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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186 Consumer Reviews for Optima Tax Relief

Average Consumer Rating: 4.2
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 135 4 star: 17 3 star: 1 2 star: 1 1 star:  32
Bottom Line: 82% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 186
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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
  • Optima Tax Relief

    • Ohio,
    • Feb 20, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I heard of Optima Tax from a TV commercial and they literally saved my life. Without Optima Tax I would have been ruined. I got on the program with Optima and they worked with IRS every step of the way. I was only in contact with them only and did not have to have the stress of dealing directly with IRS. If IRS notified me via mail, I would call my representative and they would immediately follow up with them. I owed IRS $39,000, paying $900 a month. So now my balance is $3,056 and my payments are $109 a month. So if you have a tax problem, I highly recommend Optima Tax, you won't regret it.

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

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  • Easy dealing

    • California,
    • Feb 18, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Just give them the info they need and they take care of the rest. Satisfactory resolve to an issue from 5 years ago. They are very patient and will explain everything in detail as needed. My case managers were very helpful and got back to me in a reasonable time.

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

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  • Optima Tax Relief review

    • Memphis, TN,
    • Feb 17, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima Tax Relief staff was very professional and friendly. Worked out a plan that I could live with the IRS. Explained everything upfront so there were no surprises. I would recommend Optima Tax to anyone.

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

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  • Quick and easy

    • South Carolina,
    • Feb 16, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Great service and fast accurate process with feedback in a timely manner. Very thorough resolution with the IRS. I was very satisfied. Will use them again when needed. Service Representative was assigned and monitoring was helpful in plotting future planning and tax preparation. Thoroughly completed several years of back tax.

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

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  • Help with filing taxes that I never filed.

    • Laurel, MD,
    • Feb 15, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima Tax Relief has been nothing but outstanding since starting my process with them. They are very courteous and efficient. I worked with Natalie who was precise and explained everything out to me step by step. I would recommend anybody to use them. Definitely a 5-star rating.

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

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  • How Optima helped me

    • New Richmond, OH,
    • Feb 15, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima Tax Relief is the best company to have when you owe the IRS. They know what they are doing. I owed taxes on the money I took out of my late husband's 401K. They kept me calm (which is hard to do). They took the time to explain everything, good, bad, and the ugly. They would call or text me with updates, and answer all my questions. Thanks again for all your help.

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

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  • Optima Tax Relief

    • Jacksonville, FL,
    • Feb 15, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    When I first got notification that I was in trouble with the IRS, I got scared. But then I heard an Optima commercial on the radio and decided to give them a call. Once I did they got to work on my case, they really worked hard and patiently with me due to my work schedule to get my matter resolved. I couldn't have done it without Optima Tax Relief. Just like the commercial says if going against the IRS don't do it alone call Optima Tax Relief.

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

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  • Debt resolution

    • Scottsdale, AZ,
    • Feb 15, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Optima Tax Relief is a very helpful, professional and highly courteous service for tax-related issues. My family member was in need of tax-related help that was beyond his ability to resolve. We contacted Optima Tax Relief and the group immediately started communicating with the IRS in an effort to set up a payment plan that later resulted in debt resolution. Thank you Optima Tax Relief!

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

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  • Relief

    • California,
    • Feb 13, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Am a single mother who got hurt at work and wasn't able to return. I had no choice to support my family with my retirement. I was told false information which left me in debt with the IRS. Thanks to Optima Tax Relief I was able to get everything resolved and have a piece of mind.

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

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  • Glad I called

    • Miami, FL,
    • Feb 12, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was worried the IRS was taking me to collections. Made the call to Optima and now we are working on the resolution. The people at Optima listened to my problem and are working for me to resolve this matter. Haven't got the final outcome yet but I really am glad I called. These people are professionals!

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

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  • A wonderful experience with all representatives at OTR!

    • San Felipe, NM,
    • Feb 12, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Every representative starting with Ms. Schroder were nothing but helpful, and each and every one of them gave me a sense of relief. Every person on the OTR team have been patient and made sure I understood everything about the process. I have nothing but the utmost gratitude for each and every one at the OTR office! I have put my trust in the OTR team, and they haven't shown me otherwise! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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

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