Best Tax Debt Relief Companies
Tax relief is a service offered to individuals who owe the IRSback-taxes and need assistance settling their debts. With so many regulations surround taxes, it can be difficult for a layman to have a clear understanding of which approach to take. Tax debt is a big problem; Americans owe $114.2 billion in unpaid taxes. For that reason, among others, a relief service can be tremendously beneficial.
Not only do they put you in touch with tax specialists who can evaluate your situation but will work side-by-side with you to come up with an appropriate solution. In many instances, the service will help you come to a payment agreement and even negotiate the removal of penalties and interest.
Tax Debt Relief Services: What to Consider
A tax debt relief service consists of certified public accountants, tax attorneys, and other professionals in the field who have a thorough understanding of tax-related dilemmas. Before enrolling with one company it's important to study their services in-depth. In addition to their features, reflect on the following considerations:
Tax Areas of Specialty
What areas of tax relief does a given company specialize in? Do they offer help with federal tax debt only, or do they also work on state and municipal cases? Are there tax attorneys and CPAs on staff, and do they have special training or certification in tax matters? How many years of experience do attorneys, CPAs and other staffers have in tax relief work, and how extensive is their knowledge of the tax code? Ask about their track record in helping clients come into compliance with the IRS and other tax authorities. Check specifically if the service is experienced in the area where you need help the most, including unpaid taxes, wage garnishment, tax penalties, audits, liens, levies and asset seizures.
Pricing and Fees for Service
Prior to hiring a tax relief service, get the details about their fee structure. Do they charge a flat fee, a retainer fee, or a fee per service? Can you get a written estimate of their fees prior to hiring them? Is there a minimum back-tax debt requirement to engage their services? Ask about free consultation prior to hiring them, and if there is a refund policy. If so, what are the terms of the refund policy? Reputable tax relief services pride themselves on transparency, so expect direct answers to your questions about their fees.
Negotiation and Service Options
Familiarize yourself with taxpayer options in handling back tax debt, such as installment plans, penalty and interest abatement, offers in compromise, and amending back returns, to name a few. Can the tax debt relief service negotiate or file for these and other actions? Do they know the tax code in sufficient depth to pursue the best possible outcome on your behalf?
Expect the tax debt relief specialist to work with you creating an in-depth analysis of your financial situation. This determines how much you can afford to pay, and how to present your case to the IRS.
Some tax debt relief services heavily promote the OIC, or Offer in Compromise, as a solution to back tax liability problems. The OIC program balances the back tax debt owed the IRS against the taxpayer's income and assets. Taxpayer expenses and ability to pay are weighed in. Those with high tax debt and low ability to pay may be granted an OIC, meaning they pay a reduced amount of back taxes. The problem is that very few taxpayers are allowed to use the OIC, making it a questionable marketing tactic for tax relief services.
A more likely solution for most taxpayers is to negotiate an installment plan with the IRS. A good tax debt relief specialist searches for ways to reduce your tax bill such as amending back tax returns, and proceed to negotiate an installment plan with the IRS favorable to your financial situation. Some taxpayers can simply set up their own installment plans. They are satisfied that they've mastered the details of the amount of their tax debt, and have a clear picture of how much they can afford to pay each month.
Organizations and Affiliations
Check to see if a given tax debt relief service has professional credentials and affiliations such as membership inAmerican Society of Tax Problem Solvers and National Association of Tax Resolution Companies. Generally, such associations will revoke membership to firms engaged in unethical or illegal behavior. You want to know that a given firm holds itself to some level of ethical behavior.
Customer Support and Help Options
Ideally, your tax debt relief service is available via phone, chat and online for customer support. It's important to have ready access to knowledgeable and friendly tax debt experts. Even a company that looks good on paper, or online, takes care of its clients. Check the track record of the service you are considering, what is the tone of customer reviews and feedback?
These five points are a good foundation for evaluating a provider's offerings. Again, it's critical to also consult consumer and expert reviews. In addition, tax debt relief may not be the most appropriate course of action for every individual. You have the option is to submit an Installment Agreement Request directly to the IRS.
Meet the Best Tax Debt Help Companies
There are literally billions of dollars out there in unpaid taxes, and the IRS is anxious to collect on back tax debts. Even federal employees themselves owe more than 3 billion in back taxes, according to USA Today. The IRS goes so far as to publish top tips at their web site for taxpayers who owe money, encouraging them to get their tax debts paid.
With the IRS having broad legal powers to collect these debts, it's important to get into compliance with them before you are subject to collection techniques such as liens or seizure of funds from your bank accounts. While some taxpayers can simply call the IRS and work out a payment plan, others will benefit from retaining the services of a tax debt relief service to negotiate the best possible solution to their tax debt situation. Here's a brief overview of some top providers of tax debt relief:
Tax Defense Network
- Excellent ethics policy
- Dedicated client support
- Flat rate pricing, no retainer
- Good refund policy
- Three days to cancel service
- Refund period not as long as other companies
Tax Defense Network stands out in the field of tax debt relief as an ethical provider with transparent business practices. In assessing their client's situations, they make a point of communicating realistic expectations as to possible outcomes of negotiations with the IRS. That being said, Tax Defense Network works hard in dead earnest to bring the best possible result to you in pursuit of paying your back tax debt, and getting into compliance with the IRS. Note that the refund period they offer is shorter than some of their competitors.
Optima Tax Relief
- Excellent ethics policy
- Dedicated client support
- 15 days to cancel services
- Good refund policy
- No Live Chat
Optima Tax Debt Relief works from the premise that many taxpayers are unable to pay their tax debts based on their current financial picture, lacking the income and/or assets necessary to pay. They employ a two-fold strategy on client's behalf. First they work to solve immediate problems, such as the imminent threat of a tax lien, and secondly they work with clients on solving the overall tax debt problem, working and negotiating with the IRS on their behalf to bring resolution. This generally great firm has no live chat option.
- Full range of financial solutions
- Flexible payment scheduling
- Live chat
- Informative blog section
- Not available in 12 states
The CuraDebt tax relief team started helping local taxpayers and small businesses in Irvine, California in the late nineties, and founded CuraDebt in 2000 to help people nationwide. Their team of tax experts provides help to individuals and small businesses with their IRS tax debt. Taxpayers are encouraged to analyze their spending patterns to get their finances under control, in the interest of meeting their obligations with the IRS. They offer a free consultation, taking a look at your tax debt situation with an eye towards fixing immediate problems, along with looking down the road to overall solutions and meeting overall financial goals.
Tax Defense Partners
- Full service tax resolution company
- Longstanding history
- Contact via chat, phone or email
- Available across the US
- Reputable affiliations
- Staff members not listed
Tax Defense Partners is a full service tax relief company that serves individuals, small business and corporate clients. They are committed to keeping clients informed as to what's going on throughout the process of bringing their back tax problems to the best possible solution. Customer reviews back up the firm's claims of dedication to transparency and customer service. Tax Defense Partners is affiliated with the National Association of Tax Resolution Companies. Although Tax Defense Partners is a reputable firm, they do not list staff members at their website.
- Free consultation
- Personalized plans and attention
- Range of affiliations
- Specialize in tax debt relief
- BBB accredited business
- Do not handle bankruptcy cases
- No staff listed
- No online chat
Tax Tiger operates as a faith-based business, looking to aid struggling families and individuals in solving their tax debt problems with the IRS. Their relief options include preparing back tax returns, lowering penalty and interest payments, and resolving liens and levies. They hold themselves to a high ethical standard and are members of both the American Society of Tax Problem Solvers and National Association of Tax Resolution Companies. They offer a free consultation on tax debt relief. Tax Tiger functions as a franchise company, making it a bit difficult to track their consistency from office to office.
Advice for Tax Debt Relief
As you consider your options for Tax Debt Relief Services, check our advice guides to become familiar with the concepts and options at work in the world of tax debt relief. You'll learn to look at your tax debt situation from a pragmatic point of view, making an analysis of your overall finances in order to best solve the problem of paying off or otherwise dismissing those back taxes.
- Are there years you did not file a tax return? It's likely you own back taxes for those years. Your best course of action is to file all your returns and work out a payment plan. Bottom line, you want to avoid consequences including penalties, interest, aggressive collection efforts such as liens against your assets, and even legal problems. Start with a peek at our how to file back taxes primer.
- Paying your taxes is part of life. But there's no reason to pay more than you owe. It's to your best advantage to educate yourself on tax deductions available to a person in your financial position. The dirty little secret every accountant knows is that taxes are fun. That's correct. The more you know about the tax code, the more money you put in your pocket. A good place to start is to check out these top overlooked tax deductions.
- The IRS can take possession of your property by filing a tax levy if you do not respond to their efforts to collect on your tax debt. Items seized with a levy include homes and autos, and other valuable physical property. If you are subject to a tax levy, or under notice of an impending levy, you certainly should read our piece on removing tax penalties, including specific information on tax levies.
- Have you received a letter from the IRS asking for more information about your tax return? Bring yourself up to speed on what you need to know about tax audits. Jump right over the fear factor and determine exactly what the IRS wants from you. Brush up on your taxpayer rights. The action required could be as simple as producing additional documents to back up the information on your return.
- Are you wondering about debt forgiveness and taxes? One consequence of a lender discharging debt is that the IRS taxes you on the cancelled debt. Both the IRS and state taxation authorities consider cancelled debt as taxable income, as you decrease your liabilities and improve your net worth. Lenders will report the discharged debt to the IRS on a form 1099-C, and you also receive a copy.
- Savvy taxpayers are aware of each deduction that they are legally entitled too, while tax cheats are guilty of the crime known as tax evasion. Specialists like tax attorneys and accountants make an industry out of tax avoidance, the legal minimization of your tax bill. Its fair game to minimize our taxes, but it's critically important to know the distinction between tax avoidance vs. tax evasion.
These five providers rank at the top of the tax relief service industry. Consider each of their service offerings, look into their qualifications and experience and check out client reviews. Carefully weigh which is best for your situation, and take advantage of the free consultation to ask for an outline of strategies to resolve your tax debt and come into compliance with the IRS and local tax authorities.