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.

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Read 338 Optima Tax Relief Customer Reviews and Complaints

Write a Review
Average Consumer Rating: 4.4
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 267 4 star: 29 3 star: 3 2 star: 2 1 star:  37
Bottom Line: 88% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 338
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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
  • I cannot say enough about OTR! They saved me from my back tax debt. Worth every penny!

    • Dallas, TX,
    • Sep 13, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    OTR saved me from my back tax debt. They gave me a fresh start! Worth every penny! If you have tax issues take action and call! They are the tax experts. All the staff was very helpful and made my stress levels go way down. If you need help with back taxes you should give them a call!

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

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    • Sep 16, 2019

      Company Response from Optima Tax Relief

      Thank you so much for the feedback! We are so happy to have assisted through the whole process, helping to aid your "stress levels go way down." It's super important to us to know our clients are relaxed and taken care of during such a stressful process! Enjoy your fresh start, and congratulations!


  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Thank you, Optima Tax Relief!

    • Wisconsin,
    • Sep 12, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    My wife and I are very happy with the terrific services provided by Optima Tax Relief. We would not have been able to accomplish this ourselves. We ended up, even with the fees paid to Optima, paying only about 30% of what the IRS said that we owed. The customer service people were very kind and helpful, holding our hand when we needed reassurance, and giving us that push when expediency was needed. Cori-Ann, one of our contact people was there for us, checking with us and giving hope and guidance. The relief we felt when the IRS finally accepted our "Offer in Compromise" was phenomenal! In summary, we are very satisfied with the help we got from Optima Tax Relief, and we would gladly recommend their services to anyone who would be in our position.

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

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    • Sep 16, 2019

      Company Response from Optima Tax Relief

      Wow, Mr. Brownlea, that sounds like an incredible resolution to us - over 70% savings! We fully understand that tax debt can be a confusing and overwhelming situation to most, and that's why we're here. We're proud to service our great clients, and that's not limited to being with them every step of the way.

      Thank you for reaching out to us to share your final results! We're very excited for you to start fresh on this new journey. Congratulations.


  • Optima Tax Relief review

    • Portland, OR,
    • Sep 12, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was distraught, stressed, and feeling hopeless knowing that I had this tax debt that I was not able to pay. I could not sleep at night. I was receiving letters weekly demanding that I pay the IRS.

    Optima Tax Relief saved me from the IRS garnishing my wages and leaving me with no way to pay my utility bills, to buy groceries or to pay rent.

    I am extremely grateful to Optima Tax Relief for their help in lowering my tax debt. They were very professional and kind, keeping me up to date on all necessary paperwork needed and communicated with me continually through the process. Thank you Optima! I would highly recommend them for help with your tax debt.

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

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    • Sep 16, 2019

      Company Response from Optima Tax Relief

      Hi Ms. Warren, that is a familiar story we hear from our clients. Tax debt is an overwhelming situation to be in and is never a good feeling. We often hear of our clients not being able to sleep at night too, which we empathize with tremendously.

      Having your wages garnished is a situation nobody wants to be in, and that's why it was ideal to call us when you did!

      Thank you for sharing your experience. We are happy to have delivered you a positive resolution, and we are here to help you or anyone else who may run into tax debt. Enjoy!


  • Optima Tax Relief is #1

    • Oakland, CA,
    • Sep 12, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    First of all, I would like to say that I am very satisfied with the services I received from Optima Tax Relief. I felt so much relief after the Optima Tax professionals serviced my account and saved me 97% off of my tax bill. Wow! I am extremely satisfied and I would highly recommend Optima Tax Relief to any and everyone that might have IRS Tax issues. My experience with the Optima Tax Relief family was absolutely great! Thanks again OPTIMA TAX RELIEF.

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

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    • Sep 16, 2019

      Company Response from Optima Tax Relief

      Mr. Cox, that's a number that would impress anyone! We're proud of your efforts here, to call us and to take the plunge in resolving your tax debt. It has definitely paid off! Thank you for recommending us to anyone else who may have tax issues - we want to help others receive a great resolution too. Congratulations!


  • Extremely satisfied

    • California,
    • Sep 11, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am extremely satisfied with Optima Tax. My experience with the representatives at Optima was excellent. Optima took the stress away from dealing with the IRS. I would recommend Optima Tax to anyone looking for tax relief.

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

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    • Sep 13, 2019

      Company Response from Optima Tax Relief

      Thank you Mr. Franco! We are glad to have helped and we're wishing you further success. Thanks for the shout out!


  • Optima helps

    • Pennsylvania,
    • Sep 11, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I greatly appreciate how much Optima helped with my years of tax problems. They made the steps easy for me by doing the work and getting me the best deal they could. They contacted me when they needed info and just dealt with the IRS, replacing the stress that I had.

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

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    • Sep 13, 2019

      Company Response from Optima Tax Relief

      Thank you Mr. Ryan! It's very important to us that our clients reach a successful resolution - so glad that you no longer have stress regarding your financial situation. Best wishes!


  • Best investment I could have made

    • Dallas, TX,
    • Sep 10, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima resented me in a way that I didn't have to deal with the IRS. I'm so happy I signed up for this program. I look forward to start getting my tax refunds at the end of the year!

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

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    • Sep 13, 2019

      Company Response from Optima Tax Relief

      Hi Ms. West! Thanks for reaching out. You know we're thrilled to hear that this was the right investment for you! You're on your way to meeting all of your financial goals, and this was the first step! Congratulations.


  • Exceptional service

    • Elizabeth, NJ,
    • Sep 9, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I would definitely recommend Optima Tax Relief to others. They are very efficient, professional, and timely. They reviewed my case and let me know step by step what they were doing. After they reached a resolution, they advised me why their resolution was in my best interest. They get are truly a great company that really has their clients best interest at heart.

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

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    • Sep 13, 2019

      Company Response from Optima Tax Relief

      Hi Ms. Dickerson, thanks for reaching out! We appreciate your honest feedback tremendously, and are glad you found our process to work for you and your needs! It sounds like your resolution went successfully, so congrats! We truly do want the best for our clients so it's great to hear from you after.


  • Overpriced, no real references to talk to.

    • Washington DC,
    • Sep 5, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    After taking an initial consultation they came back and wanted $8,000 ($2K down and then 6 payments of $750/month), PLUS I still needed to make payments of $800/month to the IRS with no guarantees that they could do anything. I asked if I could see some sort of plan or talk to someone that they actually helped (not just read internet reviews) and was told they do not give references and their tier 2 team that develops the plans would not talk to me until I paid the $2K upfront. So I would be paying them $2,000 and $1550/month on blind faith and a bunch of internet reviews and could end up right where I started. To make matters worse when I called them on their 15-day money-back guarantee to get my initial $495 back I was told that it had been 16 days (only 13 business days but 16 calendar days) so I was not eligible for a refund. It was just a coincidence that they did not divulge what they wanted to really charge me until the refund period had passed.

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

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    • Sep 6, 2019

      Company Response from Optima Tax Relief

      Hi Mr. Cimino, 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 on track

    I called Optima with my issues with IRS and they were very helpful in guiding me and handling my issues. I’m glad I called them, my taxes are back on track and they help stay on track. They gave me a client portal that was so easy to use to sign or upload anything I needed to get to them. Returned my calls very quickly to answer my questions. I handed them my problem and resolved it, very grateful and glad I picked up the phone and called Optima.

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

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    • Sep 5, 2019

      Company Response from Optima Tax Relief

      Thank you Mr. Curtis! It sounds like you called us at the right time in your financial journey! Congratulations on your resolution. We enjoy helping our clients and helping them achieve the success they deserve, so thanks for working with us!


  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Optima Team Support - Becky Benudiz

    • San Antonio, TX,
    • Sep 3, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Becky Benudiz, Jonathan Harding, and Latda Vongphayboun.

    The team comprised of the three Optima members above are and continue providing stellar support. Latda was always available as I completed the tax forms for Tax Years 2016, 2017, and 2018, until all errors were completed and processed successfully. Jonathan followed up by transitioning me into the Graduation process.

    Becky Benudiz, by far, is the best. Becky provides outstanding support by supplying prompt answers to my inquiries as I get closer to making the first payment to the IRS debt. Becky's calm approach has ensured that this critical first step is completed properly and without error. Ms. Benudiz is ready to guide me through this important process and has informed me to contact her when ready. I cannot ask for BETTER service and support!

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

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    • Sep 3, 2019

      Company Response from Optima Tax Relief

      Thank you so much for highlighting some of our incredible team! We know how amazing they are, so it's always a joy to hear our clients sing their praises as well! We cannot ask for a better team of employees and clients, so thank you for working with us and congrats on your resolution!


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