Best Tax Relief Services

Updated October 2019
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Choosing the best tax relief service

Last Updated October 2019

You’ve probably heard the saying that the only certainties in life are death and taxes. Anyone who's struggling with back taxes certainly understands the latter. Taxpayers can rack up tax debt for a variety of reasons, but the IRS wants its money regardless of the cause. Facing tax debt and the struggle to repay it can be extremely stressful, but a tax relief service may be able to help.

Tax relief services are staffed by tax professionals that act on your behalf to sort out the complexities of your debt situation. For a fee, they negotiate with the IRS to find a resolution that may include setting up an affordable payment plan, stopping liens and wage garnishments, or reducing the amount owed.

Don’t let finding a reputable tax relief service stress you out as much as your tax debt. BestReviews has made the process easier with our shopping guide, so read on for more information about tax relief services and how to find one that will help you get your financial situation back on track.

Experience counts when it comes to understanding tax debt. That’s why many trusted tax relief companies offer information about the number of years they have been in business or the number of clients they have helped achieve successful outcomes.

Considerations

What can happen if I don’t find a solution to my back taxes?

There a number of reasons taxpayers end up with tax debt. Failure to file in a timely manner, not understanding how taxes work or getting inaccurate advice when filing, not paying taxes owed in a particular filing period, and not being able to pay the full amount owed to the IRS are common reasons individuals get behind on taxes. Interest and penalties charged by the IRS can make matters worse, leading to an ever-increasing tax bill.

In many cases, a tax relief service can help when back taxes get out of hand. However, the situation only gets worse if the problem is ignored, including the possibility of IRS taking recourse with one or more of these options.

  • Adding failure-to-pay penalties and interest that add up each month, increasing the tax debt balance

  • Garnishing wages from your paycheck

  • Placing liens on your property that aren’t lifted until you pay

  • Seizing your property if you fail to pay your taxes, often referred to as a levy

What will a tax relief service do to assist me in resolving my debt?

The ways that the IRS can collect money are unquestionably frightening. After all, many people can’t afford to lose a portion of their paychecks or property. The good news is that a tax relief service can help prevent or reverse these issues through a variety of tools.

  • A tax relief service can structure an affordable repayment plan. Based on your income and available resources, a tax relief service can work with you and the IRS to set up an installment agreement with payments you can afford. However, penalties and interest will continue to be added to the amount you owe.

  • A tax relief service can eliminate the threat of liens and levies. Once you get back on track and the IRS sees that you have a plan in place to pay the money you owe, liens can be released, which eliminates the threat of property seizure.

  • A tax relief service can remove the threat of wage garnishment. Garnishments on your paycheck can be lifted when you begin making affordable payments on your debt through a tax relief service.

  • A tax relief service can help abate penalties. Individuals who have experienced hardships may qualify to have penalties on their back taxes reduced or eliminated.

  • A tax relief service can help reduce the amount of back taxes owed. Some individuals who are experiencing major hardships would be negatively impacted by having to pay back the entire amount owed to the IRS. Furthermore, some people are not able to pay back any amount of money. In such cases, an Offer in Compromise that reduces or eliminates the amount owed may be the answer. However, this option requires extensive documentation of assets, circumstances, earnings, and other factors to prove inability to fully repay the tax debt.

Some tax relief services return fees to clients that they are unable to help through negotiations with the IRS. This perk offers peace of mind to those who are already stressed about their financial situation. However, be sure you understand the terms before you chose a tax relief service, as each one has different policies regarding fees.

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BestReviews

Features of tax relief services

Tax experts

Reputable tax services employ professionals in the field to work with clients. Licensed enrolled agents (EAs), certified public accountants (CPAs), and tax attorneys are knowledgeable experts in tax law who know how to work with the IRS on your behalf to find the best outcome possible.

Accessibility

Proprietors of tax relief services understand that their clients lead busy lives. That’s why many companies are staffed 24/7 to answer your questions and work on your case.

Fees

The price you’ll pay for a tax relief service to be the liaison between you and the IRS depends on several factors. It could cost as little as a few hundred dollars for negotiation of a minimal amount of tax debt or for an agreement to abate penalties. However, you can expect to pay between $1,500 and $5,000 on average — and as much as $7,000 or more for a difficult case involving more than $50,000 in back taxes.

When it comes to paying for tax relief service, different companies have different fee schedules. Some services expect an up-front payment before beginning work on a case. While it’s usually a flat fee, additional amounts may be charged during the process if unforeseen issues arise. Some tax relief services also charge fees based on the amount owed or the time it takes to settle a case from start to finish.

Free consultations and quotes

If you are concerned about the amount you’ll have to pay to work with a tax relief service, don’t be. Quite a few companies offer free consultations and quotes before you get started. Think of this as a first step to see what it would be like working with the company and to understand how much more you’d have to pay to get your tax debt situation under control.

EXPERT TIP

One highly important indication that a tax relief service is reputable is an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Wage garnishment is one way the IRS can recover tax debts. If you are in danger of having your wages garnished, tax relief service professionals can negotiate a plan to satisfy the IRS and prevent this from happening.


Staff  | BestReviews

Common mistakes to avoid

Mistake #1: You fail to check credentials before hiring a tax relief service

Before you sign up with a tax relief service, the first step you take should be to make sure it is staffed with qualified tax professionals. As we discussed, only tax attorneys, CPAs, and enrolled agents have the qualifications to deal with back taxes in a reputable way. If a company doesn’t have certified or licensed tax experts available to assist you, move on to the next service. Otherwise, you could end up paying fees for poor advice that may even make your debt situation worse.

Mistake #2: You don’t provide thorough information about your situation

Don’t assume the representatives at a tax relief service can get all of the details they need about your situation from the IRS. Instead, provide any correspondence you’ve had with the IRS, as well as the details of your circumstances. For example, if you’ve had a major illness or job loss that led to you getting behind on your taxes, discuss these factors with a tax service representative. The IRS takes hardships into account for certain relief options.

Mistake #3: You don’t ask the necessary questions to fully understand your options

Consumers with tax debt are understandably stressed, confused, and fearful about the ramifications and potential outcomes that could occur. These emotions can put you at a disadvantage if you feel too overwhelmed to ask questions. Talk about your concerns with a representative before you choose a tax relief service. Ask which relief services are best for your particular situation, and gather information about the fees you can expect to pay.

Tips

  • Be proactive. If you know your tax situation is becoming unmanageable, don’t wait until you are hit with wage garnishments and liens to reach out for professional help to deal with the amount of money you owe the IRS. The situation is not going away until you confront it, and will only get worse if you don’t.

  • Be patient. The tax relief service you hire will have to go over your documentation and negotiate with the IRS on your behalf, which can be a lengthy process. As a rule, the more you owe, the longer the process takes. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t eventually get an outcome that works for your situation and budget.

  • Sometimes, the solution is simple. If you don’t owe a lot of money or you have extreme personal circumstances that led to you being late of your tax payments, a tax relief service may be able to negotiate a payment plan or have the penalties on your late taxes abated.

  • Learn from past mistakes. Most take relief services offer advice and resources to guide you in managing your taxes in the future and prevent you from incurring more tax debt going forward.
Tax relief services aren’t just for individual taxpayers. Business owners that have racked up tax debt can also benefit from the assistance of tax relief professionals.

FAQ

Q. Will I go to jail if I don’t pay my back taxes?

A. No, you won’t be sentenced to jail due to tax debt. However, it is possible to end up with a serious fine or a jail term for purposely avoiding paying your taxes by not filling each year.

Q. Will I still be subject to interest and penalties on the amount I owe after working with a tax relief service?

A. Unfortunately, as long as you owe money to the IRS, interest will accrue on your account. You will also pay penalty fees based on what you owe. However, the elimination of some penalties may be possible in cases of major life circumstances that have made repayment difficult.

Q. Can a tax relief service always reduce the amount of back taxes a customer owes?

A. No. You’ll have to provide extensive information about your income and assets to the tax relief service that is negotiating your debt. If the IRS deems that you can make payments on an installment agreement, you won’t be granted an Offer in Compromise that would lower the tax debt you owe.

Q. How much tax debt do I have to owe in order to hire a tax relief service?

A. Although the total amount owed to qualify for tax relief varies from service to service, it’s typical for a company to place the minimum debt at $10,000.

The team that worked on this review
  • Connor
    Connor
    Marketing Analyst
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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