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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81 Consumer Reviews for Optima Tax Relief

Average Consumer Rating: 4.0
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 52 4 star: 10 3 star: 1 2 star: 0 1 star:  18
Bottom Line: 75% would recommend it to a friend
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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
  • Tax problems can be resolved

    • New Jersey,
    • Jun 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I know that dealing with tax problems is frightening and stressful, but I tried to handle them by myself. I decided to contact Optima because I was tired of worrying. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. My case was handled by an experienced team of professionals who took immediate action, got my case filed, and kept me updated every step of the way. But their "client care" was what meant so much to me. They reassured me, gave excellent advice and explained options, all with a personal touch. After that first call, a huge weight was lifted, and I felt confident again. Some issues should be left to the professionals and Optima are the professionals to call.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful
    Updated review

    Be patient, it takes time.

    • Jun 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    When working with Optima Tax Relief, don’t get frustrated. Be patient and it will be worth it in the end. They will handle everything, just let them do their job.

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

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    • Jun 11, 2018

      Satisfaction Team, Consumer Asssistance

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

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    • Previous review
    • Jun 3, 2018

    Possible scam

    I signed up with Optima Tax Relief six months ago. All they have told me when I ask what is the status is that my case is still in "processing," then I get a new garnishment last week and a bank levy today! Still no help from them! They just tell me my case is in "processing." I have requested to speak to a manager for two days, still no call! I sent several emails, still no answer!

    (read moreread less...)

  • Optima Tax trusting

    • Columbus, OH,
    • Jun 9, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima was true to their word, and it was a life-changing situation that they fixed. I had been working with the IRS for about a year trying to get on a payment plan to no avail. They continued to deny me stating my household income was too high. I knew that wasn't correct as my status was permanently disabled. My income was 1/3rd of what it used to be when I was working that created the tax debt. Feeling low, one-night watching TV, I came across an Optima commercial. I called them the next day, and within a month I had my payment plan that was 1/4th of what the IRS wanted. They were true to their word, and I am very satisfied with the results and would recommend them to anyone having tax problems.

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

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  • Best advice ever

    • Spring, TX,
    • Jun 5, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    You see the commercials, you hear the stories, you say this will never be me. I never knew I will be in the situation. I had a serious tax problems with the IRS. They were not going away. I contacted a Tax Firm and they recommended me to Optima Tax Relief. So I got on the call, and boy am I glad. After calling and talking to a representative, I was told that they will be able to take my case. Working with my representatives and providing the documents my case was moving faster than I expected. My case was settled with no out of pocket expenses. I am all glad for the advice. Call, you will be pleased with your decision.

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

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  • Couldn't have done it without the help of Optima Tax Relief

    • Las Vegas, NV,
    • Jun 4, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was in a really big jam and needless to say, I was in need of some assistance. I was facing quite a bit of trouble with the IRS for some past due taxes owed and couldn't afford to pay what they were telling me I needed to pay and when I had to do it by.

    If you owe money to the IRS, Optima is definitely a team of experts you want on your side. They were able to prevent them from wage garnishments and further actions beyond that point as well. I believe I'd probably be sitting in a room by myself and it wouldn't be one at home if it weren't for them.

    They are super friendly, efficient and without a doubt know what they are doing. They updated me every step of the way. If there was movement, I heard about it. I thought it was initially a little expensive for the service, but of course, I didn't know what else to do. I shopped around, and they were the lowest by far anyways. I took the plunge, and as I type this out, I'm happy to let you know it's not in an 8 x 8, LOL.

    These guys truly are great at what they do. One thing that I'd like to point out is that not one person made me feel bad or poorly about my situation and just simply assured me that I was not only in capable hands, but assured me that I was in the right hands. Thanks a million Optima Tax Relief. You guys are awesome.

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

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  • Optima Tax 5-star

    • Rochester, NY,
    • May 17, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima Tax helped me tremendously. A 5-star rating all day. They were able to settle my debt with the IRS and let me start off fresh. Optima Tax kept me informed throughout the process and made sure I was on track with them and the IRS. I would highly recommend them to anybody that has a case with the IRS.

    Thank you Optima Tax!

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

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    The greatest company to represent you with the IRS.

    • New Jersey,
    • May 17, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I can't begin to tell you how frightening it was for me owe the Internal Revenue Service $67,000. But with the help of Optima Tax Relief, they work a miracle. And in less than a year they had my tax debt reduced to less than $19,000. They were a blessing to me and I believe they'll be a blessing to anyone who seeks their help. I can't thank them enough.

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

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  • Optima was great!

    Optima helped me get the best resolution for me. I was getting letter after letter from the IRS with nasty threats and an audit that I was so scared to go to. So I decided to call Optima and it was the best decision I made. They helped me get back on track and get my debt of over $60,000 to less than $15,000. Thanks Optima!

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

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    • May 15, 2018

      Satisfaction Team, Consumer Asssistance

      Hi Ms. Cisneros! Thank you for sharing your experience with us. We love that we were able to help you and that it was the "best decision you made." That's amazing to hear, and we're happy you've reached a resolution that you're pleased with! We wish you well.

    • May 30, 2018

      Dorie S.

      I signed up with OTR 6 months ago and they have done NOTHING, but tell me they are still processing my case! I asked several times to speak to a manager, and I'm still waiting. I just got a garnishment and bank levy! They seem like a scam to me.

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Excellent service

    • Silver Spring, MD,
    • May 7, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I had tax issues dating back five years. I was worried out of my mind that IRS would come down hard on me, but Optima insured me they would take care of everything, and they did. They gave me the relief I needed.

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

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    • May 8, 2018

      Satisfaction Team, Consumer Asssistance

      Hi Mr. Snape, thank you for leaving us your experience. It's important to us to know that our clients are having a good experience with us. We're happy to hear that we've provided "relief" and that you've reached a resolution you're pleased with. We wish you well, and enjoyed working with you! Thanks again.

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Optima Tax helped me get rid of my debt completely!

    • Roseville, CA,
    • Apr 30, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I owed a lot of money to the IRS and felt like I had no way out. Like over $20,000 in debt! I was scared and didn't know who to turn to. I found Optima Tax Relief online and called them. I spoke with a woman who was extremely nice and told me about how they could help me reduce my debt or possibly make it disappear altogether.

    I was a bit nervous at first, even though I read good reviews online, I wasn't sure if they could help. Optima Tax exceeded my expectations. They cleared my debt completely! I was so happy with the service I received from them. I would definitely recommend them to all of my friends and family or anyone in need of help resolving their debt!

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

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    • May 8, 2018

      Satisfaction Team, Consumer Asssistance

      Hi Ms. Lip, thank you for sharing your experience with us. We certainly appreciate client feedback like yours! We're thrilled to hear that we have "exceeded your expectations." We are happy you've reached a resolution that you're excited about. We wish you the best! Thank you.

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  • 8 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Scam

    • Santa Clara, CA,
    • Apr 26, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    We contacted Optima Tax Relief in July 2017 to file for a financial hardship to eliminate or reduce repayment of Obama Care subsidies with the IRS as both my husband and I were unemployed during 2016. Optima Tax Relief said they could help us and they would find a program to eliminate or reduce repayment of Obama Care subsidies with the IRS. We paid them $495 initially, then $1995 (five monthly payments of $399).

    We had one week of unreported earnings from 2016 that needed to be dealt with first. After six months, Optima Tax Relief repeatedly said the amount needed to post to our account. In talking with our tax adviser several months earlier in May 2017, we were told they could have refiled our taxes for $150, and it would post to our account in a couple of days. As we were already talking with Optima Tax Relief, we decided to let them also handle the refilling of the unreported week of earnings for 2016.

    During the entire process of dealing with Optima Tax, not only were we kept out of the loop as far as any developments that occurred, but we were handed off from one person to the next without any word of progress or resolution with our account after many telephone calls and emails. We never knew the status of our account and who we would be dealing with next. There were also many threats of a property tax lien which we were not interested in and voiced to Optima Tax Relief several times, but we were told it was imminent. We were told multiple times that they were trying to find a program for us to eliminate or reduce the Obama Care subsidy repayment to the IRS.

    After eight months, I stated we were disappointed, and we did not think Optima Tax Relief was doing anything for us to rectify our situation and suddenly, they said they could not help us as we had equity in our house. In the initial consultation and after obtaining all of our financial information, they knew they could not help us, but they strung us along with false promises until they collected all the fees and then they told us they could not help us.

    This company is a fraud and is operating a scam, how many other people are being taken advantage of?

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

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    • Apr 27, 2018

      Satisfaction Team, Consumer Asssistance

      Hi Mr. Melampy, we’d like to thank you for sharing your feedback with us, and we want to emphasize that we plan to take care of your concerns immediately. Delivering excellence to all of our clients is central to our mission, and we would truly appreciate the opportunity to speak with you directly so that you can provide us with additional details, as well as review your case so as to determine what further assistance we are able to provide.

      We have a quality assurance specialist who has already been briefed on your case and is ready to assist you further and will be contacting you shortly. We also encourage you to call us at (800) 965-3192 if you prefer to speak with us at your convenience. It's always our goal to resolve every issue for our clients to the fullest possible extent, so thank you for providing that opportunity.

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