Optima Tax Relief Review: A Detailed Overview

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff
Updated on: Sep 17, 2019

What Is Optima Tax Relief?

Optima Tax Relief is a tax resolution company 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 Tax Relief different from other companies is their 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 their process works, talk about the cost and analyze customer reviews and complaints to help you determine if Optima Tax Relief is right for you.

How Optima Tax Relief Works

Quick Facts
Specific Services: Offer in Compromise (OIC), Penalty Abatement, Installment Agreement, Partial Pay Installment Agreement (PPIA), Tax Lien Discharge, Tax Lien Subordination, Tax Lien Withdrawal, Wage Garnishment Release, Bank Levy Release, Innocent Spouse Relief, Currently Non-Collectible, Statute of Limitations, Collection Appeal, and Administrative Appeal

Pros: In business since 2011, large staff (100 tax attorneys, CPA’s and enrolled agents; 550 non-licensed employees), high ratings from reviewers

Cons: Minimum debt requirement, high fees compared to other leading companies

Bottom Line: 88% of reviewers would recommend it to a friend
Minimum Fee Average Fee Minimum Debt
$500 $4,000 $10,000


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.

First, rather than paying a huge sum of money upfront, you’ll pay a smaller 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, it will take between three and nine months to resolve your case.

What Happens to Your Tax Debt?

Resolving your tax situation doesn’t mean that Optima Tax Relief (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, Optima Tax Relief 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.

How Much Does Optima Tax Relief Cost?

Optima Tax Relief’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 customer reviews in the past year, 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 is based on how long they anticipate the process taking, King said.

Customers indicated that these 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.”

Based on our research, there is no set price for an investigation or a resolution. Rather, Optima Tax Relief is giving you the advantage of knowing how much everything will cost upfront.

Also, they aren’t demanding you pay the entire fee upfront but split it 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 and minimum debt requirement for some of the top tax relief companies according to Consumer Advocate:

Minimum Fee Average Fee Minimum Debt
Optima Tax Relief $500 $4,000 $10,000
Community Tax $250 $3,500 No minimum
Anthem Tax $250 $2,750 $10,000
Tax Defense Network $495 $3,750 $5,000

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 the right company for you 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.

Do Tax Relief Companies Really Work?

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, which is what we’ll do next.

Analysis of Optima Tax Relief Reviews and Complaints

At the time of publishing, Optima Tax Relief had more than 330 reviews with an average rating of 4.4 stars. Eighty-eight percent of those who left a rating would recommend the service to a friend.

Pros:

  • Reviewers said the process was easy and that they were grateful.
  • In a couple of situations, Optima Tax Relief was able to lower tax bills by more than 90 percent.
  • Overall, the company received 267 5-star reviews.

Cons:

  • A number of reviewers said that they paid a large sum for post-investigation services only to find out Optima wasn’t able to lower their tax bill.
  • There were 37 1-star reviews.

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.

The Bottom Line: Is Optima Tax Relief Worth It?

In our analysis of this company, we found information that indicates that Optima Tax Relief 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 results from Optima.

When it comes to companies who can help you with your tax situation, there are no guarantees.

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.

And keep in mind, every tax debt case is extremely unique to each taxpayer as many moving variables come into play

The bottom line: It’s important to understand that no tax relief company, including Optima Tax Relief, has additional leeway or “magic powers” on top of what you, as a taxpayer, have with the IRS.

The proposed solutions and programs offered by these companies, including penalty and interest abatement, offer in compromise, installment agreements, and fresh start initiative, are available to you directly to explore and enjoy without the requirement of a third party.

Additionally, The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent organization within the IRS that assists taxpayers in understanding tax laws and their rights, available programs and options, and how to resolve any outstanding tax issues.

With the said, should you decide to hire a firm to assist you with your tax debt with the IRS, you’re essentially buying convenience, knowledge, tax attorneys, and experience.

The main question to ask yourself is whether you want to spend the time educating yourself and dealing with the IRS directly or would you rather pay someone else to do it.


Read 382 Optima Tax Relief Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Customer Rating: 4.5
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 306 4 star: 32 3 star: 3 2 star: 2 1 star:  39
Bottom Line: 88% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 382
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  • Thanks Optima Tax Relief

    • Atlanta, GA,
    • Nov 12, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    The very first call is the biggest step you can take to begin to eliminate this nightmare with the IRS. It was the scariest phone call of my life, could Optima Tax even help me with this situation I had gotten myself into. Luis was the first person to make contact with me and I felt relieved for the first time months. Very honest with the information that Optima could help me with and I appreciated that!

    Was kept very informed with all aspects of my case. Everyone that I dealt with was amazing. Never felt disconnected during the entire process.

    Optima, thank you for all of your help.

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

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  • Optima Tax Relief

    • Ossining, NY,
    • Nov 9, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima Tax Relief saved me from a lot of stressful problems I developed through the IRS. I was left with bills and a tax debt for over $40,000. I tried to pay as much as I could, but the rest of my bills went unpaid because I was afraid of the IRS. I was lost. So when I heard the Optima Tax Relief commercial on the radio, I called them. Their service was reassuring and I felt safe. They fixed all of my tax issues by stopping the IRS in their tracks. This is a five-star company.

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

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  • Optima Tax Relief professional

    • Oakland, CA,
    • Nov 7, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima Tax Relief and the group of professionals helped me to get my tax issues under control. They were professional informative and thorough in getting my tax situation solved. I would recommend them to anyone with tax issues from the mundane to the monumental and everything in between.

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

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  • Optima helped me

    • Hawaii,
    • Nov 7, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was concerned about previous tax years, even though I had submitted tax returns for those years. Optima reviewed my returns and offered several suggestions. They informed me of what they could and could not do. They explained the various fees and asked if I wished to continue. They did follow up and my case and helped me with a favorable payment plan with the IRS. They also offer optional services after you complete your tax relief case with Optima.

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

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  • $12000 taxes owed settled for $75

    • Nov 2, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was going through a divorce and had $12000 in taxes to try and pay. I contacted Optima and they explained every step to me and answered any questions that I had. The people there were very friendly and easy to talk to. I have never had to deal with anything like this before and with me going through a very difficult time in my life they were in my corner helping me every step of the way. Thanks Optima.

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

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  • Great service with professionals

    • Temple, PA,
    • Nov 1, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    We went into a Trucking Business in 2017 and it did not go well for us. We try to recuperate what was left over but was not enough to pay our taxes in 2018. Our 2017 taxes caught up to us in 2019 and the IRS added all kinds of fees (late fees and penalties) and ended owing big. We did not know what to do.

    First time me and my wife were ever in a tax situation with the IRS. We were deeply concerned about how to handle this "big problem". Also, I hated seen my wife look so worry.

    I remembered hearing a commercial in my Satellite Radio 125 about Optima Tax Relief helping others with their tax mess. I call Optima and they ask us questions and to send in what paperwork they needed to go over and start work on our behalf.

    All of it was done with phone calls and emails. Not the IRS or OPTIMA persons had to show up to our house. They solved our taxes and all of our penalties fees were eliminated and they got us low and easy monthly payments. If you want to make your back taxes go away, you need to talk to one of these professionals today. Before your friendly IRS people calls you first.

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

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  • Well pleased

    • Texas,
    • Nov 1, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Was way behind on filings and taxes...stress was through the roof. I contacted Optima and the folks were very professional. I gave them all the information that they needed...they got me current on filings and set up payments. Thank you Optima...I do feel relief.

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

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Be careful

    • Charleston, SC,
    • Nov 1, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima has trouble being honest. They kept telling me that once I got an installment agreement in place that they would then negotiate with the IRS. They charged me $11,000 and recommended I pay a large sum to establish the agreement. After doing that I called to see how negotiations were going they said they couldn’t go to the IRS because of my income level. They knew my income level at the beginning of the process. When I called the IRS they said I could have done all of that on my own. When I complained they said "we want to issue you a courtesy refund of $3000" and I would just need to sign a form. When I got the email it was close to $3000 but not quite and the "form" was a release that said I would not say anything on any platform that could be seen as negative. Basically money to shut me up. When I pointed out the things they told me that were not true they just said "it was in the agreement you signed." Read it carefully if you get involved with them.

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

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    • Nov 5, 2019

      Company Response from Optima Tax Relief

      Hi Mr. Sheets, we would like to get a better understanding of your situation. Please give us a call at (800) 965-3192 to provide us the opportunity to discuss your concerns further. Optima is the leader in the Tax Resolution industry because we take our clients' concerns very seriously. We stand by our stellar reputation that we maintain with all other consumer review sites that verify client reviews.

      One of our core values is to "aim for excellence," and we will work hard to ensure you have an excellent experience with us. We look forward to speaking with you.


  • Tax relief after an audit caused a very high balance owed.

    • San Jose, CA,
    • Nov 1, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Because of a lame technicality, I ended up owing about $20,000. Optima was able to keep the IRS off my back and out of my bank accounts while we got things worked out and this year I finally was able to keep my tax refund. Definitely helping me maintain my sanity during this ordeal.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Have no fear - Optima Tax is here!

    • Los Angeles, CA,
    • Oct 31, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    When I first heard about Optima Tax on the radio, I told myself, "if I come across a tax issue, I'm contacting Optima Tax". Well, lo and behold, I had to contact them. From the very beginning, they were very informative, explained in detail what they were going to do, try to resolve and assist in any way possible to relieve me of this headache of dealing with the IRS. By Phase 2, they were able to keep the IRS away from garnishing my wages, any tax liens, and seizing my bank account (this just happened yesterday - October 29th). You have no idea how my stress levels went way down when they relayed the wonderful news. I am happy with the results and have no complaints. If you are dealing with the IRS and can't seem to get anything resolved, contact Optima Tax directly! You won't be sorry!

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

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  • Satisfaction realized

    • Tualatin, OR,
    • Oct 31, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima Tax Relief solved my tax situation in a professional and efficient manner with a very satisfactory resolution. They were easy to work with and provided a stress-free environment which I appreciated. I would highly recommend them to anyone that finds themselves in a situation that requires tax help.

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

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