Our reviewers evaluate products and services based on unbiased research. Top Consumer Reviews may earn money when you click on a link. Learn more about our process.

Questions To Ask Tax Relief Agencies

Wednesday, June 29th

Questions to Ask Tax Relief Agencies

The only thing worse than owing back taxes is having a so-called tax-relief agency rob you blind without providing anything resembling actual tax relief.

Most consumers feel intimidated when it comes to dealing with the Internal Revenue Service, so they seek out professional help from a tax-relief agency. The problem with this strategy is that not all tax-relief agencies are created equal. Some are staffed by qualified professionals who can truly help a taxpayer, while others simply exist to scam consumers out of money.

So how do consumers tell the difference between the two? The first important step is to make sure to ask the right questions to any tax relief agency one is considering using.

One question that can be asked is whether anyone at the agency is certified through the American Society of Tax Problem Solvers, or ASTPS. A non-profit agency, ASTPS consists of professionals who represent taxpayers before the IRS. It only gives certification to agents who are able to pass a written exam, provide evidence they have experience in the tax industry and be a licensed certified public accountant or tax attorney.

Another question to ask is if the agency is able to provide references from prior clients who used and were satisfied with the service they received there. In addition to references, search for independent reviews of the tax relief agency. Professional reviews can guide a person to tax relief companies that are the most beneficial.

It's also is worthwhile to check the Better Business Bureau's website to see if the company has had any complaints lodged against it, and if so, of what nature. Using a company which is a member of the Better Business Bureau can be to a consumer's benefit should there be issues with the service received by that company. The BBB will intervene to work out a solution.

Ask about the company's fee structure and be sure to get it in writing. A common complaint about some tax-relief agencies is they say one thing when it comes to their fees, and then employ other tactics once the customer has been reeled in. The Federal Trade Commission advises that agencies which require up-front payment should be avoided.

The Best Tax Relief Companies Compare Tax Relief Companies Compare Tax Relief Company Reviews What are the best Tax Relief Companies Best Tax Relief Company Reviews

Tax Relief Company FAQ

Tax relief is a means of reducing what you owe to the IRS and state in back taxes. Your debts can be negotiated and payment plans may be established to help you pay it in a more manageable amount and timeframe.
You'll probably need to owe at least $10,000 in state and/or federal taxes to be eligible for tax relief. There usually aren't any other requirements.
You could work directly with the IRS to work out a 3-year payment plan, but that usually only applies if you've filed all of your previous years' tax returns and you owe less than $10,000 in taxes. Using a tax relief service eliminates the guesswork and walks you through the entire process from start to finish. Plus, you don't have the stress of meeting with the IRS: your representative at the tax relief company does all of that for you!
Most services offer a free initial consultation, to determine which of their plans (if any) are the right fit for your situation. Once you've chosen a tax relief strategy, the provider will probably charge up to 20% of what you saved in debt as a service fee, but that varies from one company to another.
Your representative will go to work on your behalf, using a variety of methods to work with the IRS and state taxing authority. These may include Offer in Compromise, Penalty Abatements, Tax Lien Subordination and more. Some services will assign you a dedicated representative who will keep you updated on your case's progress.
As you'd expect, it depends on the complexity of your situation. However, a general rule of thumb is between two and six months for a tax relief plan to be fully executed.
Some tax relief services offer their customers a satisfaction guarantee - but it's often a very small window of time compared with how long it takes to see a significant change in your tax debts. It's a good idea to look at the reputation of any service you're considering, to see what previous clients have said about the effectiveness, and reliability of the programs offered.
Most of them are. It's not difficult to find tax relief partners that have been helping consumers for decades. That being said, there are opportunistic scammers who would like nothing more than to convince you that they're legit and then take your money without offering any tax relief whatsoever. You should research the provider before signing on the dotted line, which includes looking up their rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Compare Tax Relief Companies

Select any 2 Tax Relief Companies to compare them head to head

best-tax-relief-companies
  • CuraDebt
  • Optima Tax Relief
  • Community Tax
  • Jackson Hewitt
  • Direct Tax Relief
  • Tax Relief Inc
  • Enterprise Consultants Group
  • 97tax
  • Fidelity Tax Relief
  • Tax Defense Partners
CuraDebt vs Optima Tax Relief CuraDebt vs Community Tax CuraDebt vs Jackson Hewitt CuraDebt vs Direct Tax Relief CuraDebt vs Tax Relief Inc CuraDebt vs Enterprise Consultants Group CuraDebt vs 97tax CuraDebt vs Fidelity Tax Relief CuraDebt vs Tax Defense Partners Optima Tax Relief vs Community Tax Optima Tax Relief vs Jackson Hewitt Optima Tax Relief vs Direct Tax Relief Optima Tax Relief vs Tax Relief Inc Optima Tax Relief vs Enterprise Consultants Group Optima Tax Relief vs 97tax Optima Tax Relief vs Fidelity Tax Relief Optima Tax Relief vs Tax Defense Partners Community Tax vs Jackson Hewitt Community Tax vs Direct Tax Relief Community Tax vs Tax Relief Inc Community Tax vs Enterprise Consultants Group Community Tax vs 97tax Community Tax vs Fidelity Tax Relief Community Tax vs Tax Defense Partners Jackson Hewitt vs Direct Tax Relief Jackson Hewitt vs Tax Relief Inc Jackson Hewitt vs Enterprise Consultants Group Jackson Hewitt vs 97tax Jackson Hewitt vs Fidelity Tax Relief Jackson Hewitt vs Tax Defense Partners Direct Tax Relief vs Tax Relief Inc Direct Tax Relief vs Enterprise Consultants Group Direct Tax Relief vs 97tax Direct Tax Relief vs Fidelity Tax Relief Direct Tax Relief vs Tax Defense Partners Tax Relief Inc vs Enterprise Consultants Group Tax Relief Inc vs 97tax Tax Relief Inc vs Fidelity Tax Relief Tax Relief Inc vs Tax Defense Partners Enterprise Consultants Group vs 97tax Enterprise Consultants Group vs Fidelity Tax Relief Enterprise Consultants Group vs Tax Defense Partners 97tax vs Fidelity Tax Relief 97tax vs Tax Defense Partners Fidelity Tax Relief vs Tax Defense Partners
Compare the Best Tax Relief Companies
- VS -
Review the Best Tax Relief Companies
See the Best Tax Relief Company
The Best Reviews of Tax Relief Companies