If your wages are being garnished or your property is being levied due to unresolved, delinquent tax debt, StopIRSDebt promises to help individuals and businesses find a resolution.
To accomplish this, StopIRSDebt tells us they employ a team of in-house attorneys, tax preparers (CPAs), and Enrolled Agents, who can assist with tax return planning, mediation, appeals representation, negotiation, and more.
In business for over 15 years, StopIRSDebt tells us they’ve helped thousands of taxpayers and businesses manage IRS collections, while resolving millions in tax debt. Additionally, because they have a high volume of clients, we’re told they can deliver affordable rates.
When it comes down to it though, is StopIRSDebt really here to help you “map out the best option to get you tax relief”? Are they affordable? Are there other businesses that offer the same services?
Let’s start answering all your questions by taking a look at how tax problems manifest in the first place.
How Do Tax Problems Occur?
In contrast to property tax and sales tax, income tax is applied to all financial income, whether generated by individuals (e.g. wages, salaries, commissions, and investments) or businesses.
Each individual and business is required to file a tax return each year, which helps determine if sufficient taxes have been paid. And the duty of monitoring and collecting these taxes falls under the jurisdiction of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Now, if you or your business fail to file taxes, the IRS can forcibly make you repay what’s owed—plus any fees, penalties, and interest—by garnishing your wages, placing a lien on any property you own, and even prosecuting you to the fullest extent of the law.
The good news is that, even if you or your business haven’t filed taxes in years, the IRS is often more lenient if you come forward and attempt to negotiate a settlement.
This can be handled on your own, or you can hire a firm like StopIRSDebt to do all the heavy lifting for you. Let’s learn more about how the process works.
How Does StopIRSDebt Work?
According to the StopIRSDebt website, the process works over four steps:
- Consultation – Here, the company will discuss your options, assemble an initial plan, remit paperwork (including forms 8821 and 2848), and assign your tax relief representatives.
- Investigation – After submitting your power of attorney, StopIRSDebt will contact the IRS to stop any collection proceedings, order a master tax file, and begin assembling your case.
- Mediation – During this step, the company will negotiate with the IRS to determine your overall liability, prepare a final resolution once an agreement is reached, and submit the resolution for approval.
- Resolution – Finally, you tax matter will be resolved!
What, exactly, does a resolution look like? We’ll talk more about this soon, but every taxpayer’s resolution will look different, although common outcomes include a reprieve against collections, having penalties waived, reducing your tax liability, and more.
Throughout the process, we’re told that StopIRSDebt’s team of attorneys, tax preparers (CPAs), and Enrolled Agents will use a “world-class customer tracking and work-flow system” to make sure you always know what’s going on.
Important note: Although StopIRSDebt employs tax relief attorneys, they specially note that this is a “general term used to describe an attorney with experience in tax relief matters, such as negotiating an IRS installment agreement or preparing settlements, and does not imply that the attorney has a specialized tax law degree.”
Similarly, they point out that StopIRSDebt is only a tax resolution firm and not a law firm.
Based on these services, as well as the relief they could provide, how much can you expect to pay with StopIRSDebt?
How Much Does StopIRSDebt Cost?
Like most tax relief services, StopIRSDebt doesn’t talk about any specific fees on their website, since prices can vary considerably based on your specific circumstances. For example:
“… simple tax returns can cost a few hundred dollars each, simple tax resolution cases can be between fifteen hundred and twenty five hundred each, and more complex cases can cost in the thousands.”
With this in mind, based on what we read in online customer reviews (more next), it seems most paid somewhere between about $1,500 and $7,000.
StopIRSDebt tells us they offer a free evaluation of your options, as well as interest free financing in certain instances.
For more information, you can give StopIRSDebt a call at 888-978-6747, or fill out their online application.
Given these prices, are StopIRSDebt’s customers finding a lot of value in their services?
Are There Any Customer Reviews for StopIRSDebt?
Considering the fact that Los Angeles-based StopIRSDebt has been in business for 15+ years and claims to have helped thousands of clients, there wasn’t a whole lot of online customer feedback.
On the Better Business Bureau, StopIRSDebt had an A+ rating and 9 closed complaints (as of 9/29/16). Most of these referenced a lack of results, despite the fact that some claimed to have been contracted with the company for as long as three years.
In each of these instances, the company seemed to respond promptly and own up to their mistakes when applicable, while actively searching for a solution.
On TrustLink, StopIRSDebt had an average 5-star rating based on 81 customer reviews. There, common compliments referenced positive outcomes, a smooth process, and great customer service. There wasn’t a single complaint listed on the site.
Finally, StopIRSDebt had 3 reviews on Yelp and a 1-star average rating. However, there was some concern that all three reviews were generated by the same individual (they also closely mimic a complaint filed with the BBB).
Are other tax relief firms receiving similar feedback?
Are There Other Tax Relief Firms Like StopIRSDebt?
If you type the phrase “tax relief” into any search engine, you’ll quickly learn that there are perhaps thousands of different companies like StopIRSDebt.
Here on HighYa, these services seem to come with lower-than-average ratings from customers, based on complaints that you can do all of the same work for free, and a lack of results for the money.
Does this necessarily mean you’ll experience the same with StopIRSDebt? Let’s answer this question as we come to a conclusion in the next section.
Will StopIRSDebt’s Services Deliver a Solid Value?
Want to know the truth? You might be able accomplish many of the same results as a tax relief firm, simply by contacting the IRS directly and speaking with an agent.
You can even download the same forms provided by StopIRSDebt directly from the IRS’ website (we provided links above), and all things being equal, they’re likely to provide you with the same offer as you’d get with a tax relief firm.
Obviously, this path might be ideal in simpler tax-related cases, where you owe less than $10,000 in back taxes, haven’t skipped (or been warned by the IRS) multiple years in a row, aren’t being prosecuted for your tax negligence, and so forth. Why?
Ultimately, there are only a handful of options available if you owe back taxes, including installment payments, an Offer In Compromise (where your debt is settled for less than what’s owed), waiving accrued penalties, waiving collections due to economic hardship, and letting you off the hook because of the actions of your spouse.
In a lot of instances, more than one of these options could be implemented.
What’s the point? If you have a complicated case or owe a lot of money, the fact that tax relief firms like StopIRSDebt promise to handle your case from start to finish can take a lot of stress of your shoulders. But if your case is fairly straightforward, you might be able to accomplish much of the same yourself.
In either instance, be sure to keep your expectations realistic. After all, it’s fairly rare for the IRS to completely absolve an individual of their back taxes, so if this is what you’re expecting from the get-go, you might end up disappointed.
Before you go: Tell us about your experience with StopIRSDebt by writing a review below!
Complete waste of time and money
This is a complete scam. I was on a payment plan prior to contacting StopIRSDebt.com. After five months, they were "successfully" able to negotiate a payment plan in the exact amount I had prior set up. So now, I am five months behind on payments to the IRS where I would have been on my own. And I'm out the amount of money I sent to these scam artists. They have terrible communication after the first initial contacts to get you signed up. It took three emails and four phone messages to finally hear back from someone. I DO NOT recommend this company. It is a waste of time and money only to set you back extra time and payments towards your actual debt.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend