What Is Optima Tax Relief?

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff
Updated on: Apr 26, 2019

Optima Tax Relief is a tax resolution company who whose team of tax pros works on your behalf to help resolve your tax-debt situation.

In conversations we had with company founder and CEO Dave King, he told us what makes Optima different from other companies like it is that they take a customer-centered approach.

King told us he founded the company in 2011 after having a negative experience at another tax resolution firm where the bottom line was a big motivation and not the customer.

“I wasn’t quite happy with the integrity and service they provided their clients,” he said. “They weren’t a client-first business.”

He launched Optima Tax Relief with an emphasis on the customer, he said.

In this review, we’ll explain how Optima works, integrate how they claim to take a customer-first approach, talk about their pricing, compare it to other tax resolution services and then do an overview of the existing customer opinions about the company.

How Optima Tax Relief Works

When you seek out Optima Tax Relief, you’re in a position where you owe the IRS money. In some cases, you’ve got an outstanding tax debt that you’ve yet to pay because you don’t know quite what to do about it. In other cases, the IRS may be actively pursuing you to pay a debt or they might even be garnishing your wages to pay your debt (the “collections” phase).

Optima Tax Relief exists to help you negotiate the various options available and claim to be the largest tax resolution firm in the industry with more than 100 licensed representatives (tax attorneys, CPA’s and enrolled agents) supported by 550 non-licensed employees. These are the people who will work with you through the Optima’s two-step process.

These are the people who will work with you through Optima’s two-step process. First, rather than you paying a huge sum of money up front, you’ll pay a small fee to have the company investigate your case, which, according to their site, includes the following steps:

  • Establish communication with IRS
  • Review case summary options

Once this investigation is complete—it takes between two and four weeks—Optima will present you with your options as well as a pricing estimate for their services. If you accept one of the options you present, it will take between three and nine months to resolve your case.

Keep in mind, though, that resolving your tax situation doesn’t mean that Optima (or any company, for that matter) will make your tax debt disappear. Rather, their goal is to get you in good standing with the IRS and set you up with any number of IRS-provided solutions that will put you on the path to paying back your tax burden.

The solutions are split into three categories: tax negotiation, tax resolution and tax settlement.

The first situation includes installment plans, offers in compromise and penalty abatement (getting the IRS to remove fees or penalties incurred for filing late.

The second situation includes a variety of solutions that include tax relief for spouses, ending wage garnishment and criminal tax defense up to a certain amount.

The final situation is when Optima negotiates a settlement with the IRS in which the IRS agrees to take less than what’s owed. These settlements are granted in specific situations, though, and aren’t a guarantee.

This approach means that Optima accepts a wide variety of taxpayers. However, there are certain situations in which Optima may not be able to help you. According to King, if you’re headed to court for tax fraud or tax evasion and you reach out to Optima, Optima can’t help you.

As far as how much Optima can save you or how much they save, on average, there are no promises, King said. Each set of resolutions they present customers are based on that customer’s financial picture, as your finances dictate the various options for which you can qualify.

Optima Tax also offers year-round tax "protection” that includes tax filing on your behalf. Prices for this service range from $29.99 to $69.99

Pro tip: You have to have at least $10,000 in tax debt to get their help.

Optima Tax Relief’s Pricing

Optima’s pricing comes in two parts. First, they’ll come up with a flat fee to investigate your case. The Optima website doesn’t list the investigation fee but, based on reviews in the past year from HighYa readers, the going rate seems to be around $500.

Then, they’ll present you with the options for which you qualify. Based on the options you choose, Optima will craft a flat fee for their services that’s based on how long they anticipate the process taking based on their past experiences with similar situations, King said.

HighYa reviewers indicated that those costs range anywhere from $1,000 to as much as $20,000. According to estimates from SuperMoney, the average fee for resolving your case is $4,000.

“Most tax pros give you an open-ended contract and they bill per hour,” King said. “Folks make a decision with us knowing what they’ll be charged. They start out understanding how much it will cost for our services.”

Because of this, we can’t present you with a price quote for an investigation or a resolution. Rather, understand that Optima is giving you the advantage of knowing how much everything will cost up front.

Also, they aren’t demanding you pay the entire case fee up front. Rather, they split the payment into two steps: first, the investigation, then the options.

How Optima Tax Relief’s Fees Compare to Other Companies

To try and give you a picture of how Optima’s fees compare to other companies, we turned to SuperMoney’s estimations of the average and minimum fees that various tax relief companies charge.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the pricing (min./avg.) and minimum debt requirement for some of the top tax relief companies according to Consumer Advocate:

  • Optima Tax Relief: $500/$4,000, $10K minimum debt
  • Community Tax: $250/$3,500, no minimum debt requirement
  • Anthem Tax: $250/$2,750, $10K minimum debt
  • Tax Defense Network: $495/$3,750, $5K minimum debt

What we see here is some variation in what each company offers. Community Tax and Anthem Tax have a lower initial fee than Optima and Tax Defense Network. Community Tax is the only company that doesn’t have a minimum debt requirement.

As far as average fees go, Optima is at the top of the range of companies we listed. Remember, though, the average cost of a company's services is just that—it’s not a guarantee of how much your bill will cost.

Each of the companies goes through the same process. You submit your information, they investigate, then come back to you with options for resolution.

Because these companies are relatively similar in their process and, to a certain extent, their pricing, we believe the most effective way to go about choosing which company is best is to call each one and pay close attention to how you’re treated. Does the phone rep make a lot of promises? Do they pressure you into paying for their services?

Don’t be forced into a payment you don’t want to make or a decision you aren’t comfortable with.

Tax Experts Give Their Opinions About Tax Relief Companies

Throughout this review, we’ve given you Optima’s perspective about their services. This perspective will almost always be a positive one, and rightly so. Companies believe in their services and they believe they offer the best solution.

However, as a consumer, it helps to have the perspectives of those not affiliated with the company about which we’re writing. Because of this, we reached out to tax experts to get their opinions about tax resolution companies.

These opinions aren’t meant to sway you one way or another. Rather, we see them as a way for you to get a complete view of what a company can and can’t do for you.

Bonnie Lee, an enrolled agent who runs Sonoma-based tax firm Taxpertise, takes a pretty measured approach to tax resolution companies.

The best ones, she said, are those that exhibit “honesty and integrity” and give you “someone who will explain how the process works, then follow up with you and answer your phone calls and emails.”

She cautioned against using firms that require a large fee upfront before doing any work. Interestingly, she noted that the upstanding companies will always do a financial analysis before giving your options for resolution.

“Before hitting you up with a fee in the thousands of dollars range, they will perform an analysis of your finances to determine the amount the IRS will accept or even if it will accept a smaller offer,” Lee said.

This is something that, based on our research, Optima does.

Our second expert is Craig Smalley, an enrolled agent who is the founder and CEO of Orlando-based tax firm CWSEAPA.

Smalley takes a more negative approach to tax resolution companies. He says that many tax resolution companies are in it for the money.

“It is best to find either an EA or CPA, that doesn’t work for one of these big companies, is familiar with collections, and possibly prepared your tax return in the first place. They will typically do what is in your best interest,” Smalley told us.

Smalley went on to say that he believes firms like his are more customer-centered whereas big companies put profits over solutions that work best for you.

As you can see, both Lee and Smalley own their own tax businesses. They’re both enrolled agents. Yet, they gave us drastically different views of tax resolution companies.

In our opinion, they both make valid points. There are good and bad companies in the tax resolution world—King said precisely the same thing when he talked about why he started Optima.

Making sense of these contrasting opinions can be tough but fruitful. One of the ways to do that is to read through customer reviews from people who actually used Optima.

HighYa Readers’ Reviews of Optima Tax Relief

At the time of publishing, Optima Tax Relief had more than 230 reviews with an average rating of 4.3 stars. Eighty-five percent of those who left a rating would recommend the service to a friend.

Of the 11 most recent reviews, 10 were 5 stars and one was 4 stars. Reviewers said the process was easy, that they were grateful and that, in a couple of situations, Optima was able to lower tax bills by more than 90 percent.

Overall, the site received 181 5-star reviews. On the negative side, there were 33 1-star reviews. Many of these reviewers said that, once they paid a large sum for Optima’s post-investigation services only to find out Optima wasn’t able to lower their tax bill.

What’s important to understand about both sides of these reviews is that Optima doesn’t guarantee that they’ll lower your tax bill and they don’t guarantee success. So, while there are supporters and detractors on both sides of the argument, realize that paying them any amount of money isn’t a guarantee that your tax situation will get fixed.

Bottom Line: Can Optima Tax Relief Lower Your IRS Debt?

In our review of this company, we found information that indicates that Optima is different than other tax relief companies. King, the company’s CEO and founder, said he started the company using a business model that was customer-focused. And, as Lee pointed out, there are legitimate tax relief companies out there.

Yet we also found information that would indicate you may not have a great experience with Optima. Reviewers said they paid a lot of money and received little, if not results from Optima.

When it comes to companies who can help you with your tax situation, there are no guarantees. As such, you’ll need to keep an objective perspective on the offer that Optima gives you. While there may be multiple options for resolving your tax situation, none of them are promises.

IF you’re someone who feels like you have the confidence to talk with the IRS about your options for paying off your debt or setting up a payment plan, there may be some wisdom in doing your own research and dealing with the IRS directly.

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Read 301 Optima Tax Relief Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Consumer Rating: 4.4
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 235 4 star: 26 3 star: 4 2 star: 1 1 star:  35
Bottom Line: 87% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 301
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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
  • Great service

    • Henderson, NV,
    • Jul 15, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Well-seasoned and knowledgeable employees. Especially Becky and Tuyet, they always made me feel comfortable when speaking with the both of them. Any questions I had were responded to in a timely manner. They are stellar employees of this company and I would recommend them.

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

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful
    Updated review

    Road to Recovery with Optima Tax Relief

    • Westland, MI,
    • Jul 15, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I didn’t know what direction I should go to find good tax advice and help with my tax problem with IRS and Optima Tax Relief was able to point me in the right direction to recovery.

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

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    • Previous review
    • Jul 3, 2019

    This company is a scam

    I would not recommend Optima Tax Relief to anyone. They start off charging you $500.00 for an investigation and then tell you that your situation looks like a case that they can help you with. They took almost $7,000.00 of my money for almost 8 months and didn’t lower my tax bill, all they did was prolong my payments to the government until I was finish paying them. I have the same exact payment now that the IRS offered me over a year ago. I’m not happy at all with them and would never recommend them to anyone. They knew during the $500 investigation fee that they could not help me.

    • Jul 3, 2019

      Company Response from Optima Tax Relief

      First, Ms. Lewis, thanks for writing in. We know that tax debt is a personal situation and can be a relatively difficult one to go through. At Optima, we always put our clients first as we want the absolute best experience for you, as well as the best resolution possible. Before we move further, please contact us at (800) 965-3192 so that we can work with you towards a solution. We are reaching out from our side as well. Please understand that we don't take your concerns lightly. We strive to understand the root of any issues and make them right.

    (read moreread less...)

  • Great service with Optima

    • Charlotte, NC,
    • Jul 14, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima Tax Relief is very helpful, reliable, consistent, and available in all different measures to help you get the best outcome of whatever issue you're going through. They even take further steps after a solution to maintain a healthy relationship as well as a positive new stretch towards you and the new beginnings you have with your money.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Fantastic staff and support

    • Cincinnati, OH,
    • Jul 14, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    FANTASTIC...EXCELLENT staff and support. They have reasonable prices and actually MADE ME MONEY through their negotiations with both federal and state governments.

    I called after being nagged by my girlfriend...who was right AGAIN...and the GREAT refunds have mitigated the headaches, from listening to her reminders of how she was right again. Guys, don't give your wife or girlfriend that satisfaction.

    Call Optima Tax Relief now!

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Due diligence

    • Canal Winchester, OH,
    • Jul 12, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    From day one Optima Tax Relief has fulfilled all of its promises to me, the customer! And from day one, each time Optima Tax Relief said something would take place, it always resulted in my benefit. Thank you Optima Tax relief, for making a very stressful situation a very manageable situation. Optima Tax Relief did its due diligence and more!

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

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    They did nothing

    • California,
    • Jul 12, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    First off, don't pay these guys anything. They lie to you about everything. I have paid Optima $20,000 and its been 8 months of doing nothing. They say that they handle all the IRS and State inquiries, yet the State put a lien on my property while in their service. This happened about 2 weeks ago, I still have not received a phone call after repeated requests.

    They are crooks and I will be suing. You've been warned.

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

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    • Jul 15, 2019

      Company Response from Optima Tax Relief

      Hi Mr. Ullom - first, please give us a call at (800) 965-3192 to provide us the opportunity to discuss your concerns further. A dedicated member of our team 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. We believe our clients have the right to "be treated like an individual, not a number," and we plan to commit to these actions in our follow up call with you.

      We have a great number of satisfied clients, and we'd like to highlight one of our favorite recent accounts with you:

      "With patience and lots and lots of hope... they finally settled my case of two years with big brother and myself and I'll say... I could not be happier with the results!!! Let's just say I have a "fresh start" and will not be making the same mistakes I made a few years ago. People don't get second chances like I did and I'll take that very seriously. I highly highly recommend Optima Tax Relief!!!" - Sam A, 4/12/19

      We understand that this can be a trying process, and it isn't easy. We have tremendous respect and faith in our employees, who are qualified tax professionals. Our main goal is to provide a successful experience for every client and we will work tirelessly until we can provide that for you. We would truly appreciate you giving us a chance to help resolve your concerns and we are sincerely looking forward to speaking with you again.


  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Personal experience with Optima

    • Charlotte, NC,
    • Jul 10, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima Tax Relief is very helpful, reliable, consistent, and available in all different measures to help you get the best outcome of whatever issue you're going through. They even take further steps after a solution to maintain a healthy relationship as well as a positive new stretch towards you and the new beginnings you have with your money.

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

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    • Jul 10, 2019

      Company Response from Optima Tax Relief

      We're so happy to hear that! We know how hard it is to rely on someone to help get you out of tax debt with the IRS. We appreciate that it's no easy feat, so congratulations on your efforts! We're wishing you the best moving forward.


  • I love Optima Tax Relief

    • Highland Springs, VA,
    • Jul 10, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I love Optima Tax! I had been in trouble with the IRS for a long time. I needed help to make up for past years' filings and payment of those taxes. I was afraid that one day the IRS would pounce on me; it was a prospect that haunted and terrified me.

    Optima Tax changed my life dramatically and liberated me. I now have a checking account, savings, and debit card which would have been seized by IRS before Optima Tax was able to take my case.

    They were easy to work with and immediately gave me confidence and assurance that Optima Tax would take care of my trouble; I was greatly relieved!

    I love Optima Tax Relief, they eliminated my fear and limitations. I am a "Happy Chappy", I sleep peacefully and I look forward to the days ahead!

    Yes, I love Optima Tax Relief!

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

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  • Outstanding

    • Bear, DE,
    • Jul 10, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima Tax Relief has definitely helped me and my husband. They were there when I called and always got back to me in a timely manner. I would recommend this service to anyone that needs to get out of the tax debt problem you may have. Thanks Optima.

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

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    • Jul 10, 2019

      Company Response from Optima Tax Relief

      Congratulations on your debt-free future! Thank you for the honest feedback, and for the great recommendation.


  • Optima Tax Relief will help end your tax woes

    • Cleveland, OH,
    • Jul 10, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I called Optima Tax Relief because I became seriously delinquent with my taxes. Their knowledgeable staff assessed my situation and was able to resolve my tax issues. I'm so relieved I made that call. I recommend letting Optima Tax Relief help you resolve your tax issues.

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

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    • Jul 10, 2019

      Company Response from Optima Tax Relief

      Thanks for sharing those kind words about our team. We truly care about our clients, and we want nothing more for you than to "resolve [your] tax issues." Congratulations!


  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Peace of mind

    • Missouri,
    • Jul 1, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    So I first heard of Optima Tax on the radio. I owed years of back taxes and was unsure of how to go about taking care of it. I knew I wanted to take care of it just didn't know how to start. It was a very stressful time in my life. I finally got the courage to call Optima Tax. From that day on they handled everything and I truly had a peace of mind just knowing I took the first step. Still unsure of how much I owed and if I qualified for a deal. They stayed in contact with me all the time and walked me thru everything step for step. Optima helped me to understand the process. I would highly recommend Optima Tax to anyone. I have my life back and can sleep at night. They are very friendly and were always available to answer my questions.

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

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    • Jul 10, 2019

      Company Response from Optima Tax Relief

      Congratulations, firstly, for making that initial phone call that would change your life! Secondly, for your wonderful resolution. We're very proud of you and have enjoyed working with you tremendously. Please let us know if you may need anything in the future.


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