We evaluated 18 tax relief companies and selected the five best choices after carefully researching each one. For our evaluations, we compared ratings from independent companies and consumers, benefits, ease of use, and fees. The tax relief companies that stood out above the rest are Community Tax, Optima Tax Relief, Tax Defense Network, Anthem Tax Services, and Instant Tax Solutions.
In this guide, we’ll provide tips for making a wise choice when choosing a company to assist with tax relief, examine the best companies in the industry and answer frequently asked questions.
Top Tax Relief Tips:
- The IRS can take up to two years to approve a tax relief settlement offer.
- If you can pay your tax debt off quickly, you may be able to set up a tax relief plan with the IRS yourself.
- Established tax relief companies employ enrolled agents, certified public accountants, and attorneys because only these professionals have the authority to represent you to the IRS.
Tips for a Wise Tax Relief Buyer
Tax relief is a broad term encompassing IRS programs designed to allow taxpayers to settle tax debts by decreasing the amount of taxes owed or dividing the debt into affordable payments. If you find you’re one of over 20% of U.S. citizens who under-withheld federal income tax, and you can’t pay the difference before the annual tax deadline, a tax relief company can work with the IRS to make your debt manageable.
What Can a Tax Relief Company Do for You?
The IRS can garnish your wages or seize property and assets to pay for income taxes you owe. If you are delinquent on paying taxes, you will first receive a letter from the IRS (never a phone call or email). A tax relief company can determine what programs you qualify for to reduce back taxes and penalties. They represent your interests while working with the IRS. After determining which tax relief laws apply to your situation, a tax relief company works to reduce your tax burden with a settlement you can afford to pay off. These companies also clear up IRS errors resulting in excess taxes or penalties and remove tax liens from property and assets.
paying back taxes affordable.
The best companies specializing in tax resolutions also help clients to manage future finances to prevent going into debt with the IRS again.
How to Choose a Tax Relief Company
While you can represent yourself to the IRS, doing so can be frustrating and stressful. But, if you can accumulate funds to pay your tax obligation within three months, try working out a deal with the IRS yourself. If your situation is more complicated, consider having the professionals at a tax relief company find the best deal available from the IRS and save time, and ultimately, money.
To choose a tax relief company, interview three or more. All of our top picks for the best tax relief companies offer free initial consultations, so you pay nothing for getting familiar with each one. Use these tips during the initial discussion to find a reliable tax resolution firm. You can also read about how to avoid tax relief scams later in this guide.
who know how to work with the IRS.
- Full fee disclosure during your first call.
- Ask how the tax professionals will determine which tax relief programs you might qualify for.
- Be sure the tax professional you would work with is a tax attorney, CPA, former IRS agent or an enrolled agent. Do not accept any other credentials.
- Take note of how the representative answers your questions during the free consultation. Is the information understandable, and is the representative willing to take the time to ensure all fees, policies, and procedures make sense to you?
Types of Tax Relief
The IRS has many tax relief options in place, but qualifying for these programs is not a simple matter. We explain the typical plans for reducing or eliminating your income tax debt below, but a specialist at a tax relief company can help you understand even more options and choose the best one for your circumstances.
|Tax Relief at a Glance|
|IRS Payment Plans||An agreement with the IRS to pay the taxes you owe within a specific time frame.|
|Currently Not Collectible (CNC)||If financial difficulties prevent you from paying income taxes, the IRS can put the liability on hold.|
|Penalty Abatement||IRS waives the penalty for failing to file a tax return.|
|Offer in Compromise||Taxpayer settles with the IRS to pay less than the full amount owed on tax liability.|
|Fresh Start||A simplified installment plan with other benefits for paying back taxes within six years or less.|
IRS Payment Plans
An IRS payment plan extends the time you have to pay off a tax liability via regular payments instead of a lump sum. These payment plans are short-term if you can pay the taxes in under 120 days. Otherwise, they are long-term. You continue to accrue penalties and interest until you pay the tax debt in full.
- Short-term plan payments are automatically deducted from a checking account or paid by check or money order. The IRS will take payments by a debit or credit card, but there are fees associated with these types of payment.
- Long-term plans allow you to spread tax relief payments over more than three months. The IRS will make automatic withdrawals from a bank account, and you’ll pay $31 to set this up. The setup fee increases to $149 to pay online, and $225 if you pay via phone, mail, or in person.
Currently Not Collectible
If you are experiencing financial hardship, the IRS may agree to list you as Currently Not Collectible (CNC) to defer your tax payments. To qualify, you must have no funds in bank or investment accounts. The IRS can establish a limit on some of your expenses, like a maximum allowable car loan payment of $400 a month, under CNC tax relief. Any future tax refund amount applies to the back taxes balance until paid, and the IRS reviews your eligibility for CNC status annually. If you remain in CNC for 10 years, the IRS will likely write off remaining taxes, penalties, and interest owed due to the statute of limitations.
You may qualify for penalty abatement if you can’t file your taxes by the annual deadline due to circumstances beyond your control, as determined by the IRS. There are three types of penalty abatement tax relief:
Reasonable Cause: The IRS may consider tragedies like a fire, natural disaster, debilitating illness, or a death in your immediate family as reasonable cause to not file your taxes on time.
First Time Penalty Abatement (FTA): If you’ve had no income tax penalties for three years, and if you file your tax return or extension by the tax deadline, you may qualify for this form of tax relief. The IRS may grant an FTA administrative waiver on penalties to assist taxpayers in good standing who don’t file taxes on time or don’t pay income taxes due.
Statutory Exception: If you get incorrect advice from the IRS, you may qualify for a Statutory Exception to have penalties waived. However, your communication with the IRS must be in writing, and you may have to provide your original request and the written correspondence you received. Unfortunately, few people have a question in writing because a phone call, email or in-person visit with a VITA volunteer are much more common.
Offer in Compromise
An Offer in Compromise allows you to settle your tax debt with the IRS and pay less than the amount you originally owe. You may be granted this tax relief if you can’t pay your entire income tax bill without creating a financial hardship. The taxing authority considers factors like your income, expenses, asset equity, and ability to pay when you apply for an OIC.
IRS Fresh Start
The IRS Fresh Start program involves a streamlined procedure for creating an installment plan for paying back taxes. Taxpayers can avoid a tax lien altogether by agreeing to set up electronic payments from a bank account on back tax balances between $25,000 and $50,000. IRS Fresh Start gives taxpayers up to six years to repay the tax debt, and more people qualify for an Offer in Compromise through this tax relief program.
Tax Relief Scams
Unfortunately, you need to be aware of scammers representing themselves as legitimate tax relief companies. These criminals prey on the taxpayer’s fear and emphasize how the IRS can put a lien on wages, property or other assets if you’re unable to pay income taxes. An example of a tax relief company scam is American Tax Relief, which cheated consumers out of $100 million. This scam was so widespread the Federal Trade Commission filed and won a case against American Tax Relief to get taxpayers’ money returned. Unfortunately, most victims of tax relief scams don’t get their money back.
Keep these tips in mind to avoid the expense of a tax relief scam:
- Be wary of companies that guarantee to reduce your debt to “pennies on the dollar” or “next to nothing” while charging very high nonrefundable fees upfront.
- Stay away from companies that guarantee tax relief without communication with the IRS or doing a comprehensive analysis of your finances.
- Never sign on with a company that doesn’t go over tax relief options, their fee structure, and refund policy in clear language.
- Ask if the tax relief company has a default billing rate, which is a flat rate applied to work completed by an employee whether or not they are a tax professional. A default billing rate can wipe out the refund you would receive if you cancel the service.
Our Search For The Best Tax Relief Companies
1. We searched an extensive list of tax relief companies.
2. We evaluated tax relief companies based on our expert-guided criteria: ratings from independent reviews and consumers, complaints, service level and more.
3. We provided you the best tax relief companies for consideration.
Tax Relief Company Reviews
After our evaluation, we chose the best tax relief companies. Each of these companies stood out from the competition: Community Tax, Optima Tax Relief, Tax Defense Network, Anthem Tax Services, and Instant Tax Solutions.
Community Tax Review
Best Budget Solution |
Community Tax, LLC provides personal and business income tax services across the U.S. with attorneys, CPAs, and enrolled agents. In addition to tax relief services, Community Tax handles tax preparation, bookkeeping, and accounting services. Community Tax helps clients resolve tax issues quickly while creating a strategy for the future to avoid dealing with the IRS or state taxation problems again.
Community Tax’s founding mission is to provide superior customer service with guaranteed tax work. The company assists consumers with tax relief solutions while being sensitive to the client’s budget.
Optima Tax Relief Review
Broadest Tax Services |
Optima Tax Relief specializes in assisting consumers who feel threatened by aggressive IRS tax collection efforts, although the company also helps with state income tax issues as well. A company representative will contact you within 24 hours of being assigned to your case. Optima focuses only on tax relief solutions, including criminal tax defense services, with over 25 years experience in the field. Optima offers all tax relief options except for asset seizure negotiation.
The tax professionals at Optima Tax Relief are prepared to dig into the details to find a resolution. They will also let you know if you can do the investigation yourself to save money. If you aren’t satisfied with Optima’s results, the company will refund your money within 15 days.
Tax Defense Network Review
Best Bilingual Service |
Tax Defense Network, in business since 2007, assists consumers with business and individual income tax preparation, tax audits, and working out a tax relief plan to lower payments. The tax professionals at Tax Defense Network have worked with over $16 billion in tax debt. Once your tax relief plan is in place, you can continue to work with the company for assistance with student loans, taxes, credit, and business finances through the MoneySolver network.
Tax Defense Network provides tax relief services to English and Spanish speaking consumers, flat fee pricing, and 24-hour customer service.
Anthem Tax Services Review
Quickest Response |
Anthem Tax Services is a mid-sized tax relief company servicing clients in all 50 states from their offices in California and Florida. The company excels at remote tax relief assistance, which usually saves clients money because there’s no hourly rate as is typical when visiting a local tax professional. The IRS and state taxing authorities do very little face-to-face communication, so handling tax-related business from a remote location is no longer unusual.
Anthem guarantees a tax professional will contact tax authorities the same day they take your case and offers a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied. Anthem Tax tax professionals are licensed to provide both IRS and state tax relief services.
Instant Tax Solutions Review
Best Guarantee |
When you first get in touch with Instant Tax Solutions, you will describe your tax circumstances to one of four consultants who have decades of experience with the IRS. This consultation is free. Instant Tax Solutions gives free advice so consumers can handle tax problems themselves if they don’t need a professional to do the job.
Instant Tax Solutions’ main office is in Idaho, but the company employs highly-trained tax professionals and tax lawyers across the country. Instant Tax Solutions has a goal of 100% customer satisfaction, inviting clients to report problems to work out a complete resolution. If you aren’t happy with the tax relief Instant Tax Solutions provides in the first 30 days, you will get a full refund.
Frequently Asked Questions about Tax Relief
How can I know which tax relief option is best for my situation?
Unless you are or have been a tax professional who keeps up with tax laws every year, it is unlikely you’ll be able to determine the optimal solution for your tax debt. It’s best for most people who face losing assets or who can’t pay the IRS for taxes and penalties to consult with a tax relief company. Legal and taxation professionals at the firm will help you determine the best way to resolve your debt.
Do tax relief companies help with current taxes as well as back taxes?
Tax relief companies can help you with tax issues from the latest year’s tax return. A reputable company will find the plans you qualify for and counsel you on the best course of action.
How much will I pay a tax relief company for services?
Tax relief companies don’t usually publish fees online since each case requires different resources depending on the client’s finances and situation. However, during our research, we found costs for professional tax relief services spanning from $750 to $5,000. The company you work with should be confident they can save you more in tax relief than you pay for their service. Some of the companies work out affordable payment plans for their fees.
Do tax relief companies require a minimum or maximum level of tax debt to work with me?
We found no maximum tax debt threshold for a tax relief company to take on a client. However, the minimum tax amount owed varies between companies. Some require you owe at least $1,000, and others set the minimum at $5,000 or $10,000.
How long does it take for a tax relief company to resolve my case with the IRS?
Trying to resolve tax issues on your own can take up to two years. While every case is different, a reputable tax relief company can narrow that window to anywhere from two to six months.
Concluding Thoughts on Tax Relief
Bottom Line: Reputable tax relief companies help you find your way out of tax-related debt and take on the stress of dealing with the IRS so you don’t have to. These firms find the best tax relief solutions for reducing back taxes and penalties and resolving income tax errors.
|Tax Relief Company||Best For|
|1||Community Tax||Best Budget Solution|
|2||Optima Tax Relief||Broadest Tax Services|
|3||Tax Defense Network||Best Bilingual Service|
|4||Anthem Tax Services||Quickest Response|
|5||Instant Tax Solutions||Best Money Back Guarantee|