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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116 Consumer Reviews for Optima Tax Relief

Average Consumer Rating: 4.0
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 77 4 star: 11 3 star: 1 2 star: 1 1 star:  26
Bottom Line: 76% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 116
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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
  • Knowledgeable and helpful

    • Iowa,
    • Oct 21, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    A few years back I found myself in a tax issue that I was not expecting and remembered I had heard a commercial on the radio for Optima, so I called the number and explained what I had going on and would they be able to help me. After a week or so, they called and said they could help me. We went through months of information gathering and phone calls. After they had all of my information they were able to stop liens and other IRS issues I was having and this while stressful, they were able to help me relax and know they were working in my best interest. Optima was able to work with me and the IRS to find a resolution, and while not happy to pay more in taxes, I did appreciate all the work Optima's team did for me.

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

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  • Thanks Optima!

    • Helena, MT,
    • Oct 19, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    When I received a garnishment from the IRS, I thought I was going to lose everything. But the professionals from Optima quickly filed a court order to stop the garnishment and quickly worked out a payment plan I could handle. The process was arduous at times, but Optima was there every step of the way. Optima came highly recommended and now I know why! Thanks Optima.

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

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Total disappointment

    • Sacramento, CA,
    • Oct 11, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    When I contacted Optima Tax Relief over a year ago, I was informed that they would provide relief from IRS coming after any possible assets, negotiate an affordable payment plan, or reduce the amount of taxes I owed. None of these agreements came to fruition. Before Optima, I was ripped off by another former tax relief company, Roni Deutch. At least Roni showed her true colors after she stole my money. Optima dragged it on for over a year, did not provide very much consultation on how to file further taxes, and did not provide any relief. In fact, they have made my financial life twice as stressful.

    I had an installment plan when I called Optima, and there was no pressure from the IRS as long as I was making payments. Optima uses scare tactics to get clients. Part of what they allege is true about the IRS coming after your assets, but it was never true in my case. All they did was add my income and subtract my liabilities. I could do that for myself. They made an agreement with IRS based on my gross income, not my net payment. I regret contacting them.

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

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    • Oct 12, 2018

      Satisfaction Team, Consumer Asssistance

      Thank you for reaching out and we want to let you know that we take everyone’s experience with our company very seriously, and we work hard to provide the best possible resolution for all of our clients. Your concerns are especially important to us, and we aim to make any experience with us a total success. We would like to state that we have full confidence in our staff to deliver excellent service and results. Our team truly goes out of their way for every client who hires us. We are extremely proud of our staff and the amazing work that they do in helping thousands of people solve their IRS problems every month. We have resolved over a half billion dollars in tax debts for our clients. We have received the Torch Award for Ethics from the Better Business Bureau as well as many other awards recognizing our adherence to the highest ethical standards, consumer-first business practices, and community service.

      We have a small army of qualified tax attorneys and enrolled agents possessing the certifications required to negotiate directly with the IRS on our clients’ behalf and resolve their tax issues, and we are also officially approved by the IRS to provide continuing education courses. Our success is made possible thanks to our dedicated staff hundreds of the hardest-working tax professionals you can find who pour their hearts and minds into helping every one of our clients, every day. One of our dedicated Quality Assurance Specialists has already been made aware of your concerns and is ready and waiting to speak with you with additional steps we can take to further assist you with your case. Please feel free to give us a call at (800) 965-3192 at your earliest convenience. We are ready to help resolve any and all of your concerns, and we thank you for providing us with that opportunity by reaching out. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

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  • Great team to work with.

    • Virginia,
    • Oct 6, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    The Optima team was very helpful in resolving a multi-year back filing issue. They were very professional and kept the process moving along that ended with a resolution that was a bit higher than I wished, but they were able to lower our outstanding balance by about 48%.

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

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Optima Tax liars

    • Alabama,
    • Oct 6, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was informed by Optima Tax that we owed $25000 for 2015 tax year but we had never received a bill from the IRS for this, and I called the IRS and we did not owe it! The IRS said the only thing Optima Tax Relief had done was request a transcript but not talked with them or tried to work out a resolution. Optima Tax was trying to get us to pay a payment each month on those taxes we did not owe. I demanded a refund from Optima Tax and Brenda was a psycho and would talk over me again and again, and when I would hang up, she would call me back over and over again. This was the most unprofessional, deceptive company I have ever encountered. Don't waste your money!

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

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    • Oct 8, 2018

      Satisfaction Team, Consumer Asssistance

      Hi Ms. Qualls, first, thank you for sharing your feedback with us. We understand your concerns and we would like the opportunity to continue working with you, and we aim to do so as soon as possible when we have a dedicated quality assurance specialist reach out to you today. 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 additional assistance we are able to provide. Our team will be reaching out to you with additional steps we can take to further assist you with your case, but you may also call us at (800) 965-3192 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. We look forward to speaking with you, and hope to resolve any concerns you may have.

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  • Optima was very professional. Job well done!

    • Murrieta, CA,
    • Oct 4, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima staff believed this process would benefit me and they could not have been more correct. I was treated with respect and patience. My concerns were answered and handled promptly. There were many deadline and demands from the IRS, and they keep me informed and stressed the importance of meeting them. The process took a long time and many of the same questions asked multiple times. With many requests for updates on the current financial situation, they finally came time to make an offer. The offer they made seemed very low, but to my pleasant surprise, it was excepted. There is no way I could have gotten this result on my own. Job well done. I would recommend them for anyone in my similar situation.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Optima a scam!

    • California,
    • Oct 2, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    They misled my wife and I. They made promises (which they will claim they hadn't) that were far from fulfilled! They collected over $5,000 of our hard earned money. For over 1.5 years they sat on the case and in the end, said there is nothing they could do. They are unethical and dishonest. My wife was crushed, I suggested Optima and talked her into it. The IRS has a big issue with them...so do many people. Please do not, I repeat, do not use them if you don't want to burn your money. Seek out a reputable tax attorney, but don't use them! We have emails saved, all of them of their promises. Don't go down that road, please.

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

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    • Oct 3, 2018

      Satisfaction Team, Consumer Asssistance

      Hi Mr. Soares, first, thank you for sharing your feedback with us. We understand your concerns and we would like the opportunity to continue working with you, and we aim to do so as soon as possible when we have a dedicated Quality Assurance Specialist reach out to you today. 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 additional assistance we are able to provide. Our team will be reaching out to you with additional steps we can take to further assist you with your case, but you may also call us at (800) 965-3192 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. We look forward to speaking with you and hope to resolve any concerns you may have.

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    No refund

    • California,
    • Oct 2, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was $15,000 in debt to the IRS. I asked Optima if they can help me and the first thing they asked for was a retainer fee of $495. Then they asked me for another $2,000 for further investigation. I know a scam when I see one. I asked if I can get my money back because they have a 15-day money back guarantee and they told me they did not honor that.

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

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    • Oct 3, 2018

      Satisfaction Team, Consumer Asssistance

      Hi Mr. Lopez, first, thank you for sharing your feedback with us. We understand your concerns and we would like the opportunity to continue working with you, and we aim to do so as soon as possible when we have a dedicated Quality Assurance Specialist reach out to you today. 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 additional assistance we are able to provide. Our team will be reaching out to you with additional steps we can take to further assist you with your case, but you may also call us at (800) 965-3192 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. We look forward to speaking with you and hope to resolve any concerns you may have.

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  • Optima Tax Relief service

    • Kansas City, MO,
    • Sep 28, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima really took care of me. I was really pleased with the outcome. Excellent service. They were just a phone call away for every question that I had. I would definitely refer this service to anyone, you will be pleased. Thanks again for all the help that I received. For anyone looking to get out of tax debt, this company is the one to call. They have excellent customer service, no pressure, and they walk you through every step. Like I said, I am really pleased with the outcome.

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

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    It's a scam

    • Woburn, MA,
    • Sep 27, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    When you call them they will promise you the moon and the stars and ensure you that they are the best. After you sign the agreement, it all changes. They will start not answering the phone, not delivering their promise and disregarding all that you discuss with them.

    I haven't filed taxes for a few years and called them. BIG MISTAKE. I was told that I need to send in receipts and they do the returns...until I signed the agreement of $3k, then they said that I have to calculate it all. An accountant would have done three years of bookkeeping and tax return for way less than that and I would've saved lots of time.

    After I sent in the detailed expense sheet, I had to look over the returns to find that they did not depreciate my truck for any of the years. What kind of tax professionals are they if they don't know such a basic thing? A long time after they asked me for more paperwork to establish my financials and "negotiate" with the IRS. Then a long waiting time again...nothing from them until I called to ask what the heck is going on. Then came a resolution that needed another 30 days of review, then a few emails to establish a payment date that got disregarded again.

    They set up things, however, they wanted not even close to what we talked about, and then the surprise...after all this, they did not negotiate a single penny out of what I owed. My only question is, WHY did I pay these people $13k? I could've just filed my taxes and called the IRS myself. The way I sent them the expense summary an accountant would've filed taxes for $375 a year.

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

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    • Oct 3, 2018

      Satisfaction Team, Consumer Asssistance

      Thank you for reaching out and we want to let you know that we take everyone’s experience with our company very seriously, and we work hard to provide the best possible resolution for all of our clients. Your concerns are especially important to us, and we aim to make any experience with us a total success. We would like to state that we have full confidence in our staff to deliver excellent service and results. Our team truly goes out of their way for every client who hires us. We are extremely proud of our staff and the amazing work that they do in helping thousands of people solve their IRS problems every month. We have resolved over a half billion dollars in tax debts for our clients. We have received the Torch Award for Ethics from the Better Business Bureau as well as many other awards recognizing our adherence to the highest ethical standards, consumer-first business practices, and community service. We have a small army of qualified tax attorneys and enrolled agents possessing the certifications required to negotiate directly with the IRS on our clients’ behalf and resolve their tax issues, and we are also officially approved by the IRS to provide continuing education courses.

      Our success is made possible thanks to our dedicated staff, hundreds of the hardest-working tax professionals you can find, who pour their hearts and minds into helping every one of our clients, every day. One of our dedicated Quality Assurance Specialists has already been made aware of your concerns and is ready and waiting to speak with you with additional steps we can take to further assist you with your case. Please feel free to give us a call at (800) 965-3192 at your earliest convenience. We are ready to help resolve any and all of your concerns, and we thank you for providing us with that opportunity by reaching out. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

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  • 0 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Owner

    • Wichita Falls, TX,
    • Sep 21, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    It was a pleasure to work with. The case took over a year and they never asked for more funds. They kept me informed through the whole process. They were the second tax relief service I used. The first kept wanting more money so I dropped them. Thanks Optima.

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

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