Not all tax resolutions firms are alike. For every legitimate tax resolution firm, there is an unethical, fly-by-night tax firm. By exercising caution, asking questions and performing some research, you can avoid the scam firms and hire a legitimate firm to represent you before the IRS.
Standing with the Better Business Bureau: Look for a firm that is in good standing with the Better Business Bureau.
Track record/longevity: You will want to hire a firm that has an established presence in the business community and a solid track record.
Fee structure: Beware of firms that insist on payment up front. In most cases, you will be asked to pay a retainer once they agree to take on your case. Ask for the firm’s written fee schedule and payment policies.
Ask for an estimate or summary of expected charges. If you are billed periodically throughout the case, all billing charges should be clearly outlined; some firms will utilize case managers, paralegals and other personnel in addition to the tax professional handling your case.
Avoid firms that charge a flat rate for all cases, regardless of their complexity. Legitimate tax resolution firms will base their fees on the complexity of your individual case and will charge you accordingly.
Beware of upfront promises: Avoid firms that promise a specific outcome or resolution of your case. The outcome of your case can’t be determined by the tax firm. The IRS has the final say in the outcome of your case, not the tax resolution firm.
Steer clear of firms that will take on our case, regardless of whether or not you qualify for their assistance. A legitimate firm will assess your case to determine whether or not they can assist you, and whether or not you are eligible for any of the tax relief programs (OIC, installment agreements, lien releases) offered by the IRS.
Perform due diligence: Utilize tools such as Yelp, LinkedIn, and Google to research the owners and staff of the firm. If a tax attorney will be handling your case, make sure that individual is in good standing with both the bar association and the IRS.
As mentioned earlier, the firm should also have excellent ratings through the Better Business Bureau.
Facing a serious tax matter requires competent professional representation. Hiring a tax resolution firm is a solid investment that will save you time and money in the long run.
A legitimate tax firm will have professional staff who are readily accessible, in good standing within the industry and within their professions, and who will provide an honest assessment of your circumstances and eligibility for any IRS-based tax debt relief programs.