7 Best Tax Relief Companies (CPA’s Opinion)Tax Relief
When it comes to obtaining tax relief options such as an offer in compromise, you want the best tax professionals on your side.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad tax relief companies out there — companies that are just out to take people’s money without actually working to resolve their case with their IRS and/or state tax authority.
In fact, the Federal Trade Commission has a dedicated webpage calling many of these companies “fraudsters,” pointing out that oftentimes these companies don’t even submit any paperwork to the IRS.
So as a CPA, I decided to put the record straight and objectively evaluate the major tax relief companies on the market today.
Have you had problems with a tax relief company?
If you’ve had trouble with a tax relief company, be sure to file Form 14157, Return Preparer Complaint, with the IRS.
Be sure to describe exactly what the tax relief company you worked with did (or didn’t do). Be sure to mention if the company:
- Guaranteed that your offer in compromise would be accepted (this is impossible to guarantee)
- Told you that your case would take a relatively short amount of time to process but it actually took a lot longer
- Misrepresented your financial situation in documents submitted to the IRS
If the IRS finds merit in your complaint, it may end up with the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility to investigate the potentially fraudulent tax relief company.
How I Chose the Best Tax Relief Companies
Having done tax relief for clients myself, I know what to look for when evaluating tax relief companies. Here are my top three indicators.
1. Doesn’t bait and switch
One problem that I see over and over again in tax relief company reviews is that the company will “sell” the client on securing an offer in compromise for them — typically charging thousands of dollars upfront for this service — only to secure an installment agreement for them or having them placed in currently not collectible status.
Now, don’t get me wrong; sometimes, the best option for a taxpayer is an installment agreement or being placed in currently not collectible status.
And on the initial intake call, someone who knows what they’re doing should be able to size up pretty quickly what may or may not be possible for the taxpayer.
So when I see multiple clients complaining online that their tax relief company told them they could get them an offer in compromise but then all they got them was an installment agreement, that tells me that either:
- The tax relief company is outright deceptive, telling leads they qualify for an offer in compromise when they don’t with the goal of extracting money from them, or
- The tax relief company has a severe disconnect between its sales team and its tax professionals. Oftentimes with large tax relief companies, the person closing the lead is a salesperson, not a tax professional. And if the salesperson works on commission (or partial commission), they may have an incentive to close as many deals as possible, which means promising the moon as often as possible. This is a recipe for a dissatisfied client because while the sales team may claim the company can secure an offer in compromise for the client, the tax professional that handles the case will quickly see that this is not possible, leaving the client with unmet expectations.
2. Acts quickly on client files
Another common complaint about tax relief companies is that they collect the initial payment from clients, only to sit on their file for months without any action.
This is obviously an unacceptable practice given that the IRS will continue to take collection actions throughout this time, so this was another thing I looked at when evaluating tax relief companies.
3. Offers a guarantee
The last major thing I look at with tax relief companies is how good their money-back guarantee is (if they even have one at all).
The 7 Best Tax Relief Companies of 2022
- Best Overall and Best Small Firm: Choice Tax Relief
- Best Large Firm: Precision Tax Relief
- Best For Business Debt: Enterprise Consultants Group
- Best For Spanish Speakers: Tax Defense Network
- Best For Low Income: Tax Hardship Center
- Best For Tax Preparation: Community Tax
- Best Guarantee: Anthem Tax Services
Best Tax Relief Companies (List)
If you or someone you know has experience — good or bad — with any of these tax relief companies, please let me know in the comment section of this blog post.
|Company||Complaints||Minimum Tax Debt||Guarantee||Sign Up|
Choice Tax Relief
None that I could find
30-day money-back guarantee
Precision Tax Relief
None that I could find
30-day money-back guarantee
Tax Defense Network
Very few reviews for this company, but one mentioned something of a “bait and switch” as a result of an aggressive salesperson.
Some customers complain of bait-and-switch tactics.
I could not find any mention of a guarantee on the website.
Tax Hardship Center
None that I could find
1. Choice Tax Relief
Disclaimer: Choice Tax Relief is a related entity to Money Done Right.
Choice Tax Relief is owned by CPA and tax relief YouTuber Logan Allec.
2. Precision Tax Relief
One thing I like about Precision Tax Relief is that its CEO Scott Gettis and its managing partner Gene Haag are both enrolled agents.
At least on a surface level, this tells me that Precision Tax Relief is perhaps more about actually getting the work done rather than just marketing and running new clients’ credit cards.
It also claims to have been in business since 1967 — of course, the tax relief industry wasn’t exactly around in 1967, so I take this to mean that Precision has existed in some form (perhaps as a basic tax preparation office) since 1967.
On its website, Precision claims to be extremely transparent. It says:
Our experts don’t shy away from the truth. We tell you exactly what’s possible given your tax situation.
This is extremely important to me since one of my major complaints with the tax relief industry is that many companies will tell a lead upfront that they can secure an offer in compromise for them when in reality any true tax professional could tell that this is not possible.
Now, whether or not Precision lives up to this claim is a different story, but as far as I could find in my research, customers seem satisfied. Unlike other tax relief companies, I could not find any reviews stating that Precision engaged in a bait-and-switch or left clients hanging for months with unresolved tax issues.
Also, unlike other tax relief companies on this list, Precision Tax Relief is a member of the American Society of Tax Problem Solvers (ASTPS), an organization that I myself am a member of and trust.
3. Tax Defense Network
Tax Defense Network has a pretty slick website, but it’s short on details about itself. Its about page merely states that it’s a tax resolution firm that has saved clients billions in tax debt.
One potential drawback of Tax Defense Network is that it is owned by MoneySolver, a national financial services company. Now, this may not be a bad thing at all, but personally I like it when tax resolution companies are owned by tax professionals whose names and professional credentials are on the line.
This all said, Tax Defense Network is also a member of the ASTPS, which is a plus in my book.
4. Community Tax
Community Tax claims to take a three-step approach to tax relief:
- Step 1: Consultation — This step is essentially the free consultation offered by practically all tax relief companies in order to get leads to pay the upfront fee to become a client.
- Step 2: Investigation — This is where Community Tax submits Form 8821 to the IRS in order to gather information about your tax accounts. I imagine this is also when Community Tax determines the best approach to take to your situation, that is, whether to try for an offer in compromise, currently not collectible status, or a mere installment agreement.
- Step 3: Resolution —This is where Community Tax actually fills out the appropriate paperwork with the IRS in order to resolve your tax issue.
This all sounds well and good, but similar to Anthem Tax Services, however, Community Tax has some apparent customers expressing their frustration with the company on Yelp:
- B.B. of Plano, TX claimed that Community Tax told him to pay $1,200 to the IRS that he did not actually owe.
- Belle L. of Chicago, IL claimed that Community Tax charged her $2,000 to get her into “deferred” status (I imagine she meant currently not collectible status), even though she was already in this status.
- Ivan M. of Belmont Cragin, IL claimed that Community Tax charged him $500 but did nothing else.
5. Tax Hardship Center
Tax Hardship Center is a smaller player in the tax relief field, but it appears to be popular with its customers.
It has fewer reviews than other companies, the reviews it does have are mostly positive.
Although Tax Hardship Center does not publish its fees on its website, Alice K. of Chicago, IL said that after calling around she felt that Tax Hardship Center cared and was reasonable priced.
As a website owner, one thing that kind of struck me as odd was that Tax Hardship Center has a page on its site called “Tax Hardship Center Review”.
Frankly, I would think that it would be fairly difficult for a company to do an objective review of itself, and I imagine Tax Hardship Center’s strategy here is to get this positive review (of itself!) to rank in search engines.
Other Tax Relief Companies
Here are other tax relief companies I looked at.
Anthem Tax Services
Anthem Tax Services’ website is frankly light on details, but one major selling point appears to be its money-back guarantee. Here’s what they say about it:
If we don’t save you money or rework your payments, you get your money back — guaranteed. The money-back guarantee does not apply to bookkeeping and tax preparation services or to the minimum deposit paid by clients.
Now, a money-back guarantee sounds nice on its face, but let’s actually break this down:
- The money-back guarantee does not apply if Anthem merely “reworks” your payments: Let’s say that you are currently paying the IRS $400 per month on a payment plan. Anthem is saying that if they so much as reduce your monthly payment down to $399 per month, you are not eligible for the money-back guarantee.
- The money-back guarantee does not apply to the minimum deposit paid by clients: This indicates that there is some kind of nonrefundable fee that Anthem collects upfront. Unfortunately, Anthem does not disclose what this amount is on its website. However, one Yelp reviewer (Jacob L. of Cumming, GA) who claims to have cancelled Anthem’s services within three business days was still out $2,100 (though Anthem apparently refunded him $500).
Another questionable thing about Anthem is that on Yelp, it’s called “Tax Debt Settlers”. I’m not sure if this is Anthem’s original name or if Anthem changed its name on Yelp so people couldn’t find its bad reviews on there, of which there are a few.
Several customers have claimed that Anthem has been unresponsive on their cases, and others have claimed that Anthem pulled a bait-and-switch, claiming that a very low offer in compromise amount was possible when it was not.
Logan is a practicing CPA and founder of Choice Tax Relief and Money Done Right. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.