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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131 Consumer Reviews for Optima Tax Relief

Average Consumer Rating: 4.0
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 87 4 star: 13 3 star: 1 2 star: 2 1 star:  28
Bottom Line: 76% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 131
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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
  • 30 out 30 people found this review helpful

    Rip-off in every sense of the word

    DO NOT waste your time and effort dealing with this company.

    I have some serious tax problems that include wage garnishment. I contacted this company and went over everything with them. They told me OK, to send them $1,000.00, and they would start to work on getting the garnishment stopped and all my other tax problems resolved.

    They told me time and again that getting the garnishment lifted would be no problem, but I would have to pay them another $12,000. I told them that I was unable to do that until they got the garnishment lifted. I was told not to worry about making the payments to them for right now. TWICE.

    The next thing I know, I'm not hearing from them after being contacted every week for a month with them wanting all kinds of paperwork including Power of Attorney. I submitted all of that when asked to. I finally called to see what was going on with my situation and was told that because I hadn't made the scheduled payment that my account wasn't being worked on. This was the first I had heard of it. They didn't even have the common decency to honor their word, nor to even inform me of their decision.

    Next, I was told that since I had paid the $1,000.00 up front that they would at least file all my back tax returns and this year's. That was last week. Today I get a call telling me they're not going to file my tax returns for me. So I'm right back at square one with zero service for my original $1,000.00 and having to look for another solution to my problems.

    These people are nothing but liars and thieves. DO NOT do business with them!

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

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    • Sep 10, 2017

      John Bass

      REASONS TO AVOID TAX RELIEF COMPANIES:

      What is written below, is "8 reasons" cited by real tax professionals at Watax.com website. You can also see on their website, the 91 "tax relief" companies SHUT DOWN because of their scam, unethical, illegal, and poor business practices!

      1.] These SCAM companies charge ridiculously HIGH fees. If a tax resolution company is going to charge you $3,000 or more for representation, you deserve the red carpet treatment. You should have direct access to your licensed tax professional and/or have the customer service rep who does your up-front analysis to be with you to the end. (If you're interested, we wrote more about what $4,000 of tax resolution should buy you.)

      2.] Many tax resolution companies have a tendency to whack you with new fees once you're on board with them, figuring you're more or less locked in. (We wrote more about this phenomenon too, about why reopening fees are problematic.)

      3.] They give BAD advice. Plainly and simply, many tax resolution companies will advise you to do the wrong thing.

      4.] They give DISHONEST advice (i.e. lying). The oldest trick in the tax resolution sales book is to tell someone that they'll qualify for an Offer in Compromise ("OIC") to settle their tax debt when they clearly do not qualify. It's human nature, people just love to hear that they will settle their debts, just like in the commercials! Shady salespeople love to scratch this itch for profit.

      FYI: You can file your own "OIC" (IRS Form #656), but it's HIGHLY UNLIKELY you'll get such "compromise" as statistics show the IRS rarely offer such.

      You can file your own "EXTENSION" (IRS Form # 1127 -Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Tax Due to Undue Hardship), which is what all these scam "tax relief" companies do anyway, charging you fees in excess of $1,000's and $1,000's with many consumers reporting being scammed and charged upwards of the $4,000-$7,000 ranges.

      If you owe back taxes, there are several IRS tax relief programs to help, including the IRS "Fresh Start Initiative"

      An "Installment Agreement" is generally available to people who can't pay their tax debt in full at one time. The program allows people to make smaller monthly payments until the entire debt is satisfied.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative", the IRS raised the threshold for streamlined installment agreements from $25,000 to $50,000 in tax debt, and the maximum repayment term of five to six years. Taxpayers who owe less than $50,000 may apply online with the IRS and don’t have to complete an IRS "Collection Information Statement" (Form # 433-A, Form # 433-B or Form # 433-F).

      An Offer in Compromise ("OIC") lets taxpayers permanently settle their tax debt for less than the amount they owe. The OIC is an important tool to help people in limited circumstances; taxpayers are eligible only after other payment options have been exhausted.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative," the IRS expanded the "OIC" program to cover a larger group of struggling taxpayers. However, the IRS will not accept an offer if it believes the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or through an installment agreement. The IRS offers guidance on choosing a tax professional for an OIC on its website.

      5.] Misstating urgency and scare tactics. Tax resolution sales people and telemarketers harass those with tax liens, they're notorious for telling you that the sky is falling if you don't hire them immediately. "Your case has reached 'Elevated Status!' barks one company to its prospective clients, cold calling tax liens. Tax relief companies will often manipulate your emotions to make the sale. There's no reason to fake urgency. An honest tax professional should lay out all of the options for you without emotion or scare tactics.

      6.] Employee turnover. Whether big or small, tax resolution companies are notorious for having high employee turnover. As many of the companies are reliant on "salespeople," employees who can't sell enough cases are fired. Hence, your case keeps getting handed off from representative to representative. In these environments, the institutional memory of your case can deteriorate fairly easily.

      7.] Dropping the ball. Keeping your client out of aggressive collection actions like levies and garnishments requires constant vigilance and a very delicate personal touch. Large companies are famous for cases falling into the cracks and subsequently, clients getting nailed with levies from the IRS.

      8.] Going out of business. Running an effective tax resolution business requires a unique blend of great customer service with excellent marketing. Take one of those two elements away and you're out of business! Again, see "Watax" website that lists The 91 Tax scam companies already SHUT DOWN!

      AS STATED BY THE FTC: Problems with Tax Relief Companies

      1.] Promise that you will get relief from tax liabilities;

      2.] Misrepresent how long it will take to process a debt relief request application; and/or

      3.] Omit relevant asset information on financial statements submitted to the IRS.

      ALSO STATED BY THE FTC:

      "Tax relief companies use the radio, television and the internet to advertise help for taxpayers in distress. If you pay them an upfront fee, which can be thousands of dollars, these companies claim they can reduce or even eliminate your tax debts and stop back-tax collection by applying for legitimate IRS hardship programs. The truth is that most taxpayers don't qualify for the programs these fraudsters hawk, their companies don't settle the tax debt, and in many cases don't even send the necessary paperwork to the IRS requesting participation in the programs that were mentioned. Adding insult to injury, some of these companies don't provide refunds, and leave people even further in debt.

      Some taxpayers who filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that, after signing up with some of these companies and paying thousands of dollars in upfront fees, the companies took even more of their money by making unauthorized charges to their credit cards or withdrawals from their bank accounts.

      If you owe back taxes and don't know how you're going to pay the debt, the FTC, the nation's consumer protection agency, says don't panic, take a deep breath, and consider your options. If you are having trouble paying bills, it's often better to try to work out a payment plan with the creditor yourself than to pay someone else to negotiate a plan for you. The same is true when you owe money to the IRS or your state comptroller."

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  • 26 out 28 people found this review helpful

    I don't think it's necessary

    • Corona, CA,
    • Mar 17, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    Bottom line, you can save $995 by contacting the IRS yourself. Speak to whomever is handling your case. They are there to help you. Also save another 7995 by not falling for their scare tactic, saying the IRS is looking into your taxes for the next 2 years for a possible 75 grand. Spoke to the IRS, NOT TRUE. When I spoke to Optima Tax Relief, they could not answer basic questions and told me what I already knew, that I am getting audited for 2012. I suggest you try to deal with the IRS because if you have nothing to hide you can and will find a solution. Don't waste your money.

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

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    • Jun 14, 2017

      Gayle D.

      True. They use scare tactics to get your money. Garnishments and liens don't happen overnight. People are afraid and do nothing which signals to IRS that you have no intentions of resolving the situation. IRS reduces debt and settlements. Those thousands they gave to this scam company could have possibly turned around their situation.

      A person should make a face to face meeting to resolve tax debt. I know. I used to work for IRS. I also know a divorcee whose accounts were frozen. When she finally contacted them, her accounts were unfrozen, the debt was reduced and she had a manageable payment arrangement. Do not buy into the fear because that's what they do to get your money for nothing.

    • Sep 10, 2017

      John Bass

      REASONS TO AVOID TAX RELIEF COMPANIES:

      What is written below, is "8 reasons" cited by real tax professionals at Watax.com website. You can also see on their website, the 91 "tax relief" companies SHUT DOWN because of their scam, unethical, illegal, and poor business practices!

      1.] These SCAM companies charge ridiculously HIGH fees. If a tax resolution company is going to charge you $3,000 or more for representation, you deserve the red carpet treatment. You should have direct access to your licensed tax professional and/or have the customer service rep who does your up-front analysis to be with you to the end. (If you're interested, we wrote more about what $4,000 of tax resolution should buy you.)

      2.] Many tax resolution companies have a tendency to whack you with new fees once you're on board with them, figuring you're more or less locked in. (We wrote more about this phenomenon too, about why reopening fees are problematic.)

      3.] They give BAD advice. Plainly and simply, many tax resolution companies will advise you to do the wrong thing.

      4.] They give DISHONEST advice (i.e. lying). The oldest trick in the tax resolution sales book is to tell someone that they'll qualify for an Offer in Compromise ("OIC") to settle their tax debt when they clearly do not qualify. It's human nature, people just love to hear that they will settle their debts, just like in the commercials! Shady salespeople love to scratch this itch for profit.

      FYI: You can file your own "OIC" (IRS Form #656), but it's HIGHLY UNLIKELY you'll get such "compromise" as statistics show the IRS rarely offer such.

      You can file your own "EXTENSION" (IRS Form # 1127 -Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Tax Due to Undue Hardship), which is what all these scam "tax relief" companies do anyway, charging you fees in excess of $1,000's and $1,000's with many consumers reporting being scammed and charged upwards of the $4,000-$7,000 ranges.

      If you owe back taxes, there are several IRS tax relief programs to help, including the IRS "Fresh Start Initiative"

      An "Installment Agreement" is generally available to people who can't pay their tax debt in full at one time. The program allows people to make smaller monthly payments until the entire debt is satisfied.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative", the IRS raised the threshold for streamlined installment agreements from $25,000 to $50,000 in tax debt, and the maximum repayment term of five to six years. Taxpayers who owe less than $50,000 may apply online with the IRS and don’t have to complete an IRS "Collection Information Statement" (Form # 433-A, Form # 433-B or Form # 433-F).

      An Offer in Compromise ("OIC") lets taxpayers permanently settle their tax debt for less than the amount they owe. The OIC is an important tool to help people in limited circumstances; taxpayers are eligible only after other payment options have been exhausted.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative," the IRS expanded the "OIC" program to cover a larger group of struggling taxpayers. However, the IRS will not accept an offer if it believes the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or through an installment agreement. The IRS offers guidance on choosing a tax professional for an OIC on its website.

      5.] Misstating urgency and scare tactics. Tax resolution sales people and telemarketers harass those with tax liens, they're notorious for telling you that the sky is falling if you don't hire them immediately. "Your case has reached 'Elevated Status!' barks one company to its prospective clients, cold calling tax liens. Tax relief companies will often manipulate your emotions to make the sale. There's no reason to fake urgency. An honest tax professional should lay out all of the options for you without emotion or scare tactics.

      6.] Employee turnover. Whether big or small, tax resolution companies are notorious for having high employee turnover. As many of the companies are reliant on "salespeople," employees who can't sell enough cases are fired. Hence, your case keeps getting handed off from representative to representative. In these environments, the institutional memory of your case can deteriorate fairly easily.

      7.] Dropping the ball. Keeping your client out of aggressive collection actions like levies and garnishments requires constant vigilance and a very delicate personal touch. Large companies are famous for cases falling into the cracks and subsequently, clients getting nailed with levies from the IRS.

      8.] Going out of business. Running an effective tax resolution business requires a unique blend of great customer service with excellent marketing. Take one of those two elements away and you're out of business! Again, see "Watax" website that lists The 91 Tax scam companies already SHUT DOWN!

      AS STATED BY THE FTC: Problems with Tax Relief Companies

      1.] Promise that you will get relief from tax liabilities;

      2.] Misrepresent how long it will take to process a debt relief request application; and/or

      3.] Omit relevant asset information on financial statements submitted to the IRS.

      ALSO STATED BY THE FTC:

      "Tax relief companies use the radio, television and the internet to advertise help for taxpayers in distress. If you pay them an upfront fee, which can be thousands of dollars, these companies claim they can reduce or even eliminate your tax debts and stop back-tax collection by applying for legitimate IRS hardship programs. The truth is that most taxpayers don't qualify for the programs these fraudsters hawk, their companies don't settle the tax debt, and in many cases don't even send the necessary paperwork to the IRS requesting participation in the programs that were mentioned. Adding insult to injury, some of these companies don't provide refunds, and leave people even further in debt.

      Some taxpayers who filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that, after signing up with some of these companies and paying thousands of dollars in upfront fees, the companies took even more of their money by making unauthorized charges to their credit cards or withdrawals from their bank accounts.

      If you owe back taxes and don't know how you're going to pay the debt, the FTC, the nation's consumer protection agency, says don't panic, take a deep breath, and consider your options. If you are having trouble paying bills, it's often better to try to work out a payment plan with the creditor yourself than to pay someone else to negotiate a plan for you. The same is true when you owe money to the IRS or your state comptroller."

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    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • 27 out 27 people found this review helpful

    Extremely Poor Experience with Optima

    • Tampa, FL,
    • Dec 26, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    I contacted Optima based on an ad on the Mark Levin radio program. I thought it would be legitimate based on the popularity of the show and that they would vet their advertisers.

    I had an extremely poor experience with Optima. I contacted them in mid-September of 2016. I gave them the necessary information they requested.

    We went over the process. I told them under no circumstances did I want their fee to exceed 10,000 dollars. I was told in a recorded phone conversation that it would not exceed 10,000 dollars. They asked for a deposit of 995.00 dollars, which I paid for by credit card.

    They later called to explain the "very serious" situation. They told me my final bill would be closer to 13,000 dollars. I asked them about the recorded phone conversation; they told me they didn't realize my situation was so severe.

    I told them I gave them all the information they requested, and they verified the numbers. I asked them what they could do for me if I paid the additional money, they said they couldn't promise anything. I asked what their previous experience was in similar cases.

    They told me each case was different. I exchanged several emails where I asked specific questions and they would always respond to call and we could discuss things over the phone. I told them I wanted their replies in writing. Finally, I disputed my charge with my credit card company on the basis of misrepresentation.

    My credit card company, Bank of America, initially sided with me, but Optima fought the chargeback. They called the 995.00 an "investigative fee" which was nonrefundable, and my credit card company then sided with them.

    So I am out the 995.00 dollars. Some of the people I dealt with at Optima include: Chris Do, Natalie Ochoa and Benjamin Arteaga.

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

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    • Sep 10, 2017

      John Bass

      REASONS TO AVOID TAX RELIEF COMPANIES:

      What is written below, is "8 reasons" cited by real tax professionals at Watax.com website. You can also see on their website, the 91 "tax relief" companies SHUT DOWN because of their scam, unethical, illegal, and poor business practices!

      1.] These SCAM companies charge ridiculously HIGH fees. If a tax resolution company is going to charge you $3,000 or more for representation, you deserve the red carpet treatment. You should have direct access to your licensed tax professional and/or have the customer service rep who does your up-front analysis to be with you to the end. (If you're interested, we wrote more about what $4,000 of tax resolution should buy you.)

      2.] Many tax resolution companies have a tendency to whack you with new fees once you're on board with them, figuring you're more or less locked in. (We wrote more about this phenomenon too, about why reopening fees are problematic.)

      3.] They give BAD advice. Plainly and simply, many tax resolution companies will advise you to do the wrong thing.

      4.] They give DISHONEST advice (i.e. lying). The oldest trick in the tax resolution sales book is to tell someone that they'll qualify for an Offer in Compromise ("OIC") to settle their tax debt when they clearly do not qualify. It's human nature, people just love to hear that they will settle their debts, just like in the commercials! Shady salespeople love to scratch this itch for profit.

      FYI: You can file your own "OIC" (IRS Form #656), but it's HIGHLY UNLIKELY you'll get such "compromise" as statistics show the IRS rarely offer such.

      You can file your own "EXTENSION" (IRS Form # 1127 -Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Tax Due to Undue Hardship), which is what all these scam "tax relief" companies do anyway, charging you fees in excess of $1,000's and $1,000's with many consumers reporting being scammed and charged upwards of the $4,000-$7,000 ranges.

      If you owe back taxes, there are several IRS tax relief programs to help, including the IRS "Fresh Start Initiative"

      An "Installment Agreement" is generally available to people who can't pay their tax debt in full at one time. The program allows people to make smaller monthly payments until the entire debt is satisfied.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative", the IRS raised the threshold for streamlined installment agreements from $25,000 to $50,000 in tax debt, and the maximum repayment term of five to six years. Taxpayers who owe less than $50,000 may apply online with the IRS and don’t have to complete an IRS "Collection Information Statement" (Form # 433-A, Form # 433-B or Form # 433-F).

      An Offer in Compromise ("OIC") lets taxpayers permanently settle their tax debt for less than the amount they owe. The OIC is an important tool to help people in limited circumstances; taxpayers are eligible only after other payment options have been exhausted.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative," the IRS expanded the "OIC" program to cover a larger group of struggling taxpayers. However, the IRS will not accept an offer if it believes the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or through an installment agreement. The IRS offers guidance on choosing a tax professional for an OIC on its website.

      5.] Misstating urgency and scare tactics. Tax resolution sales people and telemarketers harass those with tax liens, they're notorious for telling you that the sky is falling if you don't hire them immediately. "Your case has reached 'Elevated Status!' barks one company to its prospective clients, cold calling tax liens. Tax relief companies will often manipulate your emotions to make the sale. There's no reason to fake urgency. An honest tax professional should lay out all of the options for you without emotion or scare tactics.

      6.] Employee turnover. Whether big or small, tax resolution companies are notorious for having high employee turnover. As many of the companies are reliant on "salespeople," employees who can't sell enough cases are fired. Hence, your case keeps getting handed off from representative to representative. In these environments, the institutional memory of your case can deteriorate fairly easily.

      7.] Dropping the ball. Keeping your client out of aggressive collection actions like levies and garnishments requires constant vigilance and a very delicate personal touch. Large companies are famous for cases falling into the cracks and subsequently, clients getting nailed with levies from the IRS.

      8.] Going out of business. Running an effective tax resolution business requires a unique blend of great customer service with excellent marketing. Take one of those two elements away and you're out of business! Again, see "Watax" website that lists The 91 Tax scam companies already SHUT DOWN!

      AS STATED BY THE FTC: Problems with Tax Relief Companies

      1.] Promise that you will get relief from tax liabilities;

      2.] Misrepresent how long it will take to process a debt relief request application; and/or

      3.] Omit relevant asset information on financial statements submitted to the IRS.

      ALSO STATED BY THE FTC:

      "Tax relief companies use the radio, television and the internet to advertise help for taxpayers in distress. If you pay them an upfront fee, which can be thousands of dollars, these companies claim they can reduce or even eliminate your tax debts and stop back-tax collection by applying for legitimate IRS hardship programs. The truth is that most taxpayers don't qualify for the programs these fraudsters hawk, their companies don't settle the tax debt, and in many cases don't even send the necessary paperwork to the IRS requesting participation in the programs that were mentioned. Adding insult to injury, some of these companies don't provide refunds, and leave people even further in debt.

      Some taxpayers who filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that, after signing up with some of these companies and paying thousands of dollars in upfront fees, the companies took even more of their money by making unauthorized charges to their credit cards or withdrawals from their bank accounts.

      If you owe back taxes and don't know how you're going to pay the debt, the FTC, the nation's consumer protection agency, says don't panic, take a deep breath, and consider your options. If you are having trouble paying bills, it's often better to try to work out a payment plan with the creditor yourself than to pay someone else to negotiate a plan for you. The same is true when you owe money to the IRS or your state comptroller."

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • 26 out 26 people found this review helpful

    Wonderful

    • Arizona,
    • Feb 13, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    These people are wonderful at doing absolutely nothing except basically make payment arrangements. They never tried to lower any of the taxes, I wasn't even given the option for a fresh start program, and they didn't stop wage garnishes until it was too late. They never return calls, and your case is shuffled around to different people who have no idea what is going on.

    One thing they are great at is deducting their fee from your bank account.

    They are full of lies and give you the runaround. Thanks for nothing freaking snakes. Oh yes, one more thing, I now have to hire someone else to do the job right.

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

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    • Sep 10, 2017

      John Bass

      REASONS TO AVOID TAX RELIEF COMPANIES:

      What is written below, is "8 reasons" cited by real tax professionals at Watax.com website. You can also see on their website, the 91 "tax relief" companies SHUT DOWN because of their scam, unethical, illegal, and poor business practices!

      1.] These SCAM companies charge ridiculously HIGH fees. If a tax resolution company is going to charge you $3,000 or more for representation, you deserve the red carpet treatment. You should have direct access to your licensed tax professional and/or have the customer service rep who does your up-front analysis to be with you to the end. (If you're interested, we wrote more about what $4,000 of tax resolution should buy you.)

      2.] Many tax resolution companies have a tendency to whack you with new fees once you're on board with them, figuring you're more or less locked in. (We wrote more about this phenomenon too, about why reopening fees are problematic.)

      3.] They give BAD advice. Plainly and simply, many tax resolution companies will advise you to do the wrong thing.

      4.] They give DISHONEST advice (i.e. lying). The oldest trick in the tax resolution sales book is to tell someone that they'll qualify for an Offer in Compromise ("OIC") to settle their tax debt when they clearly do not qualify. It's human nature, people just love to hear that they will settle their debts, just like in the commercials! Shady salespeople love to scratch this itch for profit.

      FYI: You can file your own "OIC" (IRS Form #656), but it's HIGHLY UNLIKELY you'll get such "compromise" as statistics show the IRS rarely offer such.

      You can file your own "EXTENSION" (IRS Form # 1127 -Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Tax Due to Undue Hardship), which is what all these scam "tax relief" companies do anyway, charging you fees in excess of $1,000's and $1,000's with many consumers reporting being scammed and charged upwards of the $4,000-$7,000 ranges.

      If you owe back taxes, there are several IRS tax relief programs to help, including the IRS "Fresh Start Initiative"

      An "Installment Agreement" is generally available to people who can't pay their tax debt in full at one time. The program allows people to make smaller monthly payments until the entire debt is satisfied.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative", the IRS raised the threshold for streamlined installment agreements from $25,000 to $50,000 in tax debt, and the maximum repayment term of five to six years. Taxpayers who owe less than $50,000 may apply online with the IRS and don’t have to complete an IRS "Collection Information Statement" (Form # 433-A, Form # 433-B or Form # 433-F).

      An Offer in Compromise ("OIC") lets taxpayers permanently settle their tax debt for less than the amount they owe. The OIC is an important tool to help people in limited circumstances; taxpayers are eligible only after other payment options have been exhausted.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative," the IRS expanded the "OIC" program to cover a larger group of struggling taxpayers. However, the IRS will not accept an offer if it believes the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or through an installment agreement. The IRS offers guidance on choosing a tax professional for an OIC on its website.

      5.] Misstating urgency and scare tactics. Tax resolution sales people and telemarketers harass those with tax liens, they're notorious for telling you that the sky is falling if you don't hire them immediately. "Your case has reached 'Elevated Status!' barks one company to its prospective clients, cold calling tax liens. Tax relief companies will often manipulate your emotions to make the sale. There's no reason to fake urgency. An honest tax professional should lay out all of the options for you without emotion or scare tactics.

      6.] Employee turnover. Whether big or small, tax resolution companies are notorious for having high employee turnover. As many of the companies are reliant on "salespeople," employees who can't sell enough cases are fired. Hence, your case keeps getting handed off from representative to representative. In these environments, the institutional memory of your case can deteriorate fairly easily.

      7.] Dropping the ball. Keeping your client out of aggressive collection actions like levies and garnishments requires constant vigilance and a very delicate personal touch. Large companies are famous for cases falling into the cracks and subsequently, clients getting nailed with levies from the IRS.

      8.] Going out of business. Running an effective tax resolution business requires a unique blend of great customer service with excellent marketing. Take one of those two elements away and you're out of business! Again, see "Watax" website that lists The 91 Tax scam companies already SHUT DOWN!

      AS STATED BY THE FTC: Problems with Tax Relief Companies

      1.] Promise that you will get relief from tax liabilities;

      2.] Misrepresent how long it will take to process a debt relief request application; and/or

      3.] Omit relevant asset information on financial statements submitted to the IRS.

      ALSO STATED BY THE FTC:

      "Tax relief companies use the radio, television and the internet to advertise help for taxpayers in distress. If you pay them an upfront fee, which can be thousands of dollars, these companies claim they can reduce or even eliminate your tax debts and stop back-tax collection by applying for legitimate IRS hardship programs. The truth is that most taxpayers don't qualify for the programs these fraudsters hawk, their companies don't settle the tax debt, and in many cases don't even send the necessary paperwork to the IRS requesting participation in the programs that were mentioned. Adding insult to injury, some of these companies don't provide refunds, and leave people even further in debt.

      Some taxpayers who filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that, after signing up with some of these companies and paying thousands of dollars in upfront fees, the companies took even more of their money by making unauthorized charges to their credit cards or withdrawals from their bank accounts.

      If you owe back taxes and don't know how you're going to pay the debt, the FTC, the nation's consumer protection agency, says don't panic, take a deep breath, and consider your options. If you are having trouble paying bills, it's often better to try to work out a payment plan with the creditor yourself than to pay someone else to negotiate a plan for you. The same is true when you owe money to the IRS or your state comptroller."

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  • 26 out 26 people found this review helpful

    Optima is shady

    • San Francisco, CA,
    • Feb 16, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I paid over $4,000 to Optima Tax Relief because they promised to lower my balance with the IRS. But the only thing Optima did was set me up on an installment agreement, which I could have done myself.

    And to add insult to injury, Optima deleted the review that I posted on Yelp as if I was some type of troll. Can you believe that? They didn't even bother to reach out to me nor contact me. They just deleted me if as if I didn't even exist. Shame on Optima.

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

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    • Sep 10, 2017

      John Bass

      I hear ya! They complain and they will do all they can to get the negative reviews taken down! They hate being called out on their shady and illegal practices! Freedom of speech and speaking the truth on these crooks! Like I said, 91 of these "tax relief" companies have already been shut down. You can see them on website Watax.

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  • 20 out 21 people found this review helpful

    Waste of money

    • Charlotte, NC,
    • Jun 24, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I paid over $4,000 and they did nothing to reduce my $19,000 tax burden. Everything they did for me I could have done myself by calling the IRS. Optima is a total waste. I thought they would at least help me save what I paid them, but it was like they did nothing at all and now I am out the $4,000 I paid Optima and still owe the IRS $19,000.

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

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    • Jun 26, 2017

      Satisfaction Team, Consumer Asssistance

      Hello, we truly apologize for the experience you've had with our firm. We strive to address and mediate every issue that is brought to our attention. We have attempted to locate you in our system but we were unable to find "Jason Lawson". We would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you directly to come to an amicable resolution.

      In order to locate your file, we would need to have some additional information such as, the name or email address that is on your file with us. If you feel uncomfortable giving out your information, can call our customer service line at (800) 965-3192, and ask to be transferred to our Quality Assurance Department? One of our specialists will be more than happy to speak with you directly about your concerns. We truly hope you provide us with an opportunity to turn your experience around. Thank you.

    • Jul 10, 2017

      Eric Graham

      I paid over $4,000 on a $10,000 tax problem. I called and called and email several times, it has been over ten months for a promised 6-month turnaround. I haven't received any responses for over three months. I haven't received any results, and they are always changing to a different party asking for the same information over and over again. It seems like there very unorganized.

      And as of today, I still haven't heard of any results. I definitely wouldn't recommend them. My other coworkers also told me the same thing happened to them. The Better Business Bureau definitely needs to hear from me, as well as my other coworkers. If I don't get this resolved soon, I'll make sure they hear from all my coworkers and friends that tried doing business with them. I hope people take this as a warning!

    • Aug 1, 2017

      Eric Graham

      After posting this review on HighYa, I have finally received a phone call from Quality Assurance. Hopefully, my issue will get resolved quickly and on a positive note with the IRS payment. I will continue to review the outcome of my case on HighYa.

    • Aug 17, 2017

      Taylor Parker

      So a family member and friends used this service and it was a ripoff. I wish they would have talked to me first! While they are out about $7,000 to Optima, they no longer pay them. They learned that everything Optima does they can actually do themselves with the IRS.

      Optima really is a scam and a waste of money. Call the IRS and negotiate your own deal. I’ve done this numerous times for people. It’s actually easy and you can save thousands of dollars.

    • Sep 1, 2017

      S. Smitty

      Who are these people? I called on the last day of the month for a consultation. I spoke with a gentleman Anthony S., and I was told I called right in the nick of time as Optima was ending a promotion to the start process. If I signed today it would only be $495. However, if I called the very next day it would go back to $995, huh? However, was told it was a special only for August. Ok fine.

      As I was going to move forward, I asked what other fees there were and Anthony told me there is no way he could tell me only that it would be more than $495. What!! I then called back and spoke with someone else who told me the fee to start their process is $495 and it's been that way since May.

      I was also given a range for additional fees based on my case, which was several thousands of dollars. How is that possible that I call the same company on the same day and get quotes that are different prices that $495 is a promo price, and then I'm told it's not a promo price. Needless to say, I won't be using Optima Tax Relief.

    • Sep 10, 2017

      John Bass

      REASONS TO AVOID TAX RELIEF COMPANIES:

      What is written below, is "8 reasons" cited by real tax professionals at Watax.com website. You can also see on their website, the 91 "tax relief" companies SHUT DOWN because of their scam, unethical, illegal, and poor business practices!

      1.] These SCAM companies charge ridiculously HIGH fees. If a tax resolution company is going to charge you $3,000 or more for representation, you deserve the red carpet treatment. You should have direct access to your licensed tax professional and/or have the customer service rep who does your up-front analysis to be with you to the end. (If you're interested, we wrote more about what $4,000 of tax resolution should buy you.)

      2.] Many tax resolution companies have a tendency to whack you with new fees once you're on board with them, figuring you're more or less locked in. (We wrote more about this phenomenon too, about why reopening fees are problematic.)

      3.] They give BAD advice. Plainly and simply, many tax resolution companies will advise you to do the wrong thing.

      4.] They give DISHONEST advice (i.e. lying). The oldest trick in the tax resolution sales book is to tell someone that they'll qualify for an Offer in Compromise ("OIC") to settle their tax debt when they clearly do not qualify. It's human nature, people just love to hear that they will settle their debts, just like in the commercials! Shady salespeople love to scratch this itch for profit.

      FYI: You can file your own "OIC" (IRS Form #656), but it's HIGHLY UNLIKELY you'll get such "compromise" as statistics show the IRS rarely offer such.

      You can file your own "EXTENSION" (IRS Form # 1127 -Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Tax Due to Undue Hardship), which is what all these scam "tax relief" companies do anyway, charging you fees in excess of $1,000's and $1,000's with many consumers reporting being scammed and charged upwards of the $4,000-$7,000 ranges.

      If you owe back taxes, there are several IRS tax relief programs to help, including the IRS "Fresh Start Initiative"

      An "Installment Agreement" is generally available to people who can't pay their tax debt in full at one time. The program allows people to make smaller monthly payments until the entire debt is satisfied.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative", the IRS raised the threshold for streamlined installment agreements from $25,000 to $50,000 in tax debt, and the maximum repayment term from five to six years. Taxpayers who owe less than $50,000 may apply online with the IRS and don’t have to complete an IRS "Collection Information Statement" (Form # 433-A, Form # 433-B or Form # 433-F).

      An Offer in Compromise ("OIC") lets taxpayers permanently settle their tax debt for less than the amount they owe. The OIC is an important tool to help people in limited circumstances; taxpayers are eligible only after other payment options have been exhausted.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative," the IRS expanded the "OIC" program to cover a larger group of struggling taxpayers. However, the IRS will not accept an offer if it believes the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or through an installment agreement. The IRS offers guidance on choosing a tax professional for an OIC on its website.

      5.] Misstating urgency and scare tactics. Tax resolution sales people and telemarketers harass those with tax liens, they're notorious for telling you that the sky is falling if you don't hire them immediately. "Your case has reached 'Elevated Status!' barks one company to its prospective clients, cold calling tax liens. Tax relief companies will often manipulate your emotions to make the sale. There's no reason to fake urgency. An honest tax professional should lay out all of the options for you without emotion or scare tactics.

      6.] Employee turnover. Whether big or small, tax resolution companies are notorious for having high employee turnover. As many of the companies are reliant on "salespeople," employees who can't sell enough cases are fired. Hence, your case keeps getting handed off from representative to representative. In these environments, the institutional memory of your case can deteriorate fairly easily.

      7.] Dropping the ball. Keeping your client out of aggressive collection actions like levies and garnishments requires constant vigilance and a very delicate personal touch. Large companies are famous for cases falling into the cracks and subsequently, clients getting nailed with levies from the IRS.

      8.] Going out of business. Running an effective tax resolution business requires a unique blend of great customer service with excellent marketing. Take one of those two elements away and you're out of business! Again, see "Watax" website that lists The 91 Tax scam companies already SHUT DOWN!

      AS STATED BY THE FTC: Problems with Tax Relief Companies

      1.] Promise that you will get relief from tax liabilities;

      2.] Misrepresent how long it will take to process a debt relief request application; and/or

      3.] Omit relevant asset information on financial statements submitted to the IRS.

      ALSO STATED BY THE FTC:

      "Tax relief companies use the radio, television and the internet to advertise help for taxpayers in distress. If you pay them an upfront fee, which can be thousands of dollars, these companies claim they can reduce or even eliminate your tax debts and stop back-tax collection by applying for legitimate IRS hardship programs. The truth is that most taxpayers don't qualify for the programs these fraudsters hawk, their companies don't settle the tax debt, and in many cases don't even send the necessary paperwork to the IRS requesting participation in the programs that were mentioned. Adding insult to injury, some of these companies don't provide refunds, and leave people even further in debt.

      Some taxpayers who filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that, after signing up with some of these companies and paying thousands of dollars in upfront fees, the companies took even more of their money by making unauthorized charges to their credit cards or withdrawals from their bank accounts.

      If you owe back taxes and don't know how you're going to pay the debt, the FTC, the nation's consumer protection agency, says don't panic, take a deep breath, and consider your options. If you are having trouble paying bills, it's often better to try to work out a payment plan with the creditor yourself than to pay someone else to negotiate a plan for you. The same is true when you owe money to the IRS or your state comptroller."

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • 22 out 22 people found this review helpful

    Scam

    • Alabama,
    • Dec 31, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima is a scam. They do nothing that you cannot do for yourself. If you qualify, go and get the forms and fill them out. If you need help filling out the forms, walk into a local accounting office and ask for it. You will spend thousands less and get the same result. I lost 6,500 to these guys and it was my fault. They tell you one thing on the phone and then have you sign a document that claims there is no guarantee. Total scam.

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

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    • Sep 10, 2017

      John Bass

      REASONS TO AVOID TAX RELIEF COMPANIES:

      What is written below, is "8 reasons" cited by real tax professionals at Watax.com website. You can also see on their website, the 91 "tax relief" companies SHUT DOWN because of their scam, unethical, illegal, and poor business practices!

      1.] These SCAM companies charge ridiculously HIGH fees. If a tax resolution company is going to charge you $3,000 or more for representation, you deserve the red carpet treatment. You should have direct access to your licensed tax professional and/or have the customer service rep who does your up-front analysis to be with you to the end. (If you're interested, we wrote more about what $4,000 of tax resolution should buy you.)

      2.] Many tax resolution companies have a tendency to whack you with new fees once you're on board with them, figuring you're more or less locked in. (We wrote more about this phenomenon too, about why reopening fees are problematic.)

      3.] They give BAD advice. Plainly and simply, many tax resolution companies will advise you to do the wrong thing.

      4.] They give DISHONEST advice (i.e. lying). The oldest trick in the tax resolution sales book is to tell someone that they'll qualify for an Offer in Compromise ("OIC") to settle their tax debt when they clearly do not qualify. It's human nature, people just love to hear that they will settle their debts, just like in the commercials! Shady salespeople love to scratch this itch for profit.

      FYI: You can file your own "OIC" (IRS Form #656), but it's HIGHLY UNLIKELY you'll get such "compromise" as statistics show the IRS rarely offer such.

      You can file your own "EXTENSION" (IRS Form # 1127 -Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Tax Due to Undue Hardship), which is what all these scam "tax relief" companies do anyway, charging you fees in excess of $1,000's and $1,000's with many consumers reporting being scammed and charged upwards of the $4,000-$7,000 ranges.

      If you owe back taxes, there are several IRS tax relief programs to help, including the IRS "Fresh Start Initiative"

      An "Installment Agreement" is generally available to people who can't pay their tax debt in full at one time. The program allows people to make smaller monthly payments until the entire debt is satisfied.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative", the IRS raised the threshold for streamlined installment agreements from $25,000 to $50,000 in tax debt, and the maximum repayment term of five to six years. Taxpayers who owe less than $50,000 may apply online with the IRS and don’t have to complete an IRS "Collection Information Statement" (Form # 433-A, Form # 433-B or Form # 433-F).

      An Offer in Compromise ("OIC") lets taxpayers permanently settle their tax debt for less than the amount they owe. The OIC is an important tool to help people in limited circumstances; taxpayers are eligible only after other payment options have been exhausted.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative," the IRS expanded the "OIC" program to cover a larger group of struggling taxpayers. However, the IRS will not accept an offer if it believes the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or through an installment agreement. The IRS offers guidance on choosing a tax professional for an OIC on its website.

      5.] Misstating urgency and scare tactics. Tax resolution sales people and telemarketers harass those with tax liens, they're notorious for telling you that the sky is falling if you don't hire them immediately. "Your case has reached 'Elevated Status!' barks one company to its prospective clients, cold calling tax liens. Tax relief companies will often manipulate your emotions to make the sale. There's no reason to fake urgency. An honest tax professional should lay out all of the options for you without emotion or scare tactics.

      6.] Employee turnover. Whether big or small, tax resolution companies are notorious for having high employee turnover. As many of the companies are reliant on "salespeople," employees who can't sell enough cases are fired. Hence, your case keeps getting handed off from representative to representative. In these environments, the institutional memory of your case can deteriorate fairly easily.

      7.] Dropping the ball. Keeping your client out of aggressive collection actions like levies and garnishments requires constant vigilance and a very delicate personal touch. Large companies are famous for cases falling into the cracks and subsequently, clients getting nailed with levies from the IRS.

      8.] Going out of business. Running an effective tax resolution business requires a unique blend of great customer service with excellent marketing. Take one of those two elements away and you're out of business! Again, see "Watax" website that lists The 91 Tax scam companies already SHUT DOWN!

      AS STATED BY THE FTC: Problems with Tax Relief Companies

      1.] Promise that you will get relief from tax liabilities;

      2.] Misrepresent how long it will take to process a debt relief request application; and/or

      3.] Omit relevant asset information on financial statements submitted to the IRS.

      ALSO STATED BY THE FTC:

      "Tax relief companies use the radio, television and the internet to advertise help for taxpayers in distress. If you pay them an upfront fee, which can be thousands of dollars, these companies claim they can reduce or even eliminate your tax debts and stop back-tax collection by applying for legitimate IRS hardship programs. The truth is that most taxpayers don't qualify for the programs these fraudsters hawk, their companies don't settle the tax debt, and in many cases don't even send the necessary paperwork to the IRS requesting participation in the programs that were mentioned. Adding insult to injury, some of these companies don't provide refunds, and leave people even further in debt.

      Some taxpayers who filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that, after signing up with some of these companies and paying thousands of dollars in upfront fees, the companies took even more of their money by making unauthorized charges to their credit cards or withdrawals from their bank accounts.

      If you owe back taxes and don't know how you're going to pay the debt, the FTC, the nation's consumer protection agency, says don't panic, take a deep breath, and consider your options. If you are having trouble paying bills, it's often better to try to work out a payment plan with the creditor yourself than to pay someone else to negotiate a plan for you. The same is true when you owe money to the IRS or your state comptroller."

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  • 22 out 22 people found this review helpful

    Optima Tax Relief is NOT a relief!

    • Austin, TX,
    • Apr 5, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima Tax Relief is supposed to be helping my case. I say supposed to help because they are not. My case has been going on for two years! I don't ever hear anything from them until I get my ex to email them and he hardly ever gets a reply. The $4k we paid them up front has been money down the drain. They say our case has been passed on to someone else, etc.

    I will NEVER recommend this so called company to anyone! If I could give a rating of zero, I would.

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

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    • Sep 10, 2017

      John Bass

      REASONS TO AVOID TAX RELIEF COMPANIES:

      What is written below, is "8 reasons" cited by real tax professionals at Watax.com website. You can also see on their website, the 91 "tax relief" companies SHUT DOWN because of their scam, unethical, illegal, and poor business practices!

      1.] These SCAM companies charge ridiculously HIGH fees. If a tax resolution company is going to charge you $3,000 or more for representation, you deserve the red carpet treatment. You should have direct access to your licensed tax professional and/or have the customer service rep who does your up-front analysis to be with you to the end. (If you're interested, we wrote more about what $4,000 of tax resolution should buy you.)

      2.] Many tax resolution companies have a tendency to whack you with new fees once you're on board with them, figuring you're more or less locked in. (We wrote more about this phenomenon too, about why reopening fees are problematic.)

      3.] They give BAD advice. Plainly and simply, many tax resolution companies will advise you to do the wrong thing.

      4.] They give DISHONEST advice (i.e. lying). The oldest trick in the tax resolution sales book is to tell someone that they'll qualify for an Offer in Compromise ("OIC") to settle their tax debt when they clearly do not qualify. It's human nature, people just love to hear that they will settle their debts, just like in the commercials! Shady salespeople love to scratch this itch for profit.

      FYI: You can file your own "OIC" (IRS Form #656), but it's HIGHLY UNLIKELY you'll get such "compromise" as statistics show the IRS rarely offer such.

      You can file your own "EXTENSION" (IRS Form # 1127 -Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Tax Due to Undue Hardship), which is what all these scam "tax relief" companies do anyway, charging you fees in excess of $1,000's and $1,000's with many consumers reporting being scammed and charged upwards of the $4,000-$7,000 ranges.

      If you owe back taxes, there are several IRS tax relief programs to help, including the IRS "Fresh Start Initiative"

      An "Installment Agreement" is generally available to people who can't pay their tax debt in full at one time. The program allows people to make smaller monthly payments until the entire debt is satisfied.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative", the IRS raised the threshold for streamlined installment agreements from $25,000 to $50,000 in tax debt, and the maximum repayment term of five to six years. Taxpayers who owe less than $50,000 may apply online with the IRS and don’t have to complete an IRS "Collection Information Statement" (Form # 433-A, Form # 433-B or Form # 433-F).

      An Offer in Compromise ("OIC") lets taxpayers permanently settle their tax debt for less than the amount they owe. The OIC is an important tool to help people in limited circumstances; taxpayers are eligible only after other payment options have been exhausted.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative," the IRS expanded the "OIC" program to cover a larger group of struggling taxpayers. However, the IRS will not accept an offer if it believes the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or through an installment agreement. The IRS offers guidance on choosing a tax professional for an OIC on its website.

      5.] Misstating urgency and scare tactics. Tax resolution sales people and telemarketers harass those with tax liens, they're notorious for telling you that the sky is falling if you don't hire them immediately. "Your case has reached 'Elevated Status!' barks one company to its prospective clients, cold calling tax liens. Tax relief companies will often manipulate your emotions to make the sale. There's no reason to fake urgency. An honest tax professional should lay out all of the options for you without emotion or scare tactics.

      6.] Employee turnover. Whether big or small, tax resolution companies are notorious for having high employee turnover. As many of the companies are reliant on "salespeople," employees who can't sell enough cases are fired. Hence, your case keeps getting handed off from representative to representative. In these environments, the institutional memory of your case can deteriorate fairly easily.

      7.] Dropping the ball. Keeping your client out of aggressive collection actions like levies and garnishments requires constant vigilance and a very delicate personal touch. Large companies are famous for cases falling into the cracks and subsequently, clients getting nailed with levies from the IRS.

      8.] Going out of business. Running an effective tax resolution business requires a unique blend of great customer service with excellent marketing. Take one of those two elements away and you're out of business! Again, see "Watax" website that lists The 91 Tax scam companies already SHUT DOWN!

      AS STATED BY THE FTC: Problems with Tax Relief Companies

      1.] Promise that you will get relief from tax liabilities;

      2.] Misrepresent how long it will take to process a debt relief request application; and/or

      3.] Omit relevant asset information on financial statements submitted to the IRS.

      ALSO STATED BY THE FTC:

      "Tax relief companies use the radio, television and the internet to advertise help for taxpayers in distress. If you pay them an upfront fee, which can be thousands of dollars, these companies claim they can reduce or even eliminate your tax debts and stop back-tax collection by applying for legitimate IRS hardship programs. The truth is that most taxpayers don't qualify for the programs these fraudsters hawk, their companies don't settle the tax debt, and in many cases don't even send the necessary paperwork to the IRS requesting participation in the programs that were mentioned. Adding insult to injury, some of these companies don't provide refunds, and leave people even further in debt.

      Some taxpayers who filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that, after signing up with some of these companies and paying thousands of dollars in upfront fees, the companies took even more of their money by making unauthorized charges to their credit cards or withdrawals from their bank accounts.

      If you owe back taxes and don't know how you're going to pay the debt, the FTC, the nation's consumer protection agency, says don't panic, take a deep breath, and consider your options. If you are having trouble paying bills, it's often better to try to work out a payment plan with the creditor yourself than to pay someone else to negotiate a plan for you. The same is true when you owe money to the IRS or your state comptroller."

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • 21 out 21 people found this review helpful

    Fraud and negligence of the highest order

    • Philadelphia, PA,
    • May 24, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima Tax, in my opinion and experience, is nothing but a fee collection company and a sham. They did not tell me that the IRS requested information. They ignored requests from the IRS which resulted in a lien being filed despite their promises that I would be protected from a lien as long as I was working with them. They did not file my tax return, which they said they would. The list of egregious malpractice goes on and on. Stay away from this company, or you will be sorry!

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

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    • Sep 10, 2017

      John Bass

      REASONS TO AVOID TAX RELIEF COMPANIES:

      What is written below, is "8 reasons" cited by real tax professionals at Watax.com website. You can also see on their website, the 91 "tax relief" companies SHUT DOWN because of their scam, unethical, illegal, and poor business practices!

      1.] These SCAM companies charge ridiculously HIGH fees. If a tax resolution company is going to charge you $3,000 or more for representation, you deserve the red carpet treatment. You should have direct access to your licensed tax professional and/or have the customer service rep who does your up-front analysis to be with you to the end. (If you're interested, we wrote more about what $4,000 of tax resolution should buy you.)

      2.] Many tax resolution companies have a tendency to whack you with new fees once you're on board with them, figuring you're more or less locked in. (We wrote more about this phenomenon too, about why reopening fees are problematic.)

      3.] They give BAD advice. Plainly and simply, many tax resolution companies will advise you to do the wrong thing.

      4.] They give DISHONEST advice (i.e. lying). The oldest trick in the tax resolution sales book is to tell someone that they'll qualify for an Offer in Compromise ("OIC") to settle their tax debt when they clearly do not qualify. It's human nature, people just love to hear that they will settle their debts, just like in the commercials! Shady salespeople love to scratch this itch for profit.

      FYI: You can file your own "OIC" (IRS Form #656), but it's HIGHLY UNLIKELY you'll get such "compromise" as statistics show the IRS rarely offer such.

      You can file your own "EXTENSION" (IRS Form # 1127 -Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Tax Due to Undue Hardship), which is what all these scam "tax relief" companies do anyway, charging you fees in excess of $1,000's and $1,000's with many consumers reporting being scammed and charged upwards of the $4,000-$7,000 ranges.

      If you owe back taxes, there are several IRS tax relief programs to help, including the IRS "Fresh Start Initiative"

      An "Installment Agreement" is generally available to people who can't pay their tax debt in full at one time. The program allows people to make smaller monthly payments until the entire debt is satisfied.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative", the IRS raised the threshold for streamlined installment agreements from $25,000 to $50,000 in tax debt, and the maximum repayment term from five to six years. Taxpayers who owe less than $50,000 may apply online with the IRS and don’t have to complete an IRS "Collection Information Statement" (Form # 433-A, Form # 433-B or Form # 433-F).

      An Offer in Compromise ("OIC") lets taxpayers permanently settle their tax debt for less than the amount they owe. The OIC is an important tool to help people in limited circumstances; taxpayers are eligible only after other payment options have been exhausted.

      Under its "Fresh Start Initiative," the IRS expanded the "OIC" program to cover a larger group of struggling taxpayers. However, the IRS will not accept an offer if it believes the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or through an installment agreement. The IRS offers guidance on choosing a tax professional for an OIC on its website.

      5.] Misstating urgency and scare tactics. Tax resolution sales people and telemarketers harass those with tax liens, they're notorious for telling you that the sky is falling if you don't hire them immediately. "Your case has reached 'Elevated Status!' barks one company to its prospective clients, cold calling tax liens. Tax relief companies will often manipulate your emotions to make the sale. There's no reason to fake urgency. An honest tax professional should lay out all of the options for you without emotion or scare tactics.

      6.] Employee turnover. Whether big or small, tax resolution companies are notorious for having high employee turnover. As many of the companies are reliant on "salespeople," employees who can't sell enough cases are fired. Hence, your case keeps getting handed off from representative to representative. In these environments, the institutional memory of your case can deteriorate fairly easily.

      7.] Dropping the ball. Keeping your client out of aggressive collection actions like levies and garnishments requires constant vigilance and a very delicate personal touch. Large companies are famous for cases falling into the cracks and subsequently, clients getting nailed with levies from the IRS.

      8.] Going out of business. Running an effective tax resolution business requires a unique blend of great customer service with excellent marketing. Take one of those two elements away and you're out of business! Again, see "Watax" website that lists The 91 Tax scam companies already SHUT DOWN!

      AS STATED BY THE FTC: Problems with Tax Relief Companies

      1.] Promise that you will get relief from tax liabilities;

      2.] Misrepresent how long it will take to process a debt relief request application; and/or

      3.] Omit relevant asset information on financial statements submitted to the IRS.

      ALSO STATED BY THE FTC:

      "Tax relief companies use the radio, television and the internet to advertise help for taxpayers in distress. If you pay them an upfront fee, which can be thousands of dollars, these companies claim they can reduce or even eliminate your tax debts and stop back-tax collection by applying for legitimate IRS hardship programs. The truth is that most taxpayers don't qualify for the programs these fraudsters hawk, their companies don't settle the tax debt, and in many cases don't even send the necessary paperwork to the IRS requesting participation in the programs that were mentioned. Adding insult to injury, some of these companies don't provide refunds, and leave people even further in debt.

      Some taxpayers who filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that, after signing up with some of these companies and paying thousands of dollars in upfront fees, the companies took even more of their money by making unauthorized charges to their credit cards or withdrawals from their bank accounts.

      If you owe back taxes and don't know how you're going to pay the debt, the FTC, the nation's consumer protection agency, says don't panic, take a deep breath, and consider your options. If you are having trouble paying bills, it's often better to try to work out a payment plan with the creditor yourself than to pay someone else to negotiate a plan for you. The same is true when you owe money to the IRS or your state comptroller."

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  • 20 out 21 people found this review helpful

    Don't use this company!

    This company could not get my amount lowered, barely were able to file the taxes they were supposed to file for me (and I still think they are incorrect), and could not even get the installment payments scheduled with the IRS like they promised. Honestly, I don't know what I paid for!

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

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  • 18 out 20 people found this review helpful

    Over 100K

    • San Francisco, CA,
    • Feb 17, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Well, I am in panic mode still after reading the comments here about Optima Tax Relief. I'm still in an even worst dilemma then I was when I called Optima.

    Yes, they do not let you know what they are doing about your case, and it's been over four months since I heard anything from these parasites. They are professionals when it comes to people in a desperate mode, and they sell easily because you're at a vulnerable state. My tax situation is probably going to most likely land me in prison.

    I'm trying to do the right thing by not evading the IRS, but when your taxes are adding up every tax season, you will owe so much that it will take another generation to settle the debt. I'm currently on a lien and my wages are being garnished. What got me in this situation is the fact that my spouse runs a private business and she is taking most, if not, all on what she earns.

    I'm at a loss on where to go. I'm currently financially broke and have no more funds to hire an attorney or even file bankruptcy, which I'm aware won't do anything for tax debt. Well, prison here I come.

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

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    • Apr 19, 2017

      C.J.

      Has your accountant ever suggested filing your taxes using the "injured spouse" filing status? This may not help with past years, but it should help moving forward! I hope this helps.

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