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Best Tax Relief Companies for 2016

Having issues with the IRS? We review the best tax relief companies

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Best Tax Debt Relief Companies

Tax relief is a service offered to individuals who owe the IRS back 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, I have reviewed the best tax relief companies.

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.

Best Tax Relief Companies: 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.

Best Tax Debt Relief Companies - Pricing and Fees

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.

Best Tax Relief Companies - 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.

The Best Tax 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 Review

  • Pros
  • Excellent ethics policy
  • Dedicated client support
  • Flat rate pricing, no retainer
  • Good refund policy
  • Three days to cancel service
  • Cons
  • 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 Review

  • Pros
  • Excellent ethics policy
  • Dedicated client support
  • 15 days to cancel services
  • Good refund policy
  • Cons
  • 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.

CuraDebt Review

  • Pros
  • Full range of financial solutions
  • Flexible payment scheduling
  • Live chat
  • Informative blog section
  • Cons
  • 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 Review

  • Pros
  • Full service tax resolution company
  • Longstanding history
  • Contact via chat, phone or email
  • Available across the US
  • Reputable affiliations
  • Cons
  • 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.

Tax Tiger Review

  • Pros
  • Free consultation
  • Personalized plans and attention
  • Range of affiliations
  • Specialize in tax debt relief
  • BBB accredited business
  • Cons
  • 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 Finding the Best Tax Relief Companies

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 canceled debt. Both the IRS and state taxation authorities consider canceled 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.

Best Tax Relief Companies Recap

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.

Best Tax Relief Companies FAQs

How does the tax debt relief process work?

While the process from provider to provider will vary, in general the tax debt relief process consists of a few fundamental steps. First, the company will begin representation by having you fill out several official IRS forms including Form 8821 and 2848. Form 8821 permits the tax debt representative to ascertain your master tax file in order to see an official document of how much you owe and for what years. Form 2848 allows the company to communicate with the IRs on your behalf and request a hold against any further collection action.

What's more, it allows the representative to conduct negotiations to lower the debt. Throughout the process, the tax resolution company should communicate any updates they receive from the IRS pertaining to your case. The remaining steps in the process will vary depending on the progress they make but if all goes well they should be able to come to a resolution or at the least, lower your overall tax burden.

Who qualifies for tax debt relief?

Tax debt relief is intended for individuals (or businesses) who have a tax debt and are in the process of receiving collection notices for the IRs or another collection agency. Some tax debt relief companies require that you have a minimum tax burden before signing you up with their service. Additionally, they may cover a flat fee depending on the amount you owe. It's important to really explore your options when it comes to tax debt or un-filed tax returns. The longer you put off resolution, the deeper the issue gets.

What's more, a tax debt relief company can sometimes put an end to the collection calls from agencies and other organizations on your behalf. A tax debt relief company is comprised of a team of tax attorneys, agents and other certified public accountants who specialize in a range of tax dilemmas. Even if you don't suffer from excessive tax debt they may have services to accommodate your financial situation.

What is an offer in compromise?

You'll see the term offer in compromise being touted by many tax debt relief services. Essentially this is an agreement made between the taxpayer who owes the debt and the IRS. The agreement is to settle the debt for less than the actual amount and is usually paid in a lump sum or through installment payments. Typically, the IRS will agree to an offer in compromise when they can relatively determine that the original amount will not be collectable in full. The other time you may get an offer in compromise is if you have tax debt doubt (doubt as to liability).

If you possess legitimate doubt that you owe the stated amount, you may opt for an offer in compromise. The last instance this may be selected is if the IRS see's tangible evidence that the payment would cause undue hardship to the taxpayer or their family. There may be other instances when an offer in compromise might be appropriate but it's best to consult your tax debt relief company first.

When can I use Tax Relief?

You can use a tax relief service when you have outstanding debt and owe money. Services that help you with debt relief assess your specific situation and work with you to cultivate a resolution.

What should I consider when looking for a tax debt relief service?

Before settling on a service, be sure to adequately research which tax debt relief is right for you- some offer different services than the competitor. Some factors to consider when choosing a service are whether or not they assist in areas such as federal, state and/or municipal tax services, if their CPA's are available and properly certified, etc.

What fees are involved?

There is a fee structure in which every tax relief service operates by. Some services offer a flat rate while others require a retainer. Look for transparency when choosing a tax debt relief company to ensure that you will be involved in every aspect of the service. If the company is beating around the bush when you ask them a question, they may not be upfront about their fees and costs.

What kind of service will I receive through a tax relief company?

You must first figure out what you want from a tax debt relief service. Are you looking for taxpayer options, installment plans, modifying back returns? You must verify that they are giving you the exact service that you expect. A tax service professional will work with you to create a detailed breakdown of your financial position. The specialist will determine the best financial plan for you – one that is realistic.

What companies offer tax debt relief?

There are many companies out there who want your business. Your job is to carefully research and decipher which one has your best interests at heart. Some of the most popular companies are Tax Defense Network, Optima Tax Debt Relief, The CuraDebt, Tax Defense Partners, and Tax Tiger.

What is some advice for tax debt relief?

Become familiar with the various facets of relief that work for you. Through the service, you will be able to look at your tax debt through a new lens and actually understand it through thorough analysis. When everything is laid out on the table, it will be easier for you to understand where you are positioned. It's important to always file your taxes on time. If you don't, then you risk a missed tax payment in the future. The IRS can hold your assets and possessions against you if you do not have adequate funds to pay taxes – make sure to always file your taxes.

Who qualifies for tax debt relief?

You are eligible for tax debt relief is you have tax debt and are in the course of getting collection notices for the IRS or other collection organizations. It's essential that you rid your tax debt as soon as you're aware that you have it to avoid additional costs down the road.

How can I contact the company when I need assistance?

A transparent debt relief company will provide you with amazing customer service and will be available through phone, customer support as well as online chat.

How do I know if the company I choose is right for me?

It's important to read reviews on the company to verify that it is a legitimate company. Positive feedback from former customers is a great way to decide whether the company you are going to go with, is reputable and has the best interest of the client.

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Advertiser Disclosure

In order for MoneySavingPro to remain a consumer free service, many of the companies covered in our industry reviews compensate MoneySavingPro for new sign ups.

However, the results of our comparison tools, the rankings of the providers and the information presented is not affected by compensation. Indeed, many of these companies approach us for an advertising partnership after we have already written a published their reviews.

While we try to research and review as many providers as possible in the 100+ industries we cover, we have not reviewed every company available.

Our rating system is independent of compensation and reflects our true understanding of the industry and the company based on a variety of factors. The companies that receive the highest rating will always be the providers that we believe offer the best value to the consumer.

Advertiser Disclosure

In order for MoneySavingPro to remain a consumer free service, many of the companies covered in our industry reviews compensate MoneySavingPro for new sign ups.

However, the results of our comparison tools, the rankings of the providers and the information presented is not affected by compensation. Indeed, many of these companies approach us for an advertising partnership after we have already written a published their reviews.

While we try to research and review as many providers as possible in the 100+ industries we cover, we have not reviewed every company available.

Our rating system is independent of compensation and reflects our true understanding of the industry and the company based on a variety of factors. The companies that receive the highest rating will always be the providers that we believe offer the best value to the consumer.