About Optima Tax Relief

By Derek Lakin
HighYa Staff Updated on: Sep 25, 2017

Do you owe more in taxes than you can afford to pay? If so, Optima Tax Relief is a full-service firm that specializes in resolving and reducing IRS or state tax debt.

In business since 2010, the company’s two-phase resolution program promises to help reduce the overall balance you owe to the IRS, prevent you from losing your home or other assets, avoid levies against your bank account, prevent wage garnishment—and help you enjoy a little peace of mind once again. This process includes:

  1. Establish communication with the IRS and review your case summary options. Generally, this 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, all of this probably sounds like a welcome change. But can Optima Tax Relief provide a solution to your problem? We’ll begin by taking a look at the 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 repay installments on their debt, the IRS charged each individual an average of $10K in penalties and interest.

The bottom line is that you’d better pay your taxes on time, or the IRS will be diligent about collecting their debt, whether this involves taking your home or garnishing your wages.

This is where companies like Optima Tax Relief come in, who act as an intermediary between you and the IRS. What does this mean?

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. This could involve (to name just a few possible outcomes) a reduction in your debt, lower interest and fees, reasonable payment plans, or avoiding wage garnishment.

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. This includes several we’ve written about in the past, such as Tax Defense Network, Government Tax Lien Network, and 911 Tax Relief.

But outside of their customer reputations, is there anything that really sets one of these tax relief companies apart from one another? Or, do they all pretty much work the same way?

Let’s start answering your questions by learning what Optima’s customers are saying.

Client Feedback for Optima Tax Network

Since writing our original article, nearly 20 HighYa readers have provided feedback about their experiences with Optima Tax Relief, giving the company an average rating of 2.5 stars. Many compliments related to professional customer support and valuable results, while complaints often referenced support issues and no results.

On the other hand, the company had nearly 400 customer reviews on TrustPilot, where 82 percent rated their experiences as four or five-stars. As on HighYa, common compliments cited solid customer service and effective resolutions with the IRS.

Complaints (what few there were) frequently related to high prices, drawn-out settlement processes, and results that did not meet customers’ expectations. In each of these instances, the company replied with unique—not scripted or canned—responses to help find a resolution.

Santa Ana, CA-based Optima Tax Relief had an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, with more than 400 customer reviews (320+ of which were positive) and 170 closed complaints as of 9/14/17.

There, common customer complaints referenced services that weren’t worth the money, as well as various support issues (no response to repeated requests, missed phone appointments, etc.).

Finally, among their other accomplishments, Optima was ranked the third overall fastest growing company (number one within the financial industry) in 2015, received a BBB Torch Award for Business Ethics that same year, and was named as one of Orange County Business Journal’s best places to work in 2017.

It’s also worth noting that they’re one of the only major competitors licensed by IRS as a Continuing Education Provider.

How much will you pay for Optima’s services?

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.

After speaking with a company representative, we learned that the initial investigation is priced at $495. From there, we read about fees during our research ranging anywhere from $4K to $23K. The rep also emphasized:

We do not want our clients to pay us for services that are not defined, which has helped us take over this industry over the last few years. We never go back on our pricing that we initially quote after the $495 investigation, and often times provide additional services that may come up during the course of our representation, but without any additional cost.

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

A Note About Optima Tax Relief’s Charity Efforts

The company representative we spoke with emphasized that Optima has made it a goal in 2017 to increase their charity efforts, which has resulted in being named one of the Top 50 Civic Companies in Orange County.

This involvement includes assisting the Second Harvest Food Bank of OC, the Jeans Days Down Syndrome Foundation of Orange County, Autism Speaks Southern California, the Orangewood Foundation, and Interval House.

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

How to Decide If You Need Tax Relief Services

According to the Federal Trade Commission, when deciding if a tax relief company is right for you, one of the most important factors to consider is how much you owe to the IRS. Why? Because if it’s less than $10K, you can contact the agency directly and request an installment agreement, which by law, they can’t deny.

Yes, you’ll likely be assessed a slight penalty and accompanying interest, but if you only owe a small amount, this could represent much less money than the overall fees charged by a tax relief company. When you speak to the IRS, you can even directly request an Offer in Compromise (OIC) to reduce the overall amount you owe.

Next, it’s important to point out that there are hundreds of tax relief companies in the marketplace, all of which provide essentially the same services, so customer reputation should play a meaningful role in your decision. Questions to ask:

  • Are customers reporting mostly positive experiences?
  • Do you notice any common complaints?
  • When reading through customer compliments, do many of them seem to match your situation (e.g., very large bill, more than a couple years behind, etc.)?
  • What’s their Better Business Bureau rating and corresponding feedback?

SuperMoney’s Adam Latham also recommends finding out how many attorneys the company has on staff, the number of support reps available, if the firm has different payment options and a money back guarantee, and if they make unrealistic promises.

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 with 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?

Optima Tax Relief had a mostly positive online customer reputation among hundreds of reviews at the time of our research, and a company representative provided direct, open responses to many of our questions.

And while you might end up paying (sometimes much) more when everything’s said and done, their $495 initial fee seemed competitive. If you’re not satisfied within the first 15 days, you can even request your money back.

However, as we learned from the Federal Trade Commission, since the process can cost a meaningful amount of money in fees, it might be worthwhile to at least reach out to the IRS on your own in hopes of a possible settlement. If that doesn’t work out, it might make sense to get in touch with a reputable company like Optima Tax Relief.

» For Further Reading: Tax Relief Companies: A Comprehensive Beginner’s Guide

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129 Consumer Reviews for Optima Tax Relief

Average Consumer Rating: 4.0
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 87 4 star: 11 3 star: 1 2 star: 2 1 star:  28
Bottom Line: 76% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 129
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  • Editor’s Note: It is our understanding that this company has been asking its customers to leave feedback on HighYa. We assure you that each of these reviews has still been subjected to the same verification & vetting process that all submitted reviews go through. Learn More Here
  • Solved 5 years worth of tax returns for me!

    • California,
    • Nov 18, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Thanks, Optima Tax Relief, for resolving over 5 years of tax returns for me! Penalties and interest were piling up, but the professionals at Optima stepped in and fixed it with a very favorable settlement that resolved my case. They were very determined to find a resolution to my case. Thanks again! Very appreciative.

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

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  • Relief

    • Statesville, NC,
    • Nov 17, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I called Optima Tax after I got divorced and was told I was responsible for my ex-husband's tax debt. He died a year later, and Optima saved me from having to repay over $50,000. They are kind, caring, and knowledgeable. Thanks Team Optima!

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

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  • I recommend Optima Tax Relief

    • Glen Burnie, MD,
    • Nov 16, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I would recommend Optima Tax Relief to anyone in need of help. They are professional, answered any questions I had, and followed up with me on a regular basis to keep me informed of my case.

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

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  • Glorified scam artist

    • Santa Rosa, CA,
    • Nov 16, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Terrible company. They took my money in 2015, $5,000.00, requested a ton of documents, stalled on my case, requested same documents for the months stalled, and continues this over the course of 3.5 years with zero results. Recently I was sent a registered letter stating they no longer are going to retain power of attorney for lack of correspondence to their 17 emails that got sent requesting documents. They didn’t consider that these email requests landed in a spam folder, which undoubtedly should be labeled "scam folder" given the nature of this company's business model. I called and they offered me to possibly buy back into their circus.

    I’m warning anyone considering looking into Optima for help stay far away! They are garbage. I’ll be requesting a full refund as they have done absolutely nothing but take money I could have put toward my bill to IRS. I’ll update this monthly as I’m sure they will drag their feet on this just as much as they did with my case for almost four years now.

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

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  • Excellent service

    • Florida,
    • Nov 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I had a pleasant and educational experience with Optima Tax Relief service and would highly recommend the service to everyone who needs help with the IRS.

    You will be amazed at the results of their service.

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

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  • Ready to exhale!

    • Pittsburgh, PA,
    • Nov 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    The people at Optima Tax Relief were there for an immediate relief to a stressful situation. Great relieve was delivered, and now I can exhale. They were very professional, from the beginning to the end. Somewhat a timely and costly process, but fantastic resolution. The cost is worth it!

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Amazing service!

    • Pennsylvania,
    • Nov 12, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    My husband and I were extremely backed up with our taxes, but Optima Tax Relief helped us tremendously with their services. However, when my husband passed away recently, I began to think that I would be at yet another loss with our financial situation regarding our back taxes. Optima never gave up on our case. My taxes are now resolved with resolution, and I couldn't be any more grateful. Thank you, Optima Tax Relief, for your wonderful services!

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

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  • Saved me from the IRS

    • Washington,
    • Nov 10, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    They reduced my debt from $19k to $500! Fast and helpful, they were patient and took the time to explain everything to me. I would recommend to anyone who is being harassed by the IRS.

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

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful
    Updated review

    Revising my previous negative review

    • Bedford, PA,
    • Nov 9, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I would like to revise my rating from one star to two stars. After negotiations with Optima, they have agreed to refund me $1,000 of the money I spent with them. It was still not the outcome I was hoping for but at least they met me almost halfway.

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

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    • Oct 24, 2018

      Satisfaction Team, Consumer Asssistance

      Thank you for reaching out and we want to let you know that we take everyone’s experience with our company very seriously, and we work hard to provide the best possible resolution for all of our clients. Your concerns are especially important to us, and we aim to make any experience with us a total success. We would like to state that we have full confidence in our staff to deliver excellent service and results. Our team truly goes out of their way for every client who hires us. We are extremely proud of our staff and the amazing work that they do in helping thousands of people solve their IRS problems every month. We have resolved over a half billion dollars in tax debts for our clients. We have received the Torch Award for Ethics from the Better Business Bureau as well as many other awards recognizing our adherence to the highest ethical standards, consumer-first business practices, and community service.

      We have a small army of qualified tax attorneys and enrolled agents possessing the certifications required to negotiate directly with the IRS on our clients’ behalf and resolve their tax issues, and we are also officially approved by the IRS to provide continuing education courses. Our success is made possible thanks to our dedicated staff – hundreds of the hardest-working tax professionals you can find – who pour their hearts and minds into helping every one of our clients, every day. One of our dedicated Quality Assurance Specialists has already been made aware of your concerns and is ready and waiting to speak with you with additional steps we can take to further assist you with your case. Please feel free to give us a call at (800) 965-3192 at your earliest convenience. We are ready to help resolve any and all of your concerns, and we thank you for providing us with that opportunity by reaching out. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

    • Nov 5, 2018

      Susan W.

      Optima has said that they would refund me $1000.00 of the $2500.00 that I spent with them, upon posting this updated review and signing a letter that I would not leave any further negative comments about my experience. Let's see if the refund comes through. If it does, I will update this review further to their credit.

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    • Previous review
    • Oct 23, 2018

    Definitely a scam!

    After almost a year with agents from Optima Tax collecting all our information on several occasions (multiple requests for the same info!) and $2500 out of pocket, I was informed today that they could do nothing to help me with my tax liability. We were told initially that we "had a good case" for a reduction in our tax owed. This information prompted us to continue with the process that has frustrated me with everyone associated with Optima. They don't want you to contact the IRS because you will find out that they really can't help you at all! Save your money and bypass this company!

    (read moreread less...)

  • Optima Tax

    • Gaithersburg, MD,
    • Oct 27, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Good experience. I was deeply concerned about what I owed and how I would manage. They explained the process and walked me through every phase, managed the calls from IRS, and executed a plan, of which I agreed to accept.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Terrible service

    • Washington,
    • Oct 25, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima Tax Relief's service is offered in two phases. Phase 1 includes an analysis of your tax situation and Phase 2 involves the resolution process with the IRS. At $495, Phase 1 is rather pricey, but I understand that it's a necessary part of the process.

    Prior to accepting their Terms & Conditions, however, I asked my Tax Associate to estimate the cost of Phase 2. After all, why would I ever consider paying $495 in Phase 1 if I couldn't afford the cost of Phase 2? While he was reluctant to offer such an estimate, he finally conceded and quoted me a range between $2,500 - $3,200.

    After Phase 1 was completed, my Tax Associate called me to discuss the "Resolution Phase," Phase 2, at which time he doubled the estimate that he originally provided and extended a quote of $5,495 to advance my case to resolution. On its own, this is a deceptive and unfair practice designed to entice you to sign the deal at one price only to double the price at a time when you need their service the most. I begged for relief and even offered to pay the higher amount in the original estimate, but he insisted that the new fee was "non-negotiable."

    My situation is not unlike any of yours. I owe money to the IRS, but I cannot afford to pay them. The originally estimated fee was going to be present a challenging financial burden, but the revised fee exceed all financial means and priced them right out of the game. Optima Tax Relief provides a service. This is not like hiring a general contractor to install 3 cabinets in your kitchen and then asking them to sell you 6 at the same price. This is a service. It doesn't take a Tax Associate any more time to negotiate a deal with the IRS whether your liability is $10,000, $20,000 or $30,000, yet Optima Tax Relief refused to negotiate a more reasonable fee. Even after talking with a supervisor, she was unwilling to offer any reduction in the cost of Phase 2.

    Following this experience, I encourage all others to check out competitive services, for which there are several, and I would certainly not recommend Optima Tax Relief.

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

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    • Oct 26, 2018

      Satisfaction Team, Consumer Asssistance

      Hi Mr. Diebner, thank you for reaching out. We want to let you know that we take everyone’s experience with our company very seriously, and we work hard to provide the best possible resolution for all of our clients. Your concerns are especially important to us, and we aim to make any experience with us a total success. We would like to state that we have full confidence in our staff to deliver excellent service and results. Our team truly goes out of their way for every client who hires us. We are extremely proud of our staff and the amazing work that they do in helping thousands of people solve their IRS problems every month.

      We have resolved over a half billion dollars in tax debts for our clients. We have received the Torch Award for Ethics from the Better Business Bureau, as well as many other awards recognizing our adherence to the highest ethical standards, consumer-first business practices, and community service. We have a small army of qualified tax attorneys and enrolled agents possessing the certifications required to negotiate directly with the IRS on our clients’ behalf and resolve their tax issues, and we are also officially approved by the IRS to provide continuing education courses.

      Our success is made possible thanks to our dedicated staff, hundreds of the hardest working tax professionals you can find, who pour their hearts and minds into helping every one of our clients, every day. One of our dedicated Quality Assurance Specialists has already been made aware of your concerns, has taken the initiative to review your case, and will be reaching out to you with additional steps we can take to further assist you with your case. Additionally, we understand that you might prefer to speak to us at your convenience, so please feel free to give us a call at (800) 965-3192. We are ready to help resolve any and all of your concerns, and we thank you for providing us with that opportunity by reaching out. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

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Showing 1-11 of 129

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