Beware of Tax Help Scams!
The US Attorney General and Office of Professional Responsibility are doing their best to put a stop to tax help scams and many investigated companies have shut down (J. K. Harris, Roni Deutch, TaxMasters). There will be many more to take their place, but you can empower yourself with knowledge so you don't fall victim to tax help scams such as the examples below.
Tax Help Scam Red Flags: Common "Buzz Words" to Look Out For
"Pennies On The Dollar" - Tax Help giant, J. K. Harris made this saying synonymous with the tax help industry. They were later sued for false advertising, found in contempt of court and ultimately closed their doors in 2011. For actual facts about settling with the IRS, see Offer in Compromise.
"Overnight Tax Relief" - Although you will instantly feel peace of mind once you retain our tax help services, actual relief i.e. the case is solved takes time and effort. Very rarely does it happen overnight. Need fast relief from a levy or garnishment? Click here.
"$499 (or other amount less than $500) Tax Help" - If you think it's expensive hiring a professional, just wait until you hire an amateur. If a large, established tax help firm is offering a fee that sounds too good to be true, that's because it is. This tempting amount is actually a down payment for what is presented to be a flat fee. Unfortunately, their tax representatives (as well as staff) bill hourly against that number and within 60 days you will be contacted for more money. Since they've already paid, many customers feel obligated to pay again - don't fall for this tax help scam! Achievable Dream Tax Resolution offers flat fees, with financing options available.
"New IRS Programs, For a Limited Time" - the IRS has not introduced any new tax resolution options, much less for a limited time. Click here for a list of the most commonly-used tax resolution options that may work for you.
"The IRS filed a tax lien, you're going to be levied any day now, open to enforcement action, etc." - When the IRS files a tax lien, this information is public knowledge. Tax help companies pay top dollar for these lists and cold call with the hope of getting your business. Despite what the sales person tells you, they do NOT have inside knowledge about your case. Tax liens include your name, address and amount of the lien - THAT'S IT. Click HERE for more information about tax liens.
At Achievable Dream Tax Resolution, we offer REAL flat fees that are affordable and realistic. We see your tax resolution to the end and communicate with you every step of the way. Do your homework on ANY tax help company before paying a dime. You deserve the best!
TIPS FOR AVOIDING TAX HELP SCAMS:
- If you hear or read any of the above tax help scam buzz words, run the other way!
- Most companies use sales people to solicit your business. Ask to speak to a licensed tax professional, then ask your important case-related questions.
- Ask specific questions about the contract and what they expect of you as a customer. Do they charge hourly against a retainer? Under what circumstances would they ask for additional funds? Make sure their responses are in writing.
- Do your homework on any tax help firm. This can be difficult, as many more appear each day. However, you can check for reviews, ask for references, etc. Remember that an A rating with the BBB does not necessarily mean that they are not a tax help scam; a number of known tax scam artists have A ratings! The BBB even states, "BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services."
- Always read EVERYTHING you sign. Have an attorney read the contract and examine it for any fine print.
- Most importantly, listen to your instincts; if something seems amiss, it probably is. Don't be afraid of looking picky or hard to deal with - your back taxes are important and you deserve to have them resolved in a timely, professional manner. Even if the IRS is literally knocking at your door, you do NOT have to hire the first tax help company that calls you. It's worth researching every time.