fortress tax relief review
Updated November 25, 2022

Fortress Tax Relief Review 2022: Honest Opinion by a Tax Attorney

Tax Relief
  • fortress tax relief
    Fortress Tax Relief
    • Basics: Founded in 2003, Fortress Tax Relief helps clients and businesses resolve tax debts with the IRS and/or state tax agencies.
    • Pros: The firm assigns all cases to one of its experienced tax attorneys, and based on the reviews, provides quality client service. Fortress also does not charge an initial fee for evaluating your case.
    • Cons: Unlike other tax relief firms, the company has a relatively ungenerous refund policy and does not offer tax compliance services. Additionally, a few reviewers claimed that the company’s fees were pricey.
    Honesty 7/10
     
    Responsiveness 7/10
     
    Price 6/10
     
    Accessibility 10/10
     
    Guarantee 5/10
     
    Transparency 7/10
     
    • MINIMUM DEBT:

      $10,000

    • LOCATION AVAILABILITY:

      All 50 U.S. States

    • INITIAL FEE:

      None

    • YEAR FOUNDED:

      2003

Tax debt relief companies have earned a reputation for overpromising tax debt elimination, bad client service, and misleading fees.

Fortress Tax Relief tries to set itself apart by advertising that all the company’s cases are handled by a tax relief attorney instead of a CPA/EA.

Stephen K. Galgoczy, the founder of the firm, boasts that this business model allows Fortress to “higher quality of service than any of the competition.”

But does the company’s services actually measure up to Stephen’s claims? Drawing on my expertise as a tax attorney, I decided to check out Fortress’s services and offerings. Below is what I found.

WATCH the video below to learn how to qualify for an offer in compromise to settle your IRS tax debt!

How Does Fortress Tax Relief Work?

Unlike other tax debt relief companies, Fortress does not clearly lay out its process for resolving tax debt matters on its website. This is not to say that Fortress’s lack of detail is necessarily reflective of the quality of its services – I just find it odd that potential clients browsing the company’s website do not have a lot of clarity on the tax resolution process.

That said, based on customer reviews and third-party sites, the firm’s process involves an initial consultation and resolution phase.

Initial Consultation

To sign up for Fortress’ services, you can call the company to request an initial free consultation.

Although the firm does not detail what the consultation involves, client reviews and third-party sites suggest that a tax attorney will reach out to you to discuss and provide options for your case.

If this is true, Fortress’ approach differs from other tax relief firms where a salesperson will reach out to you with the goal of selling services and getting you to pay the fee.

Our Pick For Best Tax Relief Company
Learn More

We earn a commission on this offer.

  • BBB Accredited: A+ Rating With 5/5 Rating
  • Guarantee: 30-Day Moneyback Guarantee
  • Reasonable Fees: Lower than Industry Averages

Of course, the problem of having a salesperson as your first contact is this – the salesperson is likely trained to promise you the best outcome to your case, even as they may not have the experience or all the facts to know whether the firm can deliver on such promises.

Having a tax attorney as the first point of contact minimizes the chances of this disconnect – the attorney can draw on his experience to properly evaluate the merits of the case (or lack thereof).

If you do decide to retain Fortress’ services, you will proceed to the Resolution phase.

Resolution

During this stage, you will sign a services agreement with and pay an agreed-upon flat fee to Fortress to have the company represent you against the IRS (or appropriate state tax agency).

One common theme among several customer reviews was the heavy involvement of an experienced attorney in the resolution phase. For example, one former client commented that the attorney and assistant assigned to their case “were clear in their advice, timely in their negotiations with the IRS, completely reachable the entire time” and believed that having “an accomplished tax attorney doing the talking for us with the IRS made the difference.”

BBB review - Dirk D

Of course, former clients did not all have favorable impressions of Fortress’ client service. In one BBB complaint, one former client complained that the company failed to respond to emails or keep him updated after he signed the services agreement and paid the fee upfront.

That said, client reviews were largely favorable, especially with respect to the tax attorney’s involvement throughout all phases of a case.

How to Qualify for Fortress Tax Relief

If you are interested in retaining Fortress, you must first set up an initial phone consultation with the company.

Based on its website, you need a minimum tax debt of $10,000 in order to initially qualify for Fortress’ services.

Beyond that, the company discloses no other requirements on its website. Nevertheless, the fact that a tax attorney may be involved in the initial consultation stage suggests that the company may do a more thorough evaluation of the merits of your case before deciding to take you on as a client.

Fortress Tax Relief At a Glance

Free Consultation?Yes
ServicesTax resolution
FeesBased on third-party sites and customer reviews, the fees can range from $3,100 to $4,000.
Minimum Debt Required$10,000
Turn Around TimeVaries
Refund PolicyIf requested within 24 hours of initial consultation
Dedicated Case ManagerNo (Every case is assigned to a tax attorney)
Speed of ServiceCustomer reviews show the company is responsive
Location AvailabilityAll 50 U.S. States
Phone Number(877) 777-7430

Services Offered

Fortress offers a similar menu of tax debt resolution services as other companies in this space, including:

  • Offers in Compromise
  • Installment payment agreements
  • Penalty abatements
  • Wage garnishment/bank levies
  • Innocent Spouse Relief

Unlike other tax debt relief companies, Fortress does not appear to offer any back tax filing, tax compliance and bookkeeping services. Of course, this may be in line with the firm’s selling point that all its cases are handled by attorneys; in my opinion, however, these services are also important to resolving tax liabilities and ensuring compliance in the future.

Fortress Tax Relief Fees

The company does not disclose the fees on its website, but customer reviews and third-party sites show the following:

Initial FeeNone
Resolution FeeFees can range from $3,100 to $4,200, although they can be higher depending on the case

Initial Fee

Fortress does not charge any initial or “discovery” fee to evaluate your tax situation and options to resolve your tax debt.

Resolution Fee

There is limited information on the firm’s resolution fees, although customer reviews and third-party sites show a fee range of between $3,100 to $4,200.

In at least one review, however, one former client described the company’s fees as “pricey” despite being satisfied with Fortress’ services. Another former client complained about the lack of pricing transparency, claiming that the firm requested an additional $1,500 to $2,000 of fees after she had just paid “$1,500 the day before.”

That said, these comments on the firm’s fees were far and few in between. Most reviews were favorable about Fortress’ client service and tax resolution skills without any mention of high, nontransparent fees.

How Much Could You Save with Fortress?

The amount of money you can save with Fortress depends on your specific tax debt case.

Fortress advertises itself as the only significant national tax resolution firm where all cases are handled by an experienced tax attorney – a business model that allows Fortress to deliver better results for its clients.

Indeed, this is backed by a number of reviews where former clients claimed that Fortress was able to achieve a substantial tax debt reduction on their behalf. Again, there were a few former clients that claimed that the company did nothing for their case, but these reviews were largely eclipsed by the larger pool of favorable reviews.

Fortress Tax Relief Pros and Cons

Pros

  • All Cases are Handled by a Tax Attorney: The firm promises that all cases will be handled by an experienced tax attorney. Based on this several reviews, this has allowed Fortress to achieve favorable outcomes with the IRS on behalf of its clients.
  • Client Service: Many reviewers commented on Fortress’ responsiveness during the case and its commitment to providing honest and straightforward advice on their specific tax situation.
  • No Initial fee: Unlike most tax debt relief firms, Fortress has no initial fee for evaluating your tax case.

Cons

  • Less Generous Refund Policy: Fortress will refund your money within 24 hours of your initial consultation, which is relatively less generous than other tax debt relief firms.
  • No Tax Compliance Services: The firm does not offer tax compliance services (including the filing of back tax returns) that are equally important in resolving your tax liabilities with the IRS.
  • High Resolution Fee: A few reviewers claimed that the company’s resolutions were relatively pricey.

Is Fortress Tax Relief Legit?

The reviews of Fortress are largely positive, with several reviewers praising the company’s client service and practice of assigning tax attorneys to every case.

There were a few negative comments on the company, but these reviews were eclipsed by the number of positive feedback provided by former clients.

Fortress Tax Relief Complaints and Customer Reviews

The following table lists some representative examples of reviews on the BBB website:

ReviewerIssueMy Take
JH 10/06/2020JH reached out to Fortress to help him resolve longstanding IRS/state tax issues with his business.

According to JH, Fortress’ attorney and assistant provided “solid advice” and “clear instructions” and addressed all his concerns, while keeping him in the loop every step of the way.

Ultimately, JH was happy with Fortress’ services, claiming that the company’s representation allowed him to concentrate on his business and family.
JH’s claims, if true, highlight Fortress’ high standard of client service.

For clients struggling with tax debts, the situation is often a stressful and bewildering one. That’s why it’s so important to have a tax resolution team that can guide and keep you updated throughout the entire process.

This is where a lot of tax debt relief companies go wrong –once the fee is received, they fail to communicate with the client and deliver the results promised during the consultation stage.

Ultimately, Fortress’ commitment to client service provides assurance to clients that their case is being
Andrea J. 06/14/2021Andrea reached out to the company in connection with her tax debt penalties.

During the process, she said the attorney assigned to her case was rude and talked over her. Additionally, Andrea claimed that Fortress requested an additional $1,500 to $2,000 in fees to continue her case, despite the fact that she paid $1,500 the day before.

In the end, she claimed that the company did nothing for her case, noting that she “ paid $5,400 for typing up documents and phone calls to be honest.”
If Andrea’s claims are true, they reflect a departure from other reviews praising the company’s service.

To be fair, Fortress actually responded to Andrea and claimed that the attorney’s rudeness was a result of Andrea’s missed deadlines as well as her failure to provide requested documents and pay the firm’s fees. Still, the assigned attorney could probably have handled his communications with Andrea in a better way (assuming that her characterizations of the attorney are accurate).

It is also concerning that the company requested an additional $1,500 to $2,000 in fees before proceeding with her case. Of course, tax debt relief firms are well within their rights to increase their fees if a case turns out to be more complex or expands the scope of services agreed upon in the consultation stage. Indeed, this is what Fortress asserts in its response – however, the company should have a justifiable reason for increasing the fees by this much, especially in light of her claims that she had just paid $1,500 the day before.
Melissa M. 06/11/2021Melissa engaged Fortress to help her out with her IRS tax debts, which had ballooned to over $1M+.

According to Melissa, Fortress’ attorney provided sound legal advice, was professional, and dealt directly with the IRS during her entire case.

In one specific case, she was able, with the help of her attorney, reconstruct some of her tax records to show that her actual tax liability was less than assessed.

Ultimately, she was satisfied with Fortress’ service, claiming that all liens were removed and seizures released.
Assuming Melissa’s claims are true, her review highlights Fortress’ main selling point that all cases are assigned to an experienced attorney.

During negotiations with the IRS, it is important to have an experienced tax practitioner that knows the facts, the resolution process, and what can be achieved under the tax laws.

Sadly, this is something that is missing at a lot of tax debt relief firms. For these companies, the person presenting the case to the IRS often does not have direct contact with the client and is likely dealing with hundreds of cases. As a result, they may not have the necessary attention span or preparation time to effectively represent you against the IRS.

In this respect, Fortress’ approach provides some assurance that the attorney representing you is providing a quality level of service.

Guarantee Disclaimer

Fortress will refund your money if you make the request within 24 hours of your initial consultation, which is relatively less generous than other tax debt relief firms.

Alternatives to Fortress Tax Relief

Below is a comparison of Fortress Tax Relief and other established tax relief companies:

 Fortress Tax ReliefPrecision Tax ReliefOptima Tax ReliefJackson Hewitt Tax Resolution Services
 
Free Consultation?
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
Services
  • Tax Resolution
  • Tax Resolution, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping
  • Tax Resolution, Tax Preparation
  • Tax Resolution, Tax Preparation
Fees
  • Initial Fee: None, Resolution Fee: $3,100 - $4,200
  • Initial Fee: None, Resolution Fee: $2,000 (Average)
  • Investigation Fee: $495, Resolution Fee: $1,200 - $7,000
  • Discovery Fee: $395, Resolution Fee: $1,500 (Average)
Minimum Debt Required
  • $10,000
  • $10,000
  • $10,000
  • Not Available
Turn Around Time
  • Not Available
  • Not Available
  • Not Available
  • Not Available
Refund Policy
  • If requested within 24 hours of initial consultation
  • 30-day money and service guarantee
  • 15-day back guarantee
  • Money back guarantee if requested within 30 days of the discovery phase
Dedicated Case Manager
  • No (every case is assigned to tax attorney)
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
Speed of Service
  • Not Available
  • Not Available
  • Within 24 hours
  • Not Available
Location Availability
  • All 50 U.S. States
  • All 50 U.S. States
  • All 50 U.S. States
  • Not available in Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio and Washington
Tax Relief Phone Number
  • (877) 777-7430
  • (888) 548-0478
  • (800) 536-0734
  • (800) 234-1040
 

Is Fortress Tax Relief Worth It?

In my opinion, Fortress is worth the money.

An experienced attorney is heavily involved in your case from start to finish, which allows the firm to achieve better outcomes on behalf of their clients, based on several customer reviews.

The company also earns high marks for its responsiveness and its commitment to providing honest and straightforward advice on your case.

Who Fortress Tax Relief Is Best For

Fortress is best for clients with complex tax debt cases that require frequent correspondence and negotiation with the IRS.

Who Fortress Tax Relief Is Not For

Fortress is not for people who prefer to take a hands-off approach to their cases. Based on a few reviews, it appears that the firm expects clients to comply with tax laws, meet deadlines and submit complete paperwork.

Final Thoughts

Based on my research, Fortress has a genuine commitment to helping individuals resolve their tax liabilities with the IRS (and/or state tax agency).

This commitment is evidenced by the involvement of an attorney through all phases of your case,a refreshing departure from other tax relief firms.

The company also earns high marks for its responsiveness and its commitment to providing honest and straightforward advice on your case.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Fortress Tax Relief?

    Founded in 2003, Fortress Tax Relief provides tax resolution services, including an Offer in Compromise, installment payments, and wage garnishment/bank levy removal services. The firm’s main selling point is that all cases are assigned and handled by its experienced attorneys.

  • Do tax reduction companies work?

    The answer depends on the quality of the tax debt relief firm. Some companies do genuinely help clients resolve their IRS and state tax debts.

    Still, many firms have a reputation for overpromising clients on the results they can achieve and providing poor client service overall.

    You should do your due diligence if you are thinking about retaining a tax relief firm to represent your case.

  • Are tax relief services worth it?

    If you have a small tax debt, it may not be worth it to retain a tax debt relief firm because you may be able to resolve the case yourself. If, however, your case is more complex and requires negotiations with the IRS, then a tax debt relief company may be able to help you achieve an outcome that you may not have been able to negotiate yourself.

  • How do I negotiate back taxes?

    You may be able to reduce the amount of tax debt you owe by filing an Offer in Compromise with the IRS. In order to qualify for the program, you will need to show to the IRS that you cannot pay your tax liability in full, or doing so would create financial hardship for you.

 
 

Author:

Steven Ching, J.D.

Steve Ching, J.D., covers tax topics for Money Done Right. He is a practicing tax attorney and also has several years of experience at national accounting firms. Steve is passionate about writing and helping people understand and resolve their tax issues.

Reviewer:

Logan Allec, CPA

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.

Back to top  
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments