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Sr. Content Manager
Edited By: Lauren Hamer
Lauren Hamer Editor
Lauren is the editor for Retirement Living focused on discussing current senior-related issues, including retirement planning, consumer protection, and health and wellness. With six years of finance and career journalism experience, Lauren has edited personal finance content for Credible, Angi, Slickdeals, Jobs for the Future, and more.
Optima Tax Relief offers a unique, two-phase approach to providing overwhelmed taxpayers with individually tailored tax relief solutions. A team of certified public accountants (CPA), enrolled agents (EA), attorneys and other qualified consultants guide clients. These experts work to address immediate consumer concerns like tax levies and to find tax relief solutions, help clients gain compliance with the IRS or state taxing authority, and provide long-term tax solutions to prevent future issues.
Ease of Resolution
Optima Tax Relief is a widely known tax relief company that provides customers a personalized approach to resolve tax liability issues.
Optima Tax Relief Review
A University of Nottingham study found anxiety and depression often go hand-in-hand with carrying debt, particularly if you struggle with paying off what you owe. These illnesses can, in turn, make it difficult to function day to day. When taxpayers owe back taxes, and the IRS is threatening wage garnishment, tax levies, and asset seizure, it’s vital to take swift action and seek assistance and protection.
Experienced team of legal and tax professionals
Two-phased approach for tax relief and compliance
Protection plan to prevent future issues
No costs published on website
Optima Tax Relief Process
Optima Tax Relief starts its process with a free, confidential phone consultation. The specialist collects some information about your tax situation and determines if you qualify for tax relief services. The representative can answer your questions and discuss cost as well. After the initial consultation, Optima Tax Relief launches their two-phase tax relief approach.
Optima Tax Relief Two-Phase Program
Phase 1: Investigation
Phase 2: Resolution
Attempt to stop wage garnishments, liens, and levies
Collect additional information and documentation about your tax situation
Explain your tax relief options
Begin communicating with the IRS
Build a case to support the agreed-upon tax relief strategy
File paperwork with the IRS to get you in compliance
Work with the IRS to get you the best possible financial outcome
Keep you updated throughout the process
Optima Tax Relief Tax Negotiation
Optima Tax Relief’s tax negotiation services are part of the second phase of the company’s Two-Phase process. Depending on your financial situation and how much you owe, Optima may negotiate to:
Spread out your tax payments over time
Get the total tax liability reduced all at once or in installments
Erase all tax liability, so you pay nothing
Keep in mind that the results of tax negotiation are contingent upon meeting strict IRS criteria related to financial hardship and other extenuating circumstances, and tax relief programs are not available for everyone.
Optima Tax Relief Solutions for Taxpayers
Optima Tax Relief has been helping clients discover programs they qualify for and other remedies to paying back taxes for over a decade. Optima may negotiate one of the following solutions for you:
Tax settlement is reaching an agreement with the IRS to pay less than the full amount you owe on your tax liability. You may pay the settled amount in one lump sum or over time in installments; then the debt is considered resolved when you make the last payment. Optima may be able to help you lower the cost of the settlement.
An Offer in Compromise involves submitting an offer with the amount you can pay to the IRS. You prove sufficient financial hardship or that the tax collection efforts are somehow unfair. If the IRS accepts your offer, you may pay a fraction of what you owe as a lump sum or installments spread out over time.
Tax penalty abatement is a tax relief program that forgives penalties accrued on back taxes when you pay off the principal amount. You need a compelling reason to qualify, such as long term unemployment, a death in the immediate family, or property loss due to a natural disaster.
Currently not collectible pauses your income tax debt if you can demonstrate sufficient financial hardship. Collection efforts suspend, although you still owe the taxes, and interest and penalties continue to accrue. Your case will be re-evaluated annually to determine if the hardship still exists. Depending on the findings of each re-evaluation, you may have to start making payments under a new plan.
Tax payment plans are usually available if you don’t qualify for other tax relief programs. You will still owe interest and penalties along with the full tax obligation with an IRS tax payment plan, but you’ll get some breathing room. The IRS offers both short term and long term payment plans.
Optima Tax Relief Protection Plan
The Optima Tax Relief Protection Plan prevents you from having future income tax problems with a three-tiered program with Basic, Individual, and Professional level assistance. Basic is for those who can file their taxes on their own. The Individual tier provides help with filing income taxes, and business owners benefit from the Professional tier. Depending on the level you choose, you’ll receive IRS account monitoring, identity theft protection, assistance during an audit, a dedicated tax professional at your disposal, tax preparation, services and more.
Optima Tax Relief Client Bill of Rights
To ensure proper standards of service, Optima published their ten-point Client Bill of Rights. This document guarantees thorough investigation of your case, transparent communication so you can make informed choices and understand all aspects of the tax relief process, and a tax professional will contact you within 24 hours of the signed contract with Optima Tax Relief. Other matters covered are treating the client with respect, confidentiality, and hearing the client out and reacting to any problems or concerns immediately.
Optima Tax Relief Costs
Optima Tax Relief does not include pricing information on its website for its tax relief services. However, an internet search revealed the initial fee after the free consultation is $495, and the average total price paid was around $4,000. In general, someone pursuing any tax relief service can reasonably expect to pay between $2,000 and $7,000 depending on the complexity of their case and how much they owe. Optima advises consumers about all their options before requiring payment for tax relief services. Optima’s Protection Plan is priced monthly at $49 for the Basic tier, $99 for Individual and $149 for the Professional level.
Optima Tax Relief Complaints
While the company boasts many satisfied customers, Optima Tax Relief has some mixed reviews. Accredited and “A+” rated by the Better Business Bureau, the company is also graded 9.5 out of 10 stars by ConsumersAdvocate and takes the third spot in the tax relief category. Yelp ratings only average out to 2.5 out of 5 stars. Most complaints are regarding overpromising a positive outcome, the lack of transparent pricing, and the inability to reach a representative when needed.
Optima Tax Relief Q&A
What sets Optima Tax Relief apart from other tax relief services? Optima Tax Relief has a team of tax professionals with over 25 years of experience. All work gets completed in-house with no cases outsourced to an unknown entity. With over $1 billion in resolved tax debt, Optima Tax Relief has extensive experience with mediating issues between taxpayers and the IRS.
In what states are Optima Tax Relief services available? Optima Tax Relief services are available nationwide. Optima can legally represent United States taxpayers living in all 50 states and abroad.
How long does Optima Tax Relief’s Two-Phase process take? Depending on the complexity of your case, the Optima Tax Relief process could take from two to 10 months. However, most cases resolve within six months.
Does Optima Tax Relief offer any guarantee? Yes, Optima Tax Relief offers a 15-day money back guarantee on their services.
Are there any tax relief services Optima does not provide? Optima Tax Relief provides representation for tax relief programs and strategies, except asset seizure negotiation.
Optima Tax Relief can help if you’re struggling with what seems like insurmountable tax debt. The company has an established reputation for taking care of customers by following the Client Bill of Rights and is prepared to assist with more tax resolution programs than other companies offer. Optima Tax Relief will assess your situation, give you options, make a plan to rescue your finances, and help you get in compliance with the IRS.
Do not ever give them your money, they must get cash upfront, b/c if by any chance you completed p1 you would not pay them. How are these still in business? They are dishonest, lazy, rude, abusive.
Their sop is: phase one -this is how it gets their first 500.00 from you. -a rude "Clerk" or high school drop out "Works w/you". -the clerk is there to get your cash--that is all. 500.00 on the way in and 4,000.00-6,000.00 on the way out. -they tell you what to click, especially when it comes "Evaluation of ot". "You must put 4 or 5 to get moved to phase 2".
You click 4 b/c you want to end this simple, useless "Clicking" stunt. Mainly you want to get away from this rude clerk. This 500.00 phase 1 does not require assistance from anyone. Your kid could fill it out. -the clerk is there to open your wallet.
Phase 2: you are ignored by everyone. You do not have a contact person. If you call for assistance the phone clerk says "You will be contacted back in 24-48 hours".
Translation: you will never hear from ot again. I have never received a call back in the 2 years I've been w/out the rip off: they send you a letter dated a month ago saying "OT has withdrawn their power of attorney and we are no longer representing you."
Your account w/ 4,000.00 in it for 2yrs is cleaned out. All your records and emails are removed from your account. Ie-they destroy/remove evidence. I demanded my money back-they have 4,500.00 dollars of mine. They said as a "Courtsey we will give you 300.00 dollars back".
They did give me a contact person. His job was to snatch as much of my deposit as possible. Ot has done no work--none. With a straight face they try to take your money--strange, dishonest people.
While working w/ Optima my tax situation got worse, a lot worse. They did not do any of their job. Stay away from them. Run like hell. Report them to all applicable agencies. Financial abuse of elders is investigating and so is a tv news show. Good luck if they have your cash. Get legal help.
June 26 2021 6:00PM
Do not pay huge fees upfront. A legitimate tax attorney is less. Optima didn't help me but kept my $9K. I do not recommend them and will continue to warn everyone that they do not return your money if you're not satisfied. The tax attorney I hired was much less expensive and wonderful to work with.
May 25 2021 2:54PM
On June 4, 2020 we began the process of working with Optima to get our 2015-2019 taxes fixed. We had filed, but we were behind payments, owed more in taxes and penalties and wanted to look for an offer and compromise.
We weren't about getting anything for free, and believe me, $5000 later, nothing is free. I sign a form, 3 months later nothing, I send emails, and I get responses like 'software issues" or the team is working or "We are waiting on the attorneys to break the case apart."
I've about had it and want to report these 'slow moving' Californians to the BBB. Today is May 25th, almost a year later....nothing, no communication, no compromise, no offer, no calls returned.
RUN! RUN! RUN! Try another agency, this one hasn't gotten their act together.
March 31 2021 9:24PM
They promised me they could help me. After 6 months of being passed around to agent to agent to agent, they said they couldn’t do anymore for me.
Funny how their results and my payments ended at the same time. They did negotiate a payment plan with the IRS which anyone can do, I’d done it myself before. $7000 for NOTHING!!!
January 23 2021 1:32AM
I contacted Optima Tax Relief on or about October 2020 and spoke to a representative named Nik who made me false promises and talked me into giving them over 90% of my SSI per month for 7 months to help me with an IRS problem.
I then had MAJOR issues getting assistance or help and never heard from Nik again. I was later put in touch with Leah who said my case had been passed to someone else who supposedly "left me a message".
I asked to cancel my services because I did not get the assistance I was promised. I was told that I could cancel but I would only get back around $1200 but I paid them over $2000.
I was told they could not help me unless I was available all the time by phone but Nik said emails were fine since I am disabled. I was LIED to and now I have been told I have until 1/28/2021 to make a decision to keep the services or accept the offer of $1200.
Optima tax relief has done NOTHING to help me with my debt at all. They are NOT available for one-on-one help as promised and in fact very condescending and threatening to me.
I feel as though I have been taken advantage of to the highest degree by vultures, using my disability against me as well as taking almost all of my income during covid-19 and refusing to reimburse me all of my funds.
If you go to the website for Business Consumer Alliance and look up the complaints, they are all VERY similar to mine and Optima Tax relief refunded all those people their money in full but not me.
I feel like they took advantage of my mental handicap and are trying to strong arm me into signing a contract for settlement or continuance. They said they received my complaint from the BCA but would NOT offer me a full refund as they did all the others.
That is discrimination at the highest level and I will NOT give up my rights or my SSI payments to them when they can't be bothered to keep promises.
August 20 2020 7:30PM
Optima has had my account for over a year. Horrible response time and has absolutely done nothing to assist with 2016 audit and 2017. Audits for both years were on miles driven for work. I use my own vehicle and not reimbursed.
I write the miles off and have all documentation along with letters from employer. Optima took over $6000 and still have not concluded the audit. 2016 was closed with no help and continuing 2017 with horrible response time and unanswered questions.
Bullhead City, AZ
September 19 2019 8:24PM
RUN!! DO NOT HIRE THESE SCAMMERS. THEY ARE LIKE ORGANIZED CRIME USING STRONG ARM TACTICS TO STOP YOU FROM WRITING REVIEWS ONCE YOU FIGURE OUT YOU'VE BEEN SCAMMED!!! DO NOT HIRE OPTIMA TAX RELIEF!!!
We fell for their scam a year ago. We hired them to become compliant with tax debt. After 13 months and $4995 plus $495, out of pocket with OTR we had our wages garnished. within weeks of paying our balance with Optima. That cannot be a coincidence. Once we inquired about a refund, then the Attack Dog "Brenda" was unleashed on us.
Once you ask for a refund you are denied contact with any other person, especially upper management; because THEY DON'T SPEAK TO CLIENTS, you're stuck with attack dog "BRENDA" her role is to intimidate you and bully you into accepting a low ball refund. Like $1000 offered to us and refused by us. We were informed that she would not be able to call back today. Well after posting many reviews on many platforms, Miss Brenda called and literally threatened me "she cannot perform her due diligence of obtaining a PARTIAL refund because of my reviews" she also asked "how many will you be writing?"
I will be writing reviews on every platform I can. Optima claims to be accredited by the Better Business Bureau, THEY ARE NOT. Please, read the reviews the negative ones are real the positive ones are FAKE. BUYER BEWARE -- CAVEAT EMPTOR.
June 08 2019 10:16AM
Our experience with Optima Tax Relief has not been favorable. Answers to basic questions dealing with our situation with the IRS have been left unanswered for weeks and the guidance we did receive on some very basic tax matters has been questionable at best. In addition, we asked for a conversation with a tax professional regarding our situation with the IRS. After three months of waiting, the requested conversation with a tax professional never occurred and we were then asked to submit a list of questions in writing. While Optima has communicated during the process, minimal progress seems to be made, regardless of the question at hand. My opinion is that the Optima Tax Relief operating model is to merely communicate with clients and really do nothing of significance behind the scenes on tax matters until a client is at a critical state with the IRS. We recently requested cancellation of our services with Optima Tax Relief and the refund of the thousands of dollars that we have paid. Their processing of this dissatisfied clients cancellation requests appears to follow same approach as our experience on tax matters: Communicating, yet doing nothing behind the scenes regarding the cancellation request. We have yet to receive a refund. I am surprised and disappointed that trusted radio personalities in this country like Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin endorse Optima Tax Relief, which is the only reason we first reached out to Optima. Given our expertise with Optima Tax Relief, we are also skeptical of their favorable Better Business Bureau rating. Our experience with Optima Tax Relief has been very disappointing.
May 30 2019 12:02AM
Optima Tax Relief, LLC is one of the biggest scammers the law is allowing to deceive poor innocent elderly people in the United States of America. Brenda **, a representative of this company has promised to return approximately $4490.00 taken from me for false representation of working with the Internal Revenue Service to settle a tax debt. They never negotiated an offer-in-compromise as promised by Lucy ** Tax Service Rep at Optima Tax Relief, LLC. The IRS has no record of this claim and I am demanding my money to be returned immediately. This is terrible, these people are stealing from innocent people who are seeking services and are ripped off daily.