When you simply do a search online, numerous companies pop up that promise to help you handle your federal tax debt. It can be difficult to determine which are legitimate companies and which ones are scams. Taking it a step further, you also might not know which one will be the best one for you among the reputable and legitimate businesses. There are some important features and characteristics to look for when you search for assistance in dealing with your federal tax debt.
Check with the BBB
You might have friends, family members, or co-workers recommending companies, but you might still not know whether or not to trust a tax resolution firm. One of the best ways to determine whether or not a company is legit is to check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB will list any problems or complaints reported to them, and it also has customer reviews. It also accredits businesses, and to earn an accreditation, a business must meet certain criteria, including working hard to resolve any complaints from consumers.
Look for Experience and Knowledge
As with any company, it is important to work with someone who has the experience and knowledge in the given field. For a tax resolution firm, this means that they have a strong education and background in the tax code. The tax code is complex and changes every year, which is one reason it is beneficial to work with a company that has tax attorneys on staff or on retainer to impart knowledge and ensure compliance. The person with whom you initially speak might not be an expert; however, you want to be sure that the person who actually takes control of your case once you sign up is a tax professional with experience. Additionally, the owner or proprietor of the company should have a background in the industry.
An important reason to work with a company with experience in tax resolution is to take advantage of their relationship with the IRS. This means that they will have a good idea about whether or not you qualify for various tax relief options, as well as the chances of a successful resolution. They also will be able to bypass some of the red tape in order to get your settlement done faster, although you should still expect the process to take months before a final resolution.
Be Careful of Guarantees and Promises
When you search for a tax relief specialist, be wary of any guarantees and promises. If a tax company provides a 100 percent guarantee that they will reduce or even remove your tax debt, especially without first going over a detailed inspection of your financial history and current situation, then they are most likely not a good company with which to work. There are legitimate ways to reduce a tax debt, but it is never a 100 percent guaranteed option. Many options might save you some of your debt or might help you to pay it off over time. A company should be honest about your chances rather than overselling the situation.
Additionally, the tax settlement process takes months to complete, and you might go through several rejections from the IRS. A company that tells you they can get it approved right away is trying to scam you. A reputable company will tell you the truth–that it is more likely to be rejected than approved the first time you submit a tax resolution request. A reputable company will continue to work your case, filing for appeals and working the IRS to find a suitable option for the situation.
Know What You Pay For
Tax relief companies charge you for their services, some of which you could do on your own. You pay for their expertise and knowledge, as well as the ability to just sit back and relax while someone else handles your problem. When you review a prospective company’s costs, it is important to know exactly for what the fees are. It is common for companies to have an initial fee and then tackle on additional costs down the line. For example, they might charge you for the appeal process without informing you about that added cost in the beginning.
It is often better to work with a company that is straightforward with its fee schedule and will not charge you additional fees down the line. For example, there is a one-time fee that covers everything until there is a final resolution–or all possible courses of action have been completed. Sometimes, these companies will warn of an additional fee, such as if you enter collective action prior to starting the process, and will be transparent and detail this upfront. It might be tempting to go with the company that charges the least, but then you might find that you end up paying much more over time.
Customer Service and Support
Another important component of selecting a tax resolution firm is the customer service and support. You are hiring someone to negotiate with the IRS on your behalf. That means that you have to trust them. It also means that you should feel comfortable talking with them and discussing your case. You will have to share very sensitive information, and it is typically a very emotional and trying time, which makes it even more important to work with a company that cares. You should also expect regular updates on your case, as well as always being asked before they take the next step with the IRS.
Although you need to act quickly to resolve your tax debt, especially if you have already received a notice of a lien or a levy, it is important to not just simply use the first company you find. Take the time to research your options and interview prospective companies before signing the contract. This ensures that you get the most out of your money, as well as increases the chance of a successful outcome. For some people, working with a tax attorney is the best solution, but for others, this is too expensive and a tax resolution firm is a much better option.
If you have questions about tax resolution and/or our companies practices, call 877-372-2520 today to speak to one of the tax professionals at Fidelity Tax Relief. We will discuss your situation and determine the best way to resolve your federal tax debt.
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