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.


Customer Reviews

Start your review of Optima Tax Relief:
  • 428 Customer Reviews
  • 89% Recommend This Company
4.5 out of 5
5 star: 81% 4 star: 7% 3 star: 0% 2 star: 0% 1 star: 9%

 Our Promise to You

To safeguard you and ensure helpfulness and relevance, our compliance team manually assess every customer review before it goes live.

We have a zero-tolerance policy for fake reviews, and companies cannot control or alter any reviews at any time.

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  • Just the relief I needed

    I fell into some trouble with the IRS for filing incorrectly, which resulted in a high tax liability I could not afford to pay in full. I became stressed out when the notices starting coming in the mail. I had attempted to call the IRS myself to see what I could do. I remember calling the IRS and being on hold for two hours and then my call being dropped.

    I became restless, and that's when one day I was driving home from work that I heard the commercial come on for Optima Tax Relief. I decided to give them a call, and I'm so glad I did. Optima Tax Relief was able to submit an offer in compromise on my behalf that saved me a ton of money. Optima Tax Relief really took care of me and helped me along the way. Now I am all squared away with the IRS and stress-free.

    I want to give a big thanks to the people who were assigned to my case and helped me along the way. Thank you George Gonzalez, my tax associate, who brought me on board with Optima Tax Relief and explained everything and placed my mind at ease. Thank you to my case manager Andrea Aguilera, who constantly stayed in touch and gave me updates about my case. Thank you to the tax prep department that took care of filing my taxes. Thank you to all customer service reps who always answered all my questions and who were always so courteous and nice.

    It has been a pleasant experience using Optima Tax Relief for their services. I would definitely recommend them to friends and family.

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


  • Optima really helps!

    • By Sean Vaksman,
    • Pittsburgh, PA,
    • Aug 16, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I used Optima Tax Relief to resolve some unpaid back tax issues with the IRS. They helped me through the entire process and made everything very simple. Their team was very professional and made a very complicated process easy to understand and resolve. Not only did they help me get totally compliant and current on my taxes, they also saved me literally tens of thousands of dollars. They were able to successfully negotiate with the IRS and reach an agreement that I was very satisfied with. I would highly recommend using them if you have similar issues.

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


  • Manny's review

    • By Manuel Reyes,
    • Fort Worth, TX,
    • Sep 7, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima Tax Relief helped me with my tax problems. They helped relieve my stress caused by my tax problems. They were very knowledgeable of tax laws. I definitely will recommend them to my family and friends.

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


  • Updated review

    Very satisfied

    Optima Tax Relief contacted me yesterday and took care of everything, so I retract my last post. They are a great company and do make things right. I would very much recommend them. They will take care of you.

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

    • Previous review
    • Sep 7, 2017

    Very unsatisfied

    I started doing business with this company in January 2016. Still to date, nothing has been solved, and I have had three different case managers. I filed 2016 taxes late due to their negligence. I can never get a hold of anyone; they are never available. They do not respond to emails and always make excuses, which are only making things worse. I have already been paid in full. I am very unsatisfied.

    If had to do it over, I would not use Optima, but they already have $5000 of my money. I expect them to do what they say and what I paid them to do, not make it worse.

    (read moreread less...)

  • Optima Tax Relief

    We had a great experience with Optima. Any questions we had we were able to get help and questions answered fairly quickly. If we left a message, someone called us back within one business day. Very professional and helped our family out tremendously.

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


  • Saved us money

    • By Shane D,
    • Texas,
    • Sep 19, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima Tax Relief truly helped us out in a very bad time in our lives. During the whole process we felt like they had our best interest and never once did I regret the decision to trust them with our tax issues. They were able to save us a lot of money, and the peace of mind was well worth the money. Thanks Optima!

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


  • IRS - I'm really scared

    I went from IRS (I'm really scared) to see if there is hope.

    I tried resolving my issue with the IRS alone. I did everything that was asked of me, and then the IRS just got bigger and meaner. They wanted blood. I heard the commercial on KBLX, and I decided that I didn't have a choice, I had to get some professional help to deal with the IRS, at this point I had nothing to lose.

    I took the first step and contacted Optima Tax Relief and boy what a relief it was. I have not heard anything from the IRS since I hired this company. Optima Tax Relief has done everything that they said they would do, They kept me informed, told me exactly what forms they needed from me and when. I believe I dealt with 4 or 5 different people while going through this process, each and every employee that I spoke with was very understanding, polite, courteous and timely. I was kept very informed from the beginning to the end. I will definitely recommend them to everyone that I can, but I will also let people know each case is different and may get different results.

    I think the only thing that Optima Tax Relief can do to improve is to advertise more and while working with us scared individuals let us know that at each phase of the process we will be speaking with someone different. Overall this was the most trustworthy company that I have ever dealt with. My case ended successfully. A+.

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


  • Positive review

    • By Kevin Kramer,
    • Schaumburg, IL,
    • Sep 22, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    In my case, the IRS was seeking back taxes, interest, and penalties for three years of filings where I underpaid estimated taxes for some contracting work I did at the time. The total sought by the IRS was $34,000.

    I sought the help of Optima Tax Relief, and they stood in my corner and began a constructive dialog with the IRS. This process took a long time and required loads of documentation and communication with the Optima Tax team. They were professional throughout the process and ultimately persuaded the IRS to reduce my liability from $34,000 to less than $1,000.

    I highly recommend Optima Tax Relief if you find yourself in a difficult tax predicament where the IRS is threatening you with liens or worse.

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

    • Oct 3, 2017

      Company Response from Optima Tax Relief

      Thank you for your positive feedback. Depending on an individual's specific situation, we understand the process can be a little lengthy, but we appreciate your patience and cooperation while we worked hard on your case to obtain the best resolution for you. We are glad to hear we were able to help resolve your tax issues. Have a wonderful day!


  • Optima saved my butt!

    I'm a disabled Vet. I had not filed returns for about 16 years due to a failed business that had not done its Corporate Returns. I used that as an excuse, and I was dead wrong. Mind you, I had never heard from the IRS the entire time. We had come into some past due disability benefits, and I had decided to take care of my tax returns. I heard the Optima radio ad and had placed a phone call. The guy I'd reached was Leonard. Nice guy and very knowledgeable. He basically laid out the entire the process and gave me an idea on cost. I already knew that I was going to have to pay in order to get this fixed.

    I did the first payment, roughly about $900. I was informed about the investigation phase and that it may take some time for Optima to do all of their research on my case. During this time, I was kept informed by phone and email, regularly. After fully investigating, we were not sure whether or not the IRS had a bunch of outstanding fees. I sent in another $800 so that we could go through the tax preparation phase. I was contacted by Optima's tax preparation department, and then a great deal of activity was happening.

    What Optima had discovered was that I did not owe any tax, as I had been on W-2 every year since 1999. And there were no penalties. Optima had prepared about five years worth of returns and negotiated with the IRS to forego the others. Everything was sent to me by email, including PDF files and all other communications.

    In a nutshell, all of my Returns were caught up by Optima and (this is the best part) I was entitled to receive refunds for the last three years. So, because of Optima, I was able to recover almost all of what I had paid out! On top of this, I was declared in full compliance with the IRS.

    My experience from the first phone call until, well, it still continues. Optima is very much about communication, and this is HUGE for me. So, even though I had made a major mistake, I knew what had to be done, and I knew that it may cost quite a bit of money. I am so glad that I had contacted Optima. The whole process took less than six months, and Optima took care of all of my issues. Now, I can live in peace knowing that I am in full compliance and I could not have done this without Leonard and all of the other great people at Optima.

    Thank you Optima!

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

    • Oct 3, 2017

      Company Response from Optima Tax Relief

      Thank YOU, Raymond! We strive to do our best to obtain the best resolution for all our clients. We thank you for your positive rating and we hope you have a great day.


  • Love you Optima Tax Relief!

    Highly skilled professionals and team of the Optima Tax Relief, there to solve any IRS and tax problems. Very reasonable price for the service they provide. Perfect communication; keep in touch with the client until the problem is solved. One and only one for the tax relief and solutions, and that's Optima Tax Relief!

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

    • Oct 3, 2017

      Company Response from Optima Tax Relief

      We appreciate your positive rating and feedback. We aim to not only obtain the best resolution but to also keep an open communication and outstanding customer service! We are glad to hear we were able to provide all that for you. We wish you the very best!


  • Outstanding!

    • By Reynaldo,
    • Houston, TX,
    • Oct 9, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    If you are being harassed by the IRS, give Optima Tax Relief a call today. I owed $29,000.00 in back taxes because of some rough times. Optima took on my case and settled for $100.00. I now owe the IRS nothing. They can help you too!

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

    • Oct 10, 2017

      Company Response from Optima Tax Relief

      Thank you for your positive rating. It's always exciting to hear that we were able to help resolve your tax issues and that this provided great service! We wish you the very best!


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