TaxRise Review 2023: A Tax Attorney’s Honest TakeTax Relief
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- Basics: Based in Irvine, California, TaxRise helps individuals and businesses alike with their IRS and state tax debts.
- Pros: TaxRise requires a minimum tax debt of $5,000 to work with you, which is relatively lower than its competitors.
- Cons: Several reviewers complained about the company’s failure to return phone calls/emails and lack of expertise in resolving tax debts. The company also has a vague guarantee policy.
- MINIMUM DEBT:
- LOCATION AVAILABILITY:
All 50 U.S. States
- INITIAL FEE:
- YEAR fOUNDED:
TaxRise is a relatively new company in the tax relief space, having first opened its doors in 2017. Despite its short history, the company claims it has helped its clients save over $132 million in tax debts and has leveraged cutting-edge technology to revolutionize the tax relief process.
But does TaxRise’s tax resolution services match its rhetoric? To find out, I decided to do some in-depth research on the company’s services and customer reviews. Below is what I found.
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How Does TaxRise Work?
TaxRise advertises a two-phase process for resolving your tax debts on its website:
The process involves a tax discovery and resolution stage, which are described in further detail below.
Phase I: Tax Discovery
If you want to retain TaxRise’s services, the first step under the tax discovery phase is requesting a free consultation with one of the company’s “tax experts.”
Based on the website, this expert will be able to determine your eligibility for tax relief within 15 minutes and explain the next steps in your case. After initial contact, a so-called “tax investigation specialist” will obtain your IRS file/notices and determine the options best suited for your case. This investigation will supposedly culminate in a “case discovery analysis,” where a tax resolution specialist will determine the best option forward, which he or she will review with you and present for your approval.
TaxRise’s approach does sounds thoughtful and professional, but the client reviews seem to undermine this impression..
For example, one former client claimed that, in the initial stages, “[t]hey will go above and beyond to reassure you that you are an excellent candidate for the fresh start initiative and list why.” However, she cautioned that the “tax experts” are “trained well to hook you.” Specifically, upon signing with TaxRise, the client found a “highly disorganized” company where it was hard to reach anyone, where the database to upload documents was constantly malfunctioning, and where the company frequently sent automated emails/texts with erroneous schedules and times. Ultimately, the client claimed that he paid a $7,500 fee to the company just to get on a payment plan with the IRS.
I have no way of knowing whether Ashley’s claims and others like it are accurate. However, if her review is true, her experience contradicts TaxRise as a competent and thorough tax relief firm. Rather, her review paints a picture of a company that will do and say anything to get you to sign up for its services without actually delivering quality tax resolution services.
Phase II: Tax Resolution
Once you approve the proposed option for your case, the next step in the process is the tax resolution phase. During this stage, the company claims it will file any past-due tax returns and submit the proposed resolution to the IRS. The company will also supposedly detail your post-resolution tax obligations to ensure your continued compliance with the IRS.
Again, these steps seem sensible, but several client reviews do not back up the company claims. In one review, for instance, one former client complained that “[the company] mislead[s] you about the very small chance of getting the tax savings program.” Despite the company’s promises and paying $4,000 in fees, the client claimed that all the company did was propose an installment plan that the client could have done himself.
Mwandishi’s experience, if true, is a far cry from what the company promises during the tax resolution phase. His review also suggests that the company invests substantially in salespeople to get you to sign up for its services rather than prioritizing the quality representation that is needed to successfully resolve your case.
How to Qualify for TaxRise Relief
As mentioned above, the first step in the process is requesting a free tax consultation with TaxRise to go over your case.
Based on its website, TaxRise requires a minimum tax debt of $5,000 to work with you, which is relatively lower than its competitors.
Beyond that, the company discloses no other requirements on its website.
TaxRise At a Glance
|Fees||Based on BBB client reviews, the fees can range from $2,700 to $7,500|
|Minimum Debt Required||$5,000|
|Dedicated Case Manager||Yes|
|Speed of Service||3 - 8 months|
|Location Availability||All 50 States|
|Phone Number||(833) 419-7473|
TaxRise provides similar tax resolution services as its competitors, including the following:
- Offer in Compromise
- Installment Agreements
- Currently Not Collectible Status
- Penalty Abatement
The company also offers tax preparation/compliance (including back tax filings) to individuals.
TaxRise does not disclose the estimated costs of its services. Instead, the company includes the typical disclaimers on its websites that fees are determined on a “case-by-case basis” and dependent on your tax liability situation and the relief program you pursue.
However, based on client reviews, the estimated fees are as follows:
|Discovery Analysis Fee||$500+|
|Resolution Fee||$2,700 to $7,500 (Can Be Higher Depending on the Case)|
Discovery Analysis Fee
The company charges a “discovery analysis” fee of approximately $500. This fee covers the company’s initial review of your case and evaluation of the best option to resolve your tax debts.
Based on several client reviews, the total resolution fees ranged from $2,700 to $7,500, which is generally in line with the fees at other tax relief firms.
Despite this, many clients reported being scammed by the company and believed that TaxRise was ultimately not worth the money. In addition, in at least two reviews, the clients claimed they were quoted resolution fees of $12,000 by the company.
How Much Could You Save with TaxRise?
The amount of money you can save with TaxRise depends on your specific tax debt case.
On its website, the company advertised that it was able to substantially reduce its clients’ tax debts.
However, several reviews on the BBB website paint a different story. Specifically, the former clients in these reviews claimed that the company did nothing to advance their case once the fees were paid or negotiated an installment plan that they could have done themselves.
TaxRise Pros and Cons
- Low Minimum Required Debt: TaxRise requires a minimum tax debt of $5,000 to work with you, which is relatively lower than its competitors.
- Poor client service: Several reviewers complained about TaxRise’s failure to return phone calls/emails or provide updates on their cases after receiving its fees.
- Lack of Expertise: Based on a number of reviews, the company lacked the expertise to successfully resolve their clients’ tax debt cases.
- Guarantee Policy: TaxRise has a vague money-back guarantee policy that arguably is not a guarantee at all.
Is TaxRise Legit?
TaxRise has a 3.79 (out of 5.0) rating on BBB, but has a number of negative client reviews. Notably, the company has responded to and closed 200 complaints over the last three years. Below is a representative sample of the negative reviews on the BBB website.
|Reviewer||Issue||My Take (Assuming Reviewer’s Claims are True)|
|Duane and Paulette P.
|Duane and Paulette reached out to TaxRise to help with their California tax debts.
According to the former clients, the company failed to do anything for their case for two years, even though they paid all its fees.
Interestingly, TaxRise representatives initially tried to negotiate with the IRS, despite the fact that Duane and Paulette only had state tax debts with the California tax agency. Even when the company did turn its attention to their California tax debts, the former clients claimed the company representatives “revealed their lack of interest, lack of knowledge, lack of enthusiasm, and lack of effort” for resolving their case.
Ultimately, after a year upon retaining TaxRise, Duane and Paulette claimed the company proposed a settlement offer of exactly what they owed in the first place, with monthly payments they could not afford.
|Duane’s and Paulette’s experience, if true, is concerning.
First, the fact that TaxRise attempted to negotiate with the IRS even though they did not have federal tax debts frankly shows the company’s incompetence in managing the case and representing clients before the IRS and/or state tax agencies.
Additionally, the clients also claimed that the company left them in the same (or even worse) position with the California state tax agency than they were before. To be fair, not most individuals qualify for certain tax debt reduction programs such as the Offer in Compromise. That said, a good tax advisor would disclose this possibility upfront.
However, the fact that Duane and Paulette expressed surprise at TaxRise’s proposed settlement (especially at a monthly payment they could not afford) suggests that the company either did not disclose the difficulty of qualifying for tax relief or over-promised the scope of their relief during the consultation stage.
|Sandie K 06/06/2022||Sandie retained TaxRise to help resolve her tax debts with the IRS.
She claimed that, during the process, the company provided poor client service, including a failure to respond back to messages for days, changing her case manager over 6 times, and not being able to field questions about her case.
Ultimately, due to TaxRise’s lack of responsiveness and expertise, the Offer in Compromise that the company was filing on her behalf did not “go through.” The client then claimed she reached out to a tax attorney, who informed her that her case could not even qualify for OIC relief.
|Sandie’s review, if true, is troubling. TaxRise advertises a comprehensive investigation and resolution of your case on its website, but Sandie K’s experience and other reviews paint a vastly different story. That is, the company provides poor client service and/or routinely ignores your case once it receives the fee.
The fact that Sandie learned that her case could not even qualify for OIC relief also suggests that the company sold her on tax reduction relief without properly evaluating whether her case even qualified for such relief.
|Sandy C. 04/28/2022||Sandy hired TaxRise to help resolve her tax debts. To pay the company’s fees, she paid $750 upfront and took out two loans totaling $15,000 from TaxRise’s financing arm, which she agreed to repay with payments of $700 per month.
Despite these steep payments and months of going back and forth, TaxRise surprised the client by informing her that it could do nothing to lower her tax debts.
Sandy also claimed that the company essentially told her to call the IRS to negotiate a payment plan herself. According to the client, the company then subsequently dropped her as a client.
|Sandy’s experience, if true, is quite disturbing.
Despite charging her extremely high fees, the company essentially did nothing for her case. This is perhaps best exemplified by TaxRise’s request that Sandy call the IRS to negotiate a payment plan herself.
To be fair, very few individuals actually qualify for tax reduction relief programs, and the company should be upfront about this. However, the company appeared to fail at disclosing this possibility, given Sandy’s surprise that the company’s response that it could do nothing for her case.
Even if the company did disclose this to the client, TaxRise’s fees of over $15,000 seem steep and unreasonable, especially since the company ultimately came to the conclusion that it would not be able to lower her tax debts.
On its website, TaxRise provides a money back guarantee if the company does not enroll the client in a tax resolution program. As currently stated, the guarantee is quite vague. Does a “tax resolution program” include an installment plan? If so, the company is arguably not guaranteeing anything at all, given that it is somewhat easier to get the client on an installment plan with the IRS (or applicable state tax agency).
Alternatives to TaxRise
Below is a comparison of TaxRise and other established tax relief companies:
|TaxRise||Choice Tax Relief|
|Tax Defense Network||Anthem Tax Services|
|Minimum Debt Required||
|Dedicated Case Manager||
|Speed of Service||
|Tax Relief Phone Number||
Is TaxRise Worth It?
In my opinion, TaxRise is not worth the money.
Several reviewers commented on the company’s poor client service and lack of expertise to actually steer the clients to a successful resolution. Additionally, based on a number of reviews, TaxRise employed aggressive marketing tactics and oversold what clients could qualify for without actually properly vetting their cases.
Who TaxRise Is Best For
TaxRise is best for clients who have simple cases, low tax amounts and prefer a more hands off approach on their case.
Who TaxRise Is Not For
TaxRise is not for individuals who have more complex cases with high tax debts. Based on a number of reviews, the company lacked the expertise and/or resources to respond to client inquiries and provide quality representation before the IRS (and/or state tax agency), which could potentially put you in a worst position than before (e.g., interest/penalties continue to accumulate while the company is ignoring or mishandling your case).
As mentioned above, several former clients complained about TaxRise’s poor client service and lack of expertise at resolving tax debt cases. If these client reviews are accurate, these negatives any positive attributes of the company.
The Best Tax Relief Companies
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Frequently Asked Questions
- Is TaxRise a legit company?
TaxRise has received over 200 complaints on BBB over the last 3 years and has several negative reviews of its services. Based solely on these complaints and reviews, TaxRise does not seem to provide quality tax resolution services.
- Is the IRS offering a Fresh Start program?
Contrary to what some tax relief firms advertise, the Fresh Start program was an IRS initiative in 2011 to relax taxpayer requirements to qualify for Offer in Compromise tax relief.
- Can I negotiate with the IRS myself?
Any taxpayer with federal tax debts can negotiate with the IRS by themselves. However, if your case is more complicated, it may be advisable to work with a reputable tax advisor to help navigate and resolve your tax debts.
- Who Owns TaxRise?
Essam Abdullah is the founder and current CEO of TaxRise. He founded the company in 2017, which is headquartered in Irvine, California.
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.
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.