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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103 Consumer Reviews for Optima Tax Relief

Average Consumer Rating: 4.1
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 70 4 star: 11 3 star: 1 2 star: 0 1 star:  21
Bottom Line: 78% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 103
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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
  • 2 out 3 people found this review helpful
    Updated review

    Nice response!

    • Canton, MA,
    • Sep 20, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    They wrote a nice response! No money back for you. Do not call us anymore, they say. We are getting names together to file a Class Action Suit. See you guys in court. Good luck dealing with the Attorney General's Office and Federal Trade Commission.

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

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    • Sep 14, 2018

      Satisfaction Team, Consumer Asssistance

      Hi Ms. Lavrishina, thank you for sharing your feedback. We take great pride in providing the best possible outcome for every one of our clients, and we plan to take care of your concerns immediately. Your feedback has not gone unnoticed, as a Quality Assurance Specialist will be reaching out soon to help determine your specific needs, obtain more clarity on the situation, and ultimately help resolve the issue. If you would like to get in touch with us at your convenience, you can always reach us at (800) 965-3192. We hope to provide additional assistance so that you ultimately have a positive experience with us. We thank you for providing the opportunity to work together, and we look forward to speaking with you soon.

    • Sep 20, 2018

      Wendy L.

      Hi Lavrishina. I'm in the same boat. Please reach out to me and we can file a lawsuit with this company.

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    • Previous review
    • Sep 13, 2018

    Bunch of liars and scammers!

    Do not believe them. They will charge money and get nothing done. They scammed me out of $4500 and when I asked for money back they said they will not refund anything. No IRS was contacted. Do NOT believe them. Get someone else to help you!

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  • They were with me EVERY step of the way.

    • Bristow, VA,
    • Sep 19, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    They were with me EVERY step of the way. I NEVER felt alone. I received clear and concise information. I can't say enough good things about Optima. I felt sure that they were always on my side, always looking out for me. I tried to work with IRS on my own and was flat out ignored. They never returned my calls and when I went to an IRS office was basically told, "Sorry." I would recommend Optima to anybody who needed someone on their side when working with the IRS.

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

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Buyer beware

    • North Carolina,
    • Sep 19, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    This company took over $1,000 from me and produced absolutely NOTHING! They are ALL about their fees. They reel you in with promises that are not kept and lead you to believe they are "working with the IRS" on your behalf. I contacted the IRS and was told that they were never contacted by Optima Tax Relief on my behalf! They were hard to reach and would deliberately call you back during the hours unavailable in my time zone. Once you call back, they put you back in the queue to wait on a return phone call. Once I complained, they refunded my $150.00 from my $1,000.00 and "closed my case." I never received one piece of correspondence from them proving they actually worked on my case.

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

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    • Sep 20, 2018

      Satisfaction Team, Consumer Asssistance

      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 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 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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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Total experience with Optima Tax Relief

    • Houston, TX,
    • Sep 16, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am happy to say I am very happy with Optima Tax Relief, from the cost to the customer service to the resolution. Optima Tax Relief was very easy to work with. Documents were easy to read and the staff was very professional and easy to work with. They were excellent with follow up and make sure I understood easy step to a successful outcome. They were in constant contact with me and I was very happy with working with just as little as three people from start to finish. There wasn’t many changing different rep, so it made the process easy and more personable. I would definitely recommend Optima Tax Relief for your tax issues.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Highly recommend Optima Tax Relief.

    • San Antonio, TX,
    • Sep 10, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I can't tell you enough what an awesome company Optima is. I had some very urgent time-sensitive issues that concerned the IRS. They were the calm in the storm. I would highly recommend Optima. It is worth it. A piece of mind is priceless.

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

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  • Happy customer

    • Nevada,
    • Sep 9, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    From the beginning my experience was excellent. I was walked through all the steps and they were patient. After providing all the information, I was awarded a very favorable outcome.

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

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  • Great service

    • Camden, NJ,
    • Sep 5, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima Tax Relief helped me with my taxes issue. They were very professional and took the time to explain everything to me, they also responded in a very timely fashion. I would recommend them to everyone I know.

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

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  • Great company to work with

    • Florida,
    • Sep 1, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I thought I was in an impossible situation with the IRS owing them a lot of money, due to several mishaps, with no possible way to pay them, even a fraction, for the foreseeable future. Knowing that interest and penalties were accumulating daily only added to the stress and desperation. Optima patiently reviewed my issues, did their analysis and represented me very effectively, so that the offer in compromise was accepted. They were able to resolve the situation in a very cost-effective way for me. Also, the peace of mind I feel now that the IRS tax lien has been removed is priceless! If you have a problem with the IRS, (1) don't try to resolve it alone; (2) choose Optima as your champion!

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

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Best tax service

    • Virginia,
    • Aug 27, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    This company is great. The staff makes sure they go above and beyond to help you. They always make sure your needs are met. My experience was excellent. I couldn't ask for a better company to help me with my taxes.

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

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  • Very pleased with the results

    • New York,
    • Aug 24, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    At first, I was hesitant to use the service that was conducted solely over the phone, but the case managers explained everything very well and sent documents whether through the mail or email, whichever was more convenient for me. I initially owed over $30,000, but now my taxes owed was brought down to under $4,000. As far as experience goes, the result is amazing, as saving money is. Also, the process was easy to send in documents, sign a few documents, and Optima handles the rest. They also inform you regularly along the way. If you owe large amounts of money to the IRS as I did, I would definitely recommend Optima Tax Relief. As a results-driven individual, they get results.

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

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  • Overall, I'm a satisfied customer.

    • Alabama,
    • Aug 21, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I had the privilege of hiring Optima Tax Relief to help me with IRS. They were very professional and worked in a timely manner. I was relieved of so much stress dealing with the IRS when Optima Tax stepped in. I would recommend them to all my family and friends. I didn't know which way to go. I was fighting a losing battle. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. Today I'm IRS debt free. So if you're having problems with the IRS, I would highly recommend you to give them a call first.

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

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