How To Tell The Good Guys From The Bad Guys…
There is no doubt the recession and the ensuing financial fallout left many taxpayers in distress. Maybe you’re one of them. Maybe you’re haunted by back taxes. Liens, IRS levies, and wage garnishments for unpaid tax to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and state tax agencies can all add to the stress of making ends meet. Dishonest tax resolution firms have emerged in recent years, eager to separate distressed tax payers from their money in exchange for little to no service. Are you in need of tax resolution assistance? Here are 10 traits of a reputable tax resolution firm.
1. Credibility: A reputable tax firm employs the following staff members: Tax Attorneys, Enrolled Agents, and Tax Consultants. A good firm will also have support personnel such as Case Managers, who will assist you as your case moves from intake to resolution. Beware of firms that don’t have these personnel on staff. Only tax attorneys and Enrolled Agents can negotiate with the IRS or state tax boards on your behalf. You want the best representation possible, and a reputable firm will provide that for you backed by well-trained and educated support staff.
2. Reputation: You want to ensure your tax resolution firm has a sterling reputation. The Better Business Bureau is an excellent starting point. Personal recommendations from friends and family are also a good source.
3. Integrity: Beware of any tax resolution firm that doesn’t disclose all fees BEFORE they are rendered. There should be no surprises. A reputable firm can work with you if you aren’t able to pay their full fee upfront.
4. Service by Licensed Professionals: Your case should be handled directly by a tax attorney, Enrolled Agent and/or a Tax Consultant working in-house. At no time will a reputable tax firm outsource their work to a “back end” company. Ask if your tax matter will be handled in-house. If you can’t or won’t get a straight answer, look elsewhere.
5. Transparency: Your tax firm should have all information easily available for you, either in person or on their website. You should be able to access full information regarding staffing, fees, hours, and policies. Are you dealing with a firm that won’t disclose or offer that information? Time to find one that will.
6. Honesty: Some taxpayers may not qualify for an Offer In Compromise, for example. Is your firm honest with you about the extent to which they’ll be able to help you, or are they evasive when questioned? Reputable tax firms will be honest in telling you whether or not they will be able to assist you. Avoid firms that won’t shoot straight with you when it comes to your tax matters.
7. Reasonable and fair: A reputable tax resolution firm will charge a fair and reasonable fee to assist you with your tax matters. You will be offered an honest assessment of your tax situation, along with a reasonable fee. Fees are influenced by many factors: labor hours in researching your tax matter, outstanding tax/lien balance, the level of staff needed (tax attorney or Enrolled Agent?) among many. Dishonest firms will charge an outrageous sum. Do your homework. Call or email different firms. If the quote seems outrageous, it probably is. A reputable firm won’t strip you of your hard-earned money.
8. Discretion: If you’ve ever seen any amount of daytime television, you’ve most likely seen those loudly-produced ads for tax debt relief for “pennies on the dollar.” Avoid them. They will most likely charge an exorbitant fee (they need to offset those advertising costs somehow) or will accept your case, even if you don’t qualify. A reputable firm doesn’t employ large radio and TV advertising campaigns. A good firm will rely on word-of-mouth from satisfied clients, an accessible, well-written website and social media marketing for their services. All of those approaches are low-cost and there is no reason to overcharge clients to offset advertising costs.
9. A Stress-free Approach: A legitimate tax resolution firm won’t leave you feeling like you’ve dealt with a used car salesman. Owing back taxes or being faced with a lien or bank levy is stressful enough without the high-pressure sales pitch. A reputable firm will assess your tax situation, make suggestions, and leave the final decision up to you. Beware of high-pressure tactics to pay a fee or sign up for services that offer pricing “for a limited time only.” Head out the door and to the nearest reputable tax resolution firm.
10. Accessibility: When you call your tax firm representative, are you able to speak with the same person each time, or are you passed from person to person? Do you know your representative’s name? Do they show a genuine interest in you as the tax payer and do they convey an honest desire to help you? Do they keep you informed as your case progresses? All of these are signs of a reputable tax resolution firm, as they hire those who have the utmost integrity and desire to help distressed tax payers.
If you are a distressed tax payer, we can help. We offer service that is fair, reasonable, and suited to your needs. You can contact us by phone at 888-224-3004. If you prefer, you can also reach us via chat by clicking the white “start chat” button on the upper right hand of our webpage. You can take comfort in knowing your tax matters will be handled discreetly, professionally and with integrity. We are among the “good guys” and we’re here to help you.