I often hear stories from back tax clients, who previously hired another firm to settle their taxes. These clients contracted a professional tax settlement firm with an expectation their back taxes would be resolved quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, their tax resolution process was not what they anticipated and, sometimes these clients felt scammed. The same two complaints arise:
- “I paid them money and they didn’t do anything.”
- “I could never get a hold of them or, they wouldn’t call me back.”
Now, I believe there are tax settlement firms who don’t put the customer first. A settlement company focused on making money, will put a lower priority on their client’s back tax issues . Therefore, it is important to use a couple of consumer tactics when reviewing a tax settlement firm, to handle your back tax problems.
Weeding Out Bad Companies
I believe weeding out bad tax settlement companies is a fairly simple task. Knowing what to ask before, contacting any firm about your back taxes, is the best first step. Planning your questions allows you to critically think about your options. You need to get familiar with the programs the IRS offers before you place your trust with a tax resolution company. Read More About Back Tax Settlement Options & IRS Fresh Start Initiative 2016
You Hold The Power
A good way to check if someone is giving you false information, is by knowing where to look for it. It requires previous knowledge of your IRS back tax options, so you can carefully evaluate a company’s representations. Be aware, back tax agents have a lot to gain by making you trust them. Their goal is to make money. In the same regard, you have the power to weed out the bad apples because, you hold the money. Use the guidelines below, to decide if a tax resolution firm, is the “real deal”. Following the tactics below could help you find a good tax settlement firm and steer you clear from bad ones.
Tactic #1: Bait The Back Tax Agent To See If They Provide You With False Information
A nefarious tax settlement agent, focuses on making a sale quickly so, they can move on, to the next call. Signing as many clients as possible in any given day, is their goal. Firms operating in this manner, provide you with an opportunity to gain the upper-hand. Make them believe you want to move forward with their firm. When you feel the sales agent is ready to take advantage of your trust, ask questions that might motivate them to make false tax representations.
Here are some false tax claims to look for:
- A GUARANTEE you will pay less back taxes than you owe. I am emphasizing the word, “Guarantee” because, there are NO guarantees you will pay less than you owe to the IRS. A back tax agent who makes this representation, is either deceptive or inexperienced. In any case, run for the hills! Good agents will help you understand that guarantees do not exists because, each case is different. Also, it may be an honest statement to say, “You appear to be a good candidate…”. Just remember, no one can GUARANTEE to settle your back taxes for less than you owe. If any guarantee is given, move onto the next firm.
- Providing you with an unrealistic time frames. Fact is, working with the IRS takes time. It is however, possible to remove tax liens, bank levies and wage garnishments quickly. Unfortunately, removing liens and levies will not solve your back tax problems. The full IRS resolution process may take between 6 to 18 months and, sometimes longer. Any agent that guarantees their firm can resolve your back taxes in a couple of months, may not be trustworthy.
- Ask for a copy of the tax settlement firm’s contract or retainer. If an agent is unwilling to offer tax settlement agreements or makes excuses as to why they can’t, then proceed with caution. An unethical back tax sales agents does not want you to think about the details. They don’t want you to know your options because, it might sway your decision away from choosing their firm. Asking for their contract, provides you with an opportunity to see the back tax agent’s intentions.
Tactic #2: Google tax settlement companies for reviews and complaints from past clients
Dealing with latent tax debt is an emotional experience. Client’s who have bad experiences with a company sometimes share their frustrations on various websites. These consumer driven websites allow client’s to complain and rate their experiences with any company. Be wary of good reviews from institutions such as, the Better Business Bureau and Business Consumer Alliance. These companies may offer a tax settlement company an “A+” rating, if the firm pays for it. Also, if you see good or bad reviews come up on Google search, be sure to read the actual complaints and responses from these tax resolution firms. You can gain valuable information by observing how a company handles their consumer comments and complaints. Giving you important insight on the ethics and standards of the reviewed company.