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What can you do if you owe more taxes than you can possibly pay in a reasonable amount of time? That's a question many Americans are struggling to answer. As inflation rises and tax burdens increase, more people have tax debts owed to the US government and to state/local tax authorities. It goes without saying that having wages garnished and assets seized only adds to the stress felt in that situation.
Tax relief services provide a lifeline for those who have serious tax issues. Companies that specialize in tax relief work with clients to determine their financial obligations and legal ways to reduce what they owe. These services can negotiate with the IRS and state tax authorities, obtain an Offer in Compromise, structure payment plans, and much more - offering tax relief by reducing their clients' overall tax debt.
Thursday, January 20th
CuraDebt has been helping clients with tax relief and other troubling financial issues for nearly 20 years. Their experts provide assistance with debt settlement and negotiation, as well as a wide variety of tax debt issues stemming from under-withholding, failure to make timely estimated payments, and much more.
To find out if CuraDebt's tax relief program is for you, start by requesting a consultation by filling out their online form, or by reaching out to them at their toll-free number. You'll speak with an experienced representative who will get an overview of your current financial situation and determine if they're a good fit for your needs. In general, CuraDebt works with customers who have at least $10,000 in tax or other outstanding debts.
As with most tax relief companies, CuraDebt can't specify what their fees are - because they're based on your individual situation. In general, though, they charge a fee as each settlement is reached and accepted by you, and those fees are typically 20% or less of your total debt. CuraDebt does not charge monthly fees for their services.
As your representative works directly with the IRS or state/local government on your behalf, they'll apply a number of strategies to help resolve your tax debt. Some of these strategies include:
If none of these approaches directly apply to your situation, CuraDebt representatives will devise a custom solution that will address your exact needs. In addition to tax relief, CuraDebt is one of the top services for addressing other debts, such as credit cards and underwater mortgages, through their Debt Negotiation, Debt Consolidation, and Debt Settlement Programs.
If you're looking for a tax relief service with an exceptionally strong reputation, you'll find that with CuraDebt. Their track record across more than a thousand independently-verified customer reviews is almost flawless. In fact, the only reviews we found that were less than 4- or 5-stars were from new customers who were waiting to give their highest ratings until they'd used the service for a longer period of time. Clients say that their CuraDebt representatives are patient and knowledgeable, making the process of getting tax relief about as stress-free and pleasant as it could be.
If you're facing tax debts - or other debts - of $10,000 or more, you'll want to put CuraDebt at the top of your list for tax relief. Their representatives have an amazing level of expertise with both the IRS and state/local taxing bodies, and their clients have been amazed at how easy it is to work with them to get their tax and debt issues under control. Among providers of tax relief services, CuraDebt earns our highest rating.
As a partnership that began at Wharton Business School, Optima Tax Relief has been helping clients put tax issues behind them as quickly and effectively as possible for more than 8 years.
Their primary areas of service include:
Your initial consultation is free, and like the majority of tax relief providers, OTR doesn't publish a list of fees because they depend on each individual's situation. We read in some customer reviews that a more detailed review will probably cost approximately $500, and that fees may be 20% of the original owed debt amount. Your specific fees will be determined when you work out your approach to tax relief with an Optima representative. The average case takes from two to six months to resolve.
Not only does Optima Tax Relief enjoy accreditation and an "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau, but in 2017 they were also selected as the winner of their regional BBB's Torch Award for Ethics. In an industry that often struggles with less-than-scrupulous companies trying to scam consumers, this award represents Optima's ironclad commitment to best practices, organizational ethics, and social responsibility.
One proof of this commitment is their guarantee: if you're unhappy with their services in the first 15 calendar days of working with Optima, you can get a full refund of any money paid under your client agreement.
Unlike most tax relief providers who connect you with a faceless "expert", Optima offers detailed background information on their entire 25+ person team: credentials, photos, and insights into their expertise within the tax debt world. We think many nervous potential clients will find it reassuring to know more about the people they're trusting to help them through such a difficult problem.
They also have an informational blog that can help you understand more, not just about tax debt issues but other financial concerns like identity theft or the impact of gambling winnings/losses on your tax return.
Optima Tax Relief has a great reputation with the BBB, an easy-to-use website, and an established history of helping a wide variety of customers with their tax debts. They're a company to consider when choosing a provider of tax relief service.
Since 2008, Direct Tax Relief has worked with thousands of taxpayers from all 50 states, helping them with their tax burdens at state and federal levels. "No matter how bad your situation is, we can help!" is their motto, and many customers say that working with Direct Tax Relief has definitely turned their stressful situation into tax relief.
You'll need to have a tax burden of at least $10,000 to qualify for Direct Tax Relief's services - and we were happy to see reviews describing how Direct Tax Relief tells clients when they're not eligible, rather than just taking their money anyway. Once you've had your initial, complimentary consultation with a representative, you'll have the opportunity to sign up for their long-term plan for addressing your tax debt. Services include the typical spectrum from Offer in Compromise to Bank Levy Releases, plus several others that we didn't see with every service in our review. Some of these include issues regarding the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty and the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program.
Direct Tax Relief has a great reputation for delivering what they promise: namely, tax relief. We found a few reviews that said their service are more expensive than some providers', but that the level of professionalism and efficiency that Direct Tax Relief offers made it more than worth it. Most of the compliments written about Direct Tax Relief mention excellent service, even from the president of the company himself, and that Direct Tax Relief made it possible to reduce or eliminate large tax debts with the IRS. Several customers said that it was well worth the money spent to not have to speak or meet with the IRS even once. At the time of our review, Direct Tax Relief maintained an "A+ rating and accreditation with the Better Business Bureau.
We also like being able to go to the About Us section of the site and see photos of their team members: working through tax debt is a very sensitive, personal process, and being able to see who you're trusting to help you through it is a definite plus.
Direct Tax Relief is a good option to have for your tax relief needs. Their reputation for great customer service, combined with an easy-to-navigate website and a strong array of strategies for tackling tax debt earns them a good rating among tax relief services in our review.
Although Tax Relief Inc. is a smaller company, they offer big assistance when it comes to tax debts. Whether you need help with your state taxes or with the IRS, this provider has it covered.
Based in the Chicago suburbs, Tax Relief Inc. works with clients in all 50 states. Like most services, you'll need to start by getting in contact, so that their representatives can determine the extent of your tax problem and what course of action would be best. You can do this by giving them a call at their toll-free number, to set up your no-obligation consultation.
The services offered by Tax Relief Inc. are what you would expect from a reputable provider of tax relief: working with the IRS and state/local governments to renegotiate your tax debt, through strategies like Offer in Compromise, Penalty Abatement, and helping you file back taxes if needed. You can also take advantage of their Audit Representation services.
Tax Relief Inc. had an "A+" with the BBB at the time of our review, along with accreditation. Better yet, they had zero negative reviews or complaints filed there: an accomplishment for a company that's been in business for more than 30 years. We found numerous compliments praising the service for doing exactly what they promised each step of the way, and at a fraction of the cost of what they previously owed the IRS or their state's Department of Revenue. We especially liked how one customer said that even when it was painful to do, they were encouraged to stick to the plan by the president of the company himself - and because of his direct help and support, the client was able to resolve their tax debt completely.
If you're looking for a tax relief service that provides a personal touch and takes care of you like a friend, Tax Relief Inc. is a great choice. Their excellent reputation and deep knowledge of tax debt and related issues earn them high marks among businesses offering tax relief.
Enterprise Consultants Group (ECG) is based in Los Angeles and has been in operation for just over a decade. While some of their services are specific to people living or doing business in California, they offer tax relief programs to clients, including estates and businesses, throughout the United States.
Free consultation and analysis
Is Enterprise Consultants Group your best choice for tax relief? You'll find the answer to that question when you take advantage of their free, confidential consultation which is available 7 days a week, day or night (though we wonder who's working the phones at 3AM!). ECG uses advanced tax resolution software to compare your situation to IRS and local guidelines, to determine which tax relief programs might be a good fit. If your consultation reveals that ECG's services aren't suited to your needs, you'll still receive some preliminary recommendations at no charge.
3-step process: Protection, Resolution, Education
If you become a client of Enterprise Consultants Group, you can expect a three-step process. First, your accounts will be protected from further collections and, where possible, any accounts currently in collections will be removed. Next, ECG will move to the resolution phase, negotiating and settling your tax debts and working out terms for repayment that you can manage. Finally, when your tax relief has been accomplished, you'll work with your ECG team to make a plan for the future, to keep you in compliance and avoid any tax problems going forward.
Fees might be high
How much will your tax relief plan cost with this provider? Great question. We would really like to see ECG be more transparent with their fee structure, even with just a ballpark of what a client could expect when using their tax relief services. We found plenty of positive customer reviews, but when you read one even from a satisfied client that says "it was a large initial outlay of money" it makes you wonder! One review mentioned a fee amount of $8000 - but they didn't specify how much tax debt was eliminated, either.
Need more info about ECG's team
Another downside is that the Enterprise Consultants Group website doesn't have any information about the attorneys and other tax professionals who work on their team: at the time of our most recent visit, the "Attorney Profiles" link just redirected to the home page. Going to ECG's social media channels, we were able to see a few photo profiles of people who work there, but even that was limited. When clients are nervous about their tax situation, they need reassurance that they'll be in good hands - and that's not easy to find with this service.
On the plus side, this service has a very strong reputation with the Better Business Bureau, earning both accreditation and a flawless "A+" rating. Both on the Enterprise Consultants Group website and on various third-party sites around the web, it was easy to find comments from people who have used the company for tax relief and gotten fantastic results. Comments frequently reference how hard the ECG team works to resolve cases with the IRS, demonstrating both deep knowledge of the system and compassionate attention throughout the process.
Trustworthy and worth a try
In fact, those client reviews are the biggest reason that Enterprise Consultants Group earned such a high ranking, despite some of the issues we mentioned. There were dozens of five-star reviews on the BBB site alone, including many written within a few weeks of our evaluation. We definitely think that this company offers tax relief services you can trust, and it would be worth your time to reach out to ECG for an initial, complimentary consultation - just be prepared for some sticker shock, because your plan may have higher fees than you might pay elsewhere.
Tax Defense Partners, or TDP, have been helping customers in all 50 states since 1998. Unlike some of the service in our review that also offer debt consolidation and restructuring, TDP focuses solely on tax debt relief. According to their website, this focus means that their CPAs and IRS-Enrolled Agents settle more cases in the average month than most professionals handle in an entire career.
Tax Defense Partners suggests that if you have less than $10,000 in debt with the IRS and have filed all of your previous years' tax returns, you may prefer to contact the IRS directly and work out a 36-month payment plan. On the other hand, if you owe more than $10,000 or already are experiencing wage garnishments, levies, seizures, or other penalties, you should get in touch with the TDP team to work out an approach that can offer you tax relief.
To get started, you'll need to get in touch with TDP: fill out their online form, use their online chat, or give them a call at their toll-free number to set up your free tax relief consultation. Once they've determined what type of tax relief you need, they'll put together an approach that may include the following services or issues:
At the time of our review, Tax Defense Partners enjoyed an "A+" rating and accreditation with the Better Business Bureau. We found many customers who said that they had good service from their TDP representative and that the service saved them a great deal of money and stress. However, there were also more than a few negative reviews; the most common complaints were that the company only did things that clients could have done (or had already done) for themselves, and that there wasn't much consistency as they were passed from one representative to another. Tax Defense Partners responded to all of the positive comments we found, but didn't reply to any of the negative ones. We would have liked to see a more proactive approach to customer service, showing prospective customers how TDP handles it when a client isn't satisfied.
We love Tax Defense Partners' laser focus on tax relief and appreciate their continued good standing with the BBB. But, we would like to see their representatives responding to both negative and positive customer comments, to reassure already-nervous potential clients that any concerns will be taken seriously and handled appropriately. For that reason, TDP has moved towards the middle of the pack among tax relief services since our last review.
Fidelity Tax Relief is a CA-based company that represents taxpayers from all 50 states, working with them to solve any tax debts with the IRS in an efficient way. They also want to help clients who might not be on the IRS' radar yet but who want to be proactive and tackle their obligations in advance - maybe because they want to get a loan for college or a home and need to have a clean credit report to do it. Their services are also available at a state level.
Fidelity takes a five-step approach to the tax resolution process:
Tax relief services don't typically post their fees, because they depend on the circumstances of each client. This is also true for Fidelity; in looking at customer reviews, however, we saw that you can expect an investigation fee of $500 after the initial free consultation, if you decide to hire Fidelity Tax Relief for your case. That's pretty standard within the industry. Some of those reviews also mentioned fees of approximately 5-10% of the total debt resolved by Fidelity - again, you'll need to contact the company to determine what your particular fees would be.
Fidelity Tax Relief does offer a money-back guarantee. It applies to the Investigation Phase fees only, within the first 10 calendar days.
Reviews on Fidelity Tax Relief's tax relief services are mixed. On the positive side, they have an "A+" rating and accreditation with the Better Business Bureau, and there are many happy customer reviews. Customers say that Fidelity helped them to significantly decrease - or even eliminate - their tax debt, and that their representatives handled everything with professionalism and courtesy.
On the negative side, this service is one of the newer providers in our review, originally opening its doors in 2014. We found quite a few unhappy customer reviews, some describing winding up in even greater tax debt after hiring Fidelity Tax Relief and being charged for services they felt were not delivered. Unfortunately, across multiple places where these complaints were posted, it was rare to see a response from Fidelity Tax Relief offering to talk with the customer or to address the issues in any way.
We give Fidelity Tax Relief a middle-of-the-pack rating. We appreciate their current good standing with the BBB, and we hope that as they gain more experience in the industry, Fidelity Tax Relief will show an increased degree of responsiveness to customer complaints online.
How can you select the tax relief company that's right for you? Most offer free initial consultations and provide the same services, such as filing late taxes and removing levies and garnishments. However, there are several criteria you can keep in mind as you decide which tax relief provider will ultimately earn your business.
Some things you need to consider include:
TopConsumerReviews has reviewed and ranked the best Tax Relief companies available today. We hope these reviews give you the information you need to choose the best tax relief service to help you get your finances in order!
At some point in time in your life, you may find yourself in need of tax relief. Maybe you've lost your job and are struggling to make ends meet, or maybe you've experienced an unforeseen medical issue that has drained what little bit of money you managed to put aside in savings.
Whatever the reason, tax relief exists to help those who need it most. That relief extends to monies owed to the Internal Revenue Service.
The Internal Revenue Service itself has established numerous tax-relief programs designed to assist taxpayers who have become delinquent in what they owe the federal government.
One of the most popular tax-relief programs the IRS offers is called an Offer in Compromise.
An Offer in Compromise, also known as an OIC, allows taxpayers to settle their debt for less than the full amount that is owed if they can prove that paying in full would cause a financial hardship for them. The Internal Revenue Service has loosened the eligibility requirements for the OIC program, so that more people can take advantage of it.
Qualified candidates for this option must meet specific criteria as determined by the IRS, and must provide documentation supporting their ability to pay, income level, current expenses and asset equity. Anyone who currently is in the process of bankruptcy does not qualify for this option. According to information provided by the IRS, it received nearly 60,000 requests for Offer in Compromise agreements within the last four years.
Another popular course of action is for taxpayers to enter into what is known as an installment agreement with the IRS. Taxpayers who agree to an installment repayment plan are seen as being in compliance, and the IRS is less likely to take a harsher course of action to recover back taxes. The only downside to an installment plan is that interest continues to accrue on the total amount owed while taxpayers are making payments, similar to what happens when a person makes only the minimum payment on a full credit card balance.
Another option - which is reserved only for those who truly qualify - is called the Currently Not Collectible program.
In order to qualify for this program, taxpayers must be able to prove to the Internal Revenue Service that paying any owed taxes would create an extreme hardship for the taxpayer. The taxpayer must show that they are unable to pay the taxes owed now or in the future. If this is an option you wish to pursue, it is best to seek out the help of a qualified tax professional to guide you through the process.
The IRS has a form specifically for this purpose, called the 433-F. Following a review of the information provided on the form, the IRS can grant the Currently Not Collectible status, which will be reviewed every year. After 10 years, if the IRS still deems the taxpayer to be qualified for this status, it will become permanent, and annual reviews will cease.
Contacting a qualified tax relief agency can be a great first step to identifying the best course of action to take for individuals who find themselves in need of tax relief. They have the knowledge and experience to determine the best course of action unique to each individual.
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