8 reasons" cited by real tax professionals at Watax.com website. You can also see on their website, the 91 "tax relief" companies SHUT DOWN because of their scam, unethical, illegal, and poor business practices!

      1.] These SCAM companies charge ridiculously HIGH fees. If a tax resolution company is going to charge you $3,000 or more for representation, you deserve the red carpet treatment. You should have direct access to your licensed tax professional and/or have the customer service rep who does your up-front analysis to be with you to the end. (If you're interested, we wrote more about what $4,000 of tax resolution should buy you.)

      2.] Many tax resolution companies have a tendency to whack you with new fees once you're on board with them, figuring you're more or less locked in. (We wrote more about this phenomenon too, about why reopening fees are problematic.)

      3.] They give BAD advice. Plainly and simply, many tax resolution companies will advise you to do the wrong thing.

      4.] They give DISHONEST advice (i.e. lying). The oldest trick in the tax resolution sales book is to tell someone that they'll qualify for an Offer in Compromise ("OIC") to settle their tax debt when they clearly do not qualify. It's human nature, people just love to hear that they will settle their debts, just like in the commercials! Shady salespeople love to scratch this itch for profit.

      FYI: You can file your own "OIC" (IRS Form #656), but it's HIGHLY UNLIKELY you'll get such "compromise" as statistics show the IRS rarely offer such.

      You can file your own "EXTENSION" (IRS Form # 1127 -Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Tax Due to Undue Hardship), which is what all these scam "tax relief" companies do anyway, charging you fees in excess of $1,000's and $1,000's with many consumers reporting being scammed and charged upwards of the $4,000-$7,000 ranges.

      If you owe back taxes, there are several IRS tax relief programs to help, including the IRS "Fresh Start Initiative"

      An "Installment Agreement" is generally available to people who can't pay their tax debt in full at one time. The program allows people to make smaller monthly payments until the entire debt is satisfied.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative", the IRS raised the threshold for streamlined installment agreements from $25,000 to $50,000 in tax debt, and the maximum repayment term of five to six years. Taxpayers who owe less than $50,000 may apply online with the IRS and don’t have to complete an IRS "Collection Information Statement" (Form # 433-A, Form # 433-B or Form # 433-F).

      An Offer in Compromise ("OIC") lets taxpayers permanently settle their tax debt for less than the amount they owe. The OIC is an important tool to help people in limited circumstances; taxpayers are eligible only after other payment options have been exhausted.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative," the IRS expanded the "OIC" program to cover a larger group of struggling taxpayers. However, the IRS will not accept an offer if it believes the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or through an installment agreement. The IRS offers guidance on choosing a tax professional for an OIC on its website.

      5.] Misstating urgency and scare tactics. Tax resolution sales people and telemarketers harass those with tax liens, they're notorious for telling you that the sky is falling if you don't hire them immediately. "Your case has reached 'Elevated Status!' barks one company to its prospective clients, cold calling tax liens. Tax relief companies will often manipulate your emotions to make the sale. There's no reason to fake urgency. An honest tax professional should lay out all of the options for you without emotion or scare tactics.

      6.] Employee turnover. Whether big or small, tax resolution companies are notorious for having high employee turnover. As many of the companies are reliant on "salespeople," employees who can't sell enough cases are fired. Hence, your case keeps getting handed off from representative to representative. In these environments, the institutional memory of your case can deteriorate fairly easily.

      7.] Dropping the ball. Keeping your client out of aggressive collection actions like levies and garnishments requires constant vigilance and a very delicate personal touch. Large companies are famous for cases falling into the cracks and subsequently, clients getting nailed with levies from the IRS.

      8.] Going out of business. Running an effective tax resolution business requires a unique blend of great customer service with excellent marketing. Take one of those two elements away and you're out of business! Again, see "Watax" website that lists The 91 Tax scam companies already SHUT DOWN!

      AS STATED BY THE FTC: Problems with Tax Relief Companies

      1.] Promise that you will get relief from tax liabilities;

      2.] Misrepresent how long it will take to process a debt relief request application; and/or

      3.] Omit relevant asset information on financial statements submitted to the IRS.

      ALSO STATED BY THE FTC:

      "Tax relief companies use the radio, television and the internet to advertise help for taxpayers in distress. If you pay them an upfront fee, which can be thousands of dollars, these companies claim they can reduce or even eliminate your tax debts and stop back-tax collection by applying for legitimate IRS hardship programs. The truth is that most taxpayers don't qualify for the programs these fraudsters hawk, their companies don't settle the tax debt, and in many cases don't even send the necessary paperwork to the IRS requesting participation in the programs that were mentioned. Adding insult to injury, some of these companies don't provide refunds, and leave people even further in debt.

      Some taxpayers who filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that, after signing up with some of these companies and paying thousands of dollars in upfront fees, the companies took even more of their money by making unauthorized charges to their credit cards or withdrawals from their bank accounts.

      If you owe back taxes and don't know how you're going to pay the debt, the FTC, the nation's consumer protection agency, says don't panic, take a deep breath, and consider your options. If you are having trouble paying bills, it's often better to try to work out a payment plan with the creditor yourself than to pay someone else to negotiate a plan for you. The same is true when you owe money to the IRS or your state comptroller."

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  • 3 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Optima really helps!

    • Pittsburgh, PA,
    • Aug 16, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I used Optima Tax Relief to resolve some unpaid back tax issues with the IRS. They helped me through the entire process and made everything very simple. Their team was very professional and made a very complicated process easy to understand and resolve. Not only did they help me get totally compliant and current on my taxes, they also saved me literally tens of thousands of dollars. They were able to successfully negotiate with the IRS and reach an agreement that I was very satisfied with. I would highly recommend using them if you have similar issues.

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

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    • Sep 10, 2017

      John Bass

      REASONS TO AVOID TAX RELIEF COMPANIES:

      What is written below, is "8 reasons" cited by real tax professionals at Watax.com website. You can also see on their website, the 91 "tax relief" companies SHUT DOWN because of their scam, unethical, illegal, and poor business practices!

      1.] These SCAM companies charge ridiculously HIGH fees. If a tax resolution company is going to charge you $3,000 or more for representation, you deserve the red carpet treatment. You should have direct access to your licensed tax professional and/or have the customer service rep who does your up-front analysis to be with you to the end. (If you're interested, we wrote more about what $4,000 of tax resolution should buy you.)

      2.] Many tax resolution companies have a tendency to whack you with new fees once you're on board with them, figuring you're more or less locked in. (We wrote more about this phenomenon too, about why reopening fees are problematic.)

      3.] They give BAD advice. Plainly and simply, many tax resolution companies will advise you to do the wrong thing.

      4.] They give DISHONEST advice (i.e. lying). The oldest trick in the tax resolution sales book is to tell someone that they'll qualify for an Offer in Compromise ("OIC") to settle their tax debt when they clearly do not qualify. It's human nature, people just love to hear that they will settle their debts, just like in the commercials! Shady salespeople love to scratch this itch for profit.

      FYI: You can file your own "OIC" (IRS Form #656), but it's HIGHLY UNLIKELY you'll get such "compromise" as statistics show the IRS rarely offer such.

      You can file your own "EXTENSION" (IRS Form # 1127 -Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Tax Due to Undue Hardship), which is what all these scam "tax relief" companies do anyway, charging you fees in excess of $1,000's and $1,000's with many consumers reporting being scammed and charged upwards of the $4,000-$7,000 ranges.

      If you owe back taxes, there are several IRS tax relief programs to help, including the IRS "Fresh Start Initiative"

      An "Installment Agreement" is generally available to people who can't pay their tax debt in full at one time. The program allows people to make smaller monthly payments until the entire debt is satisfied.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative", the IRS raised the threshold for streamlined installment agreements from $25,000 to $50,000 in tax debt, and the maximum repayment term of five to six years. Taxpayers who owe less than $50,000 may apply online with the IRS and don’t have to complete an IRS "Collection Information Statement" (Form # 433-A, Form # 433-B or Form # 433-F).

      An Offer in Compromise ("OIC") lets taxpayers permanently settle their tax debt for less than the amount they owe. The OIC is an important tool to help people in limited circumstances; taxpayers are eligible only after other payment options have been exhausted.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative," the IRS expanded the "OIC" program to cover a larger group of struggling taxpayers. However, the IRS will not accept an offer if it believes the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or through an installment agreement. The IRS offers guidance on choosing a tax professional for an OIC on its website.

      5.] Misstating urgency and scare tactics. Tax resolution sales people and telemarketers harass those with tax liens, they're notorious for telling you that the sky is falling if you don't hire them immediately. "Your case has reached 'Elevated Status!' barks one company to its prospective clients, cold calling tax liens. Tax relief companies will often manipulate your emotions to make the sale. There's no reason to fake urgency. An honest tax professional should lay out all of the options for you without emotion or scare tactics.

      6.] Employee turnover. Whether big or small, tax resolution companies are notorious for having high employee turnover. As many of the companies are reliant on "salespeople," employees who can't sell enough cases are fired. Hence, your case keeps getting handed off from representative to representative. In these environments, the institutional memory of your case can deteriorate fairly easily.

      7.] Dropping the ball. Keeping your client out of aggressive collection actions like levies and garnishments requires constant vigilance and a very delicate personal touch. Large companies are famous for cases falling into the cracks and subsequently, clients getting nailed with levies from the IRS.

      8.] Going out of business. Running an effective tax resolution business requires a unique blend of great customer service with excellent marketing. Take one of those two elements away and you're out of business! Again, see "Watax" website that lists The 91 Tax scam companies already SHUT DOWN!

      AS STATED BY THE FTC: Problems with Tax Relief Companies

      1.] Promise that you will get relief from tax liabilities;

      2.] Misrepresent how long it will take to process a debt relief request application; and/or

      3.] Omit relevant asset information on financial statements submitted to the IRS.

      ALSO STATED BY THE FTC:

      "Tax relief companies use the radio, television and the internet to advertise help for taxpayers in distress. If you pay them an upfront fee, which can be thousands of dollars, these companies claim they can reduce or even eliminate your tax debts and stop back-tax collection by applying for legitimate IRS hardship programs. The truth is that most taxpayers don't qualify for the programs these fraudsters hawk, their companies don't settle the tax debt, and in many cases don't even send the necessary paperwork to the IRS requesting participation in the programs that were mentioned. Adding insult to injury, some of these companies don't provide refunds, and leave people even further in debt.

      Some taxpayers who filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that, after signing up with some of these companies and paying thousands of dollars in upfront fees, the companies took even more of their money by making unauthorized charges to their credit cards or withdrawals from their bank accounts.

      If you owe back taxes and don't know how you're going to pay the debt, the FTC, the nation's consumer protection agency, says don't panic, take a deep breath, and consider your options. If you are having trouble paying bills, it's often better to try to work out a payment plan with the creditor yourself than to pay someone else to negotiate a plan for you. The same is true when you owe money to the IRS or your state comptroller."

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  • 9 out 9 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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    • Sep 10, 2017

      John Bass

      REASONS TO AVOID TAX RELIEF COMPANIES:

      What is written below, is "8 reasons" cited by real tax professionals at Watax.com website. You can also see on their website, the 91 "tax relief" companies SHUT DOWN because of their scam, unethical, illegal, and poor business practices!

      1.] These SCAM companies charge ridiculously HIGH fees. If a tax resolution company is going to charge you $3,000 or more for representation, you deserve the red carpet treatment. You should have direct access to your licensed tax professional and/or have the customer service rep who does your up-front analysis to be with you to the end. (If you're interested, we wrote more about what $4,000 of tax resolution should buy you.)

      2.] Many tax resolution companies have a tendency to whack you with new fees once you're on board with them, figuring you're more or less locked in. (We wrote more about this phenomenon too, about why reopening fees are problematic.)

      3.] They give BAD advice. Plainly and simply, many tax resolution companies will advise you to do the wrong thing.

      4.] They give DISHONEST advice (i.e. lying). The oldest trick in the tax resolution sales book is to tell someone that they'll qualify for an Offer in Compromise ("OIC") to settle their tax debt when they clearly do not qualify. It's human nature, people just love to hear that they will settle their debts, just like in the commercials! Shady salespeople love to scratch this itch for profit.

      FYI: You can file your own "OIC" (IRS Form #656), but it's HIGHLY UNLIKELY you'll get such "compromise" as statistics show the IRS rarely offer such.

      You can file your own "EXTENSION" (IRS Form # 1127 -Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Tax Due to Undue Hardship), which is what all these scam "tax relief" companies do anyway, charging you fees in excess of $1,000's and $1,000's with many consumers reporting being scammed and charged upwards of the $4,000-$7,000 ranges.

      If you owe back taxes, there are several IRS tax relief programs to help, including the IRS "Fresh Start Initiative"

      An "Installment Agreement" is generally available to people who can't pay their tax debt in full at one time. The program allows people to make smaller monthly payments until the entire debt is satisfied.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative", the IRS raised the threshold for streamlined installment agreements from $25,000 to $50,000 in tax debt, and the maximum repayment term from five to six years. Taxpayers who owe less than $50,000 may apply online with the IRS and don’t have to complete an IRS "Collection Information Statement" (Form # 433-A, Form # 433-B or Form # 433-F).

      An Offer in Compromise ("OIC") lets taxpayers permanently settle their tax debt for less than the amount they owe. The OIC is an important tool to help people in limited circumstances; taxpayers are eligible only after other payment options have been exhausted.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative," the IRS expanded the "OIC" program to cover a larger group of struggling taxpayers. However, the IRS will not accept an offer if it believes the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or through an installment agreement. The IRS offers guidance on choosing a tax professional for an OIC on its website.

      5.] Misstating urgency and scare tactics. Tax resolution sales people and telemarketers harass those with tax liens, they're notorious for telling you that the sky is falling if you don't hire them immediately. "Your case has reached 'Elevated Status!' barks one company to its prospective clients, cold calling tax liens. Tax relief companies will often manipulate your emotions to make the sale. There's no reason to fake urgency. An honest tax professional should lay out all of the options for you without emotion or scare tactics.

      6.] Employee turnover. Whether big or small, tax resolution companies are notorious for having high employee turnover. As many of the companies are reliant on "salespeople," employees who can't sell enough cases are fired. Hence, your case keeps getting handed off from representative to representative. In these environments, the institutional memory of your case can deteriorate fairly easily.

      7.] Dropping the ball. Keeping your client out of aggressive collection actions like levies and garnishments requires constant vigilance and a very delicate personal touch. Large companies are famous for cases falling into the cracks and subsequently, clients getting nailed with levies from the IRS.

      8.] Going out of business. Running an effective tax resolution business requires a unique blend of great customer service with excellent marketing. Take one of those two elements away and you're out of business! Again, see "Watax" website that lists The 91 Tax scam companies already SHUT DOWN!

      AS STATED BY THE FTC: Problems with Tax Relief Companies

      1.] Promise that you will get relief from tax liabilities;

      2.] Misrepresent how long it will take to process a debt relief request application; and/or

      3.] Omit relevant asset information on financial statements submitted to the IRS.

      ALSO STATED BY THE FTC:

      "Tax relief companies use the radio, television and the internet to advertise help for taxpayers in distress. If you pay them an upfront fee, which can be thousands of dollars, these companies claim they can reduce or even eliminate your tax debts and stop back-tax collection by applying for legitimate IRS hardship programs. The truth is that most taxpayers don't qualify for the programs these fraudsters hawk, their companies don't settle the tax debt, and in many cases don't even send the necessary paperwork to the IRS requesting participation in the programs that were mentioned. Adding insult to injury, some of these companies don't provide refunds, and leave people even further in debt.

      Some taxpayers who filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that, after signing up with some of these companies and paying thousands of dollars in upfront fees, the companies took even more of their money by making unauthorized charges to their credit cards or withdrawals from their bank accounts.

      If you owe back taxes and don't know how you're going to pay the debt, the FTC, the nation's consumer protection agency, says don't panic, take a deep breath, and consider your options. If you are having trouble paying bills, it's often better to try to work out a payment plan with the creditor yourself than to pay someone else to negotiate a plan for you. The same is true when you owe money to the IRS or your state comptroller."

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  • 15 out 16 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!

    • Aug 1, 2017

      Eric Graham

      After posting this review on HighYa, I have finally received a phone call from Quality Assurance. Hopefully, my issue will get resolved quickly and on a positive note with the IRS payment. I will continue to review the outcome of my case on HighYa.

    • Aug 17, 2017

      Taylor Parker

      So a family member and friends used this service and it was a ripoff. I wish they would have talked to me first! While they are out about $7,000 to Optima, they no longer pay them. They learned that everything Optima does they can actually do themselves with the IRS.

      Optima really is a scam and a waste of money. Call the IRS and negotiate your own deal. I’ve done this numerous times for people. It’s actually easy and you can save thousands of dollars.

    • Sep 1, 2017

      S. Smitty

      Who are these people? I called on the last day of the month for a consultation. I spoke with a gentleman Anthony S., and I was told I called right in the nick of time as Optima was ending a promotion to the start process. If I signed today it would only be $495. However, if I called the very next day it would go back to $995, huh? However, was told it was a special only for August. Ok fine.

      As I was going to move forward, I asked what other fees there were and Anthony told me there is no way he could tell me only that it would be more than $495. What!! I then called back and spoke with someone else who told me the fee to start their process is $495 and it's been that way since May.

      I was also given a range for additional fees based on my case, which was several thousands of dollars. How is that possible that I call the same company on the same day and get quotes that are different prices that $495 is a promo price, and then I'm told it's not a promo price. Needless to say, I won't be using Optima Tax Relief.

    • Sep 10, 2017

      John Bass

      REASONS TO AVOID TAX RELIEF COMPANIES:

      What is written below, is "8 reasons" cited by real tax professionals at Watax.com website. You can also see on their website, the 91 "tax relief" companies SHUT DOWN because of their scam, unethical, illegal, and poor business practices!

      1.] These SCAM companies charge ridiculously HIGH fees. If a tax resolution company is going to charge you $3,000 or more for representation, you deserve the red carpet treatment. You should have direct access to your licensed tax professional and/or have the customer service rep who does your up-front analysis to be with you to the end. (If you're interested, we wrote more about what $4,000 of tax resolution should buy you.)

      2.] Many tax resolution companies have a tendency to whack you with new fees once you're on board with them, figuring you're more or less locked in. (We wrote more about this phenomenon too, about why reopening fees are problematic.)

      3.] They give BAD advice. Plainly and simply, many tax resolution companies will advise you to do the wrong thing.

      4.] They give DISHONEST advice (i.e. lying). The oldest trick in the tax resolution sales book is to tell someone that they'll qualify for an Offer in Compromise ("OIC") to settle their tax debt when they clearly do not qualify. It's human nature, people just love to hear that they will settle their debts, just like in the commercials! Shady salespeople love to scratch this itch for profit.

      FYI: You can file your own "OIC" (IRS Form #656), but it's HIGHLY UNLIKELY you'll get such "compromise" as statistics show the IRS rarely offer such.

      You can file your own "EXTENSION" (IRS Form # 1127 -Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Tax Due to Undue Hardship), which is what all these scam "tax relief" companies do anyway, charging you fees in excess of $1,000's and $1,000's with many consumers reporting being scammed and charged upwards of the $4,000-$7,000 ranges.

      If you owe back taxes, there are several IRS tax relief programs to help, including the IRS "Fresh Start Initiative"

      An "Installment Agreement" is generally available to people who can't pay their tax debt in full at one time. The program allows people to make smaller monthly payments until the entire debt is satisfied.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative", the IRS raised the threshold for streamlined installment agreements from $25,000 to $50,000 in tax debt, and the maximum repayment term from five to six years. Taxpayers who owe less than $50,000 may apply online with the IRS and don’t have to complete an IRS "Collection Information Statement" (Form # 433-A, Form # 433-B or Form # 433-F).

      An Offer in Compromise ("OIC") lets taxpayers permanently settle their tax debt for less than the amount they owe. The OIC is an important tool to help people in limited circumstances; taxpayers are eligible only after other payment options have been exhausted.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative," the IRS expanded the "OIC" program to cover a larger group of struggling taxpayers. However, the IRS will not accept an offer if it believes the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or through an installment agreement. The IRS offers guidance on choosing a tax professional for an OIC on its website.

      5.] Misstating urgency and scare tactics. Tax resolution sales people and telemarketers harass those with tax liens, they're notorious for telling you that the sky is falling if you don't hire them immediately. "Your case has reached 'Elevated Status!' barks one company to its prospective clients, cold calling tax liens. Tax relief companies will often manipulate your emotions to make the sale. There's no reason to fake urgency. An honest tax professional should lay out all of the options for you without emotion or scare tactics.

      6.] Employee turnover. Whether big or small, tax resolution companies are notorious for having high employee turnover. As many of the companies are reliant on "salespeople," employees who can't sell enough cases are fired. Hence, your case keeps getting handed off from representative to representative. In these environments, the institutional memory of your case can deteriorate fairly easily.

      7.] Dropping the ball. Keeping your client out of aggressive collection actions like levies and garnishments requires constant vigilance and a very delicate personal touch. Large companies are famous for cases falling into the cracks and subsequently, clients getting nailed with levies from the IRS.

      8.] Going out of business. Running an effective tax resolution business requires a unique blend of great customer service with excellent marketing. Take one of those two elements away and you're out of business! Again, see "Watax" website that lists The 91 Tax scam companies already SHUT DOWN!

      AS STATED BY THE FTC: Problems with Tax Relief Companies

      1.] Promise that you will get relief from tax liabilities;

      2.] Misrepresent how long it will take to process a debt relief request application; and/or

      3.] Omit relevant asset information on financial statements submitted to the IRS.

      ALSO STATED BY THE FTC:

      "Tax relief companies use the radio, television and the internet to advertise help for taxpayers in distress. If you pay them an upfront fee, which can be thousands of dollars, these companies claim they can reduce or even eliminate your tax debts and stop back-tax collection by applying for legitimate IRS hardship programs. The truth is that most taxpayers don't qualify for the programs these fraudsters hawk, their companies don't settle the tax debt, and in many cases don't even send the necessary paperwork to the IRS requesting participation in the programs that were mentioned. Adding insult to injury, some of these companies don't provide refunds, and leave people even further in debt.

      Some taxpayers who filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that, after signing up with some of these companies and paying thousands of dollars in upfront fees, the companies took even more of their money by making unauthorized charges to their credit cards or withdrawals from their bank accounts.

      If you owe back taxes and don't know how you're going to pay the debt, the FTC, the nation's consumer protection agency, says don't panic, take a deep breath, and consider your options. If you are having trouble paying bills, it's often better to try to work out a payment plan with the creditor yourself than to pay someone else to negotiate a plan for you. The same is true when you owe money to the IRS or your state comptroller."

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    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • 19 out 19 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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    • Sep 10, 2017

      John Bass

      REASONS TO AVOID TAX RELIEF COMPANIES:

      What is written below, is "8 reasons" cited by real tax professionals at Watax.com website. You can also see on their website, the 91 "tax relief" companies SHUT DOWN because of their scam, unethical, illegal, and poor business practices!

      1.] These SCAM companies charge ridiculously HIGH fees. If a tax resolution company is going to charge you $3,000 or more for representation, you deserve the red carpet treatment. You should have direct access to your licensed tax professional and/or have the customer service rep who does your up-front analysis to be with you to the end. (If you're interested, we wrote more about what $4,000 of tax resolution should buy you.)

      2.] Many tax resolution companies have a tendency to whack you with new fees once you're on board with them, figuring you're more or less locked in. (We wrote more about this phenomenon too, about why reopening fees are problematic.)

      3.] They give BAD advice. Plainly and simply, many tax resolution companies will advise you to do the wrong thing.

      4.] They give DISHONEST advice (i.e. lying). The oldest trick in the tax resolution sales book is to tell someone that they'll qualify for an Offer in Compromise ("OIC") to settle their tax debt when they clearly do not qualify. It's human nature, people just love to hear that they will settle their debts, just like in the commercials! Shady salespeople love to scratch this itch for profit.

      FYI: You can file your own "OIC" (IRS Form #656), but it's HIGHLY UNLIKELY you'll get such "compromise" as statistics show the IRS rarely offer such.

      You can file your own "EXTENSION" (IRS Form # 1127 -Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Tax Due to Undue Hardship), which is what all these scam "tax relief" companies do anyway, charging you fees in excess of $1,000's and $1,000's with many consumers reporting being scammed and charged upwards of the $4,000-$7,000 ranges.

      If you owe back taxes, there are several IRS tax relief programs to help, including the IRS "Fresh Start Initiative"

      An "Installment Agreement" is generally available to people who can't pay their tax debt in full at one time. The program allows people to make smaller monthly payments until the entire debt is satisfied.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative", the IRS raised the threshold for streamlined installment agreements from $25,000 to $50,000 in tax debt, and the maximum repayment term from five to six years. Taxpayers who owe less than $50,000 may apply online with the IRS and don’t have to complete an IRS "Collection Information Statement" (Form # 433-A, Form # 433-B or Form # 433-F).

      An Offer in Compromise ("OIC") lets taxpayers permanently settle their tax debt for less than the amount they owe. The OIC is an important tool to help people in limited circumstances; taxpayers are eligible only after other payment options have been exhausted.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative," the IRS expanded the "OIC" program to cover a larger group of struggling taxpayers. However, the IRS will not accept an offer if it believes the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or through an installment agreement. The IRS offers guidance on choosing a tax professional for an OIC on its website.

      5.] Misstating urgency and scare tactics. Tax resolution sales people and telemarketers harass those with tax liens, they're notorious for telling you that the sky is falling if you don't hire them immediately. "Your case has reached 'Elevated Status!' barks one company to its prospective clients, cold calling tax liens. Tax relief companies will often manipulate your emotions to make the sale. There's no reason to fake urgency. An honest tax professional should lay out all of the options for you without emotion or scare tactics.

      6.] Employee turnover. Whether big or small, tax resolution companies are notorious for having high employee turnover. As many of the companies are reliant on "salespeople," employees who can't sell enough cases are fired. Hence, your case keeps getting handed off from representative to representative. In these environments, the institutional memory of your case can deteriorate fairly easily.

      7.] Dropping the ball. Keeping your client out of aggressive collection actions like levies and garnishments requires constant vigilance and a very delicate personal touch. Large companies are famous for cases falling into the cracks and subsequently, clients getting nailed with levies from the IRS.

      8.] Going out of business. Running an effective tax resolution business requires a unique blend of great customer service with excellent marketing. Take one of those two elements away and you're out of business! Again, see "Watax" website that lists The 91 Tax scam companies already SHUT DOWN!

      AS STATED BY THE FTC: Problems with Tax Relief Companies

      1.] Promise that you will get relief from tax liabilities;

      2.] Misrepresent how long it will take to process a debt relief request application; and/or

      3.] Omit relevant asset information on financial statements submitted to the IRS.

      ALSO STATED BY THE FTC:

      "Tax relief companies use the radio, television and the internet to advertise help for taxpayers in distress. If you pay them an upfront fee, which can be thousands of dollars, these companies claim they can reduce or even eliminate your tax debts and stop back-tax collection by applying for legitimate IRS hardship programs. The truth is that most taxpayers don't qualify for the programs these fraudsters hawk, their companies don't settle the tax debt, and in many cases don't even send the necessary paperwork to the IRS requesting participation in the programs that were mentioned. Adding insult to injury, some of these companies don't provide refunds, and leave people even further in debt.

      Some taxpayers who filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that, after signing up with some of these companies and paying thousands of dollars in upfront fees, the companies took even more of their money by making unauthorized charges to their credit cards or withdrawals from their bank accounts.

      If you owe back taxes and don't know how you're going to pay the debt, the FTC, the nation's consumer protection agency, says don't panic, take a deep breath, and consider your options. If you are having trouble paying bills, it's often better to try to work out a payment plan with the creditor yourself than to pay someone else to negotiate a plan for you. The same is true when you owe money to the IRS or your state comptroller."

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  • 18 out 19 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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  • 28 out 28 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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    • Sep 10, 2017

      John Bass

      REASONS TO AVOID TAX RELIEF COMPANIES:

      What is written below, is "8 reasons" cited by real tax professionals at Watax.com website. You can also see on their website, the 91 "tax relief" companies SHUT DOWN because of their scam, unethical, illegal, and poor business practices!

      1.] These SCAM companies charge ridiculously HIGH fees. If a tax resolution company is going to charge you $3,000 or more for representation, you deserve the red carpet treatment. You should have direct access to your licensed tax professional and/or have the customer service rep who does your up-front analysis to be with you to the end. (If you're interested, we wrote more about what $4,000 of tax resolution should buy you.)

      2.] Many tax resolution companies have a tendency to whack you with new fees once you're on board with them, figuring you're more or less locked in. (We wrote more about this phenomenon too, about why reopening fees are problematic.)

      3.] They give BAD advice. Plainly and simply, many tax resolution companies will advise you to do the wrong thing.

      4.] They give DISHONEST advice (i.e. lying). The oldest trick in the tax resolution sales book is to tell someone that they'll qualify for an Offer in Compromise ("OIC") to settle their tax debt when they clearly do not qualify. It's human nature, people just love to hear that they will settle their debts, just like in the commercials! Shady salespeople love to scratch this itch for profit.

      FYI: You can file your own "OIC" (IRS Form #656), but it's HIGHLY UNLIKELY you'll get such "compromise" as statistics show the IRS rarely offer such.

      You can file your own "EXTENSION" (IRS Form # 1127 -Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Tax Due to Undue Hardship), which is what all these scam "tax relief" companies do anyway, charging you fees in excess of $1,000's and $1,000's with many consumers reporting being scammed and charged upwards of the $4,000-$7,000 ranges.

      If you owe back taxes, there are several IRS tax relief programs to help, including the IRS "Fresh Start Initiative"

      An "Installment Agreement" is generally available to people who can't pay their tax debt in full at one time. The program allows people to make smaller monthly payments until the entire debt is satisfied.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative", the IRS raised the threshold for streamlined installment agreements from $25,000 to $50,000 in tax debt, and the maximum repayment term of five to six years. Taxpayers who owe less than $50,000 may apply online with the IRS and don’t have to complete an IRS "Collection Information Statement" (Form # 433-A, Form # 433-B or Form # 433-F).

      An Offer in Compromise ("OIC") lets taxpayers permanently settle their tax debt for less than the amount they owe. The OIC is an important tool to help people in limited circumstances; taxpayers are eligible only after other payment options have been exhausted.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative," the IRS expanded the "OIC" program to cover a larger group of struggling taxpayers. However, the IRS will not accept an offer if it believes the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or through an installment agreement. The IRS offers guidance on choosing a tax professional for an OIC on its website.

      5.] Misstating urgency and scare tactics. Tax resolution sales people and telemarketers harass those with tax liens, they're notorious for telling you that the sky is falling if you don't hire them immediately. "Your case has reached 'Elevated Status!' barks one company to its prospective clients, cold calling tax liens. Tax relief companies will often manipulate your emotions to make the sale. There's no reason to fake urgency. An honest tax professional should lay out all of the options for you without emotion or scare tactics.

      6.] Employee turnover. Whether big or small, tax resolution companies are notorious for having high employee turnover. As many of the companies are reliant on "salespeople," employees who can't sell enough cases are fired. Hence, your case keeps getting handed off from representative to representative. In these environments, the institutional memory of your case can deteriorate fairly easily.

      7.] Dropping the ball. Keeping your client out of aggressive collection actions like levies and garnishments requires constant vigilance and a very delicate personal touch. Large companies are famous for cases falling into the cracks and subsequently, clients getting nailed with levies from the IRS.

      8.] Going out of business. Running an effective tax resolution business requires a unique blend of great customer service with excellent marketing. Take one of those two elements away and you're out of business! Again, see "Watax" website that lists The 91 Tax scam companies already SHUT DOWN!

      AS STATED BY THE FTC: Problems with Tax Relief Companies

      1.] Promise that you will get relief from tax liabilities;

      2.] Misrepresent how long it will take to process a debt relief request application; and/or

      3.] Omit relevant asset information on financial statements submitted to the IRS.

      ALSO STATED BY THE FTC:

      "Tax relief companies use the radio, television and the internet to advertise help for taxpayers in distress. If you pay them an upfront fee, which can be thousands of dollars, these companies claim they can reduce or even eliminate your tax debts and stop back-tax collection by applying for legitimate IRS hardship programs. The truth is that most taxpayers don't qualify for the programs these fraudsters hawk, their companies don't settle the tax debt, and in many cases don't even send the necessary paperwork to the IRS requesting participation in the programs that were mentioned. Adding insult to injury, some of these companies don't provide refunds, and leave people even further in debt.

      Some taxpayers who filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that, after signing up with some of these companies and paying thousands of dollars in upfront fees, the companies took even more of their money by making unauthorized charges to their credit cards or withdrawals from their bank accounts.

      If you owe back taxes and don't know how you're going to pay the debt, the FTC, the nation's consumer protection agency, says don't panic, take a deep breath, and consider your options. If you are having trouble paying bills, it's often better to try to work out a payment plan with the creditor yourself than to pay someone else to negotiate a plan for you. The same is true when you owe money to the IRS or your state comptroller."

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

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