How We Rank Tax Relief Services
When vetting and qualifying the companies that make up our recommended list, the TaxHelpReviews.com editors focused on five key points:
- Services Offered
- Customer Services
- Reputable Practices
With so many tax relief companies popping up -- along with scammers posing as tax relief services -- it's important that you also know how to find the best firm for you. Choosing the right firm will depend greatly on your personal financial situation. As such, we recommend that you follow similar guidelines to help you in the search for the best tax relief service for you.
Let’s face it – you don’t want to just trust anyone with your finances! This is why it is so important to research your tax relief company’s qualifications.
A reputable tax firm generally holds numerous accreditations and memberships, such as an accreditation from the BBB (Better Business Bureau), and memberships from the NAEA (National Association of Enrolled Agents) and the NATP (National Association of Tax Professionals). Many qualified tax relief services hold additional local and state accreditations, too.
You can also contact the company or check their website to check their staff's licensing and accreditation. It's essential that a tax relief company has licensed attorneys and enrolled agents on staff and that they are licensed to practice in all 50 states.
Anthem Tax Services is a great example of a qualified tax relief firm. They are accredited with the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and are active members of CTEC (California Tax Education Council), NAEA (National Association of Enrolled Agents), and NATP (National Association of Tax Professionals). Additionally, all of their staff members are certified professionals who work directly with the IRS on your behalf.
When it comes to services offered, "more" is always "better"! Take a look at the list of services a tax relief company offers. Some only offer a few basic services - either due to a lack of staff training and experience or because they only focus on the most profitable areas of service. On the other hand, top tax relief companies offer a wide variety of services such as:
- Administrative appeals
- Asset seizers
- Audit protection
- Audit representation
- Back taxes (unfiled returns)
- Bank levy release
- Bookkeeping services
- Collection appeal
- Corporate tax preparation
- Currently not collectible
- Free tax consultations
- Garnishment and levy release
- Individual state tax relief services
- Industry-specific tax services
- Innocent spouse relief
- Installment agreements
- IRS audit defense
- IRS-approved continuing educational services
- Offer in compromise
- Payroll tax negotiation
- Penalty abatements
- State and federal taxes
- Statute of limitations
- Tax audits
- Tax liens
- Tax preparation
- Wage garnishment release
Because every tax situation is different, the price for tax relief service is going to vary depending on the company hired and the complexity of services needed. Most tax relief companies can charge anywhere from $2,000 - $10,000. Reputable tax relief firms will provide an initial free consultation and do not charge any upfront fees until services are performed.
Also, look for a money-back guarantee. This is another sign of a reputable tax firm, as it shows confidence and faith in their ability to provide their clients with excellent service.
Companies such as Anthem Tax Services start their services at a low cost of $250 and have a full 100% money-back guarantee.
Spend some time reading verified customer reviews and researching company ratings on sites like TaxHelpReviews, BBB.org, or Trustpilot.com. This is a great way to build an unbiased opinion on a company’s ability to provide the level of service you expect.
You may also want to call the company directly and ask them any questions or concerns you might have. Their answers and level of assistance can help you gauge just how reliable their support staff is and the kind of customer service you can expect to receive from them.
Recently, there has been a surge in the number of scam artists entering the tax relief industry, and they are known for their unethical practices and broken promises.
Be wary of any company that gives you a promise to eliminate your tax burden completely or that asks for money upfront without investigating your case. Only reputable services will take a full assessment of your tax situation before they advise you on the best options for you.
Also, steer clear of any company that promises to take on any case, no matter what. Every tax case is different – some can benefit from the assistance of a tax relief company, while others cannot. A reputable company will take the time to look into their client’s specific situation before advising whether or not they can actually help them.
Lastly, be on the look-out for those companies that do not offer a refund or a money-back guarantee. Any reputable service that cares about helping their clients (rather than taking their money) will have some sort of refund policy or money-back clause in their agreement.
Where Can I Find Tax Relief?
18 million Americans have some sort of tax liability, and each year American consumers end up owing over $450 billion to the IRS! Missing even one tax deadline can result in severe consequences and growing distress over time.
- The IRS can seize your assets
- They can put a lien on your bank accounts
- They can garnish income from your wages, retirement, and social security
- The IRS can hold onto your future tax refunds
Consumers have a number of options to address their issues based on their unique situation.
Typically, the IRS has 10 years to collect on delinquent taxes.
But, according to the IRS, taxpayers who are up to date on their taxes are more likely to pay in the future.
This is why the IRS has implemented a number of tax relief programs to help those that are currently struggling with tax problems. These programs are win for both taxpayers and the IRS: the IRS will receive some portion of their funds and increase their revenue while taxpayers settle their delinquent taxes owed and avoid serious consequences.
Tax relief options offered by the IRS include the following:
Bank Levy Release: If you owe money to the IRS, they can seize your assets, including any bank accounts in your name, and even your hard-earned salary! The IRS could release a bank levy under certain circumstances:
- The amount owed has already been paid
- An installment agreement is put into place
- A levy would create economic hardship for the taxpayer
- If the taxpayer can prove that removing a levy would make it easier for them to pay their taxes
Tax Lien Release: The IRS can also place a lien on your assets if you fail to pay your taxes. This would allow them to show any other creditor that they have first legal right to your property! The IRS could release their lien if a taxpayer can show that by doing so, they could pay off their taxes.
Currently Not Collectible: If you currently do not qualify for a standard IRS payment plan but agree that you do owe money to the IRS, you could be assigned a Currently-Not-Collectible status (CNC). Under this status, you are given some time to get your finances back on track. Although the IRS typically will not levy any assets of those in a CNC status, they may withhold any tax refunds and apply them to the balance owed.
Innocent Spouse Relief: If your tax problems are a result of a spouse or former spouse who incorrectly reported items on joint tax returns, you may qualify for the Innocent Spouse Relief Program. This program could help you avoid paying unjust penalties and taxes.
Installment Agreements: If you owe under $50,000 and have paid all previous tax returns, you may be eligible for an Installment Agreements. Under this agreement, you are provided with a payment plan that spreads out the tax payment over a manageable period of time.
Offer In Compromise: If you currently cannot afford to pay your taxes, you may be eligible for the Offer in Compromise (OIC) Program. This plan allows taxpayers to pay a reduced amount of their taxes for a specific period of time.
Penalty Abatement: If you file your taxes late or miss a payment, you could be assessed fees as high as 5% of your unpaid taxes each month! Under the Penalty Abatement program, these fees could be reduced or even removed under certain reasonable circumstances or if this is the first time you are requesting a penalty abatement.
Do I Really Need A Tax Relief Company?
While taxpayers can negotiate with the IRS directly, there are advantages to hiring and working with a reputable tax relief company:
- A knowledgeable tax professional can help you determine whether or not you are eligible for any of the tax relief programs, and if so – which ones.
- A reputable tax relief company will have certified experts on staff who know how to deal with complicated tax laws and negotiate with the IRS and any State Treasury. This alone can increase your chances of being accepted into the available relief programs.
- Since your certified tax professional will be representing you when dealing with the IRS or the State Treasury, they’ll also be saving you a lot of time!
Although working with a tax relief service can be pricey, they can provide excellent assistance to consumers suffering with tax problems.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I find out how much I owe the IRS?
There are several ways to find out how much you owe:
- Use the IRS's online tool to look up your current bill
- Call the IRS for an updated amount (1-800-829-1040)
- Look at your most recent letter or statement from the IRS
- Contact a professional tax relief firm to look up your balance for you
Can I negotiate my tax situation with the IRS?
Yes. If you owe taxes and find that you cannot pay them, there are other options including: negotiating a payment plan or paying a reduced amount with an Offer in Compromise.
But, there are advantages to hiring a tax relief company to represent you in these negotiations.
Do tax relief services actually work?
Hiring a reputable tax relief service can help taxpayers identify whether or not they qualify for any of the available relief programs, negotiate with the IRS on their behalf, and possibly lower their tax liability.
How much will a tax relief company charge?
Most tax relief companies can charge anywhere from $2,000 - $10,000. Reputable tax relief firms will provide an initial free consultation and do not charge any upfront fees until services are performed.
Will the IRS settle my owed taxes for less?
This depends on your particular tax case and financial situation. If you qualify for one of the official relief programs through the IRS, it could be possible to settle your taxes for less than what you owe.
The tax professionals that work for reputable tax relief companies can help determine whether or not you qualify for any of the available relief programs.