5 Important Questions to Ask Tax Resolution Firm Before Paying Them Any Money
Anytime you are dealing with the IRS or any tax issues or concerns, you want to ensure that you are getting the most sound and up-to-date legal advice. Before committing to a tax resolution firm, you need to be sure that they are professional, knowledgeable and well-informed of the latest tax laws and procedures. Before agreeing to pay for their services, you should do some research on the firm in question to determine that you are hiring a firm that is most equipped to deal with your particular tax problem or concern.
It is imperative that you get everything you discuss with the representative in writing including fees, services, details and the like. Never sign a contract or make any type of payment without first seeing the details in writing. Also, credit card information should not be provided until you are ready to commit to a firm’s tax relief services.
Below, are some important questions you should ask any tax relief firm before entering into a contract or business relationship. Take the time to research them online and to read reviews from previous clients. Most tax resolution firms offer free consultations, so you should have no problem speaking directly with a licensed tax professional, and not a salesperson, before making a decision to render their services.
Question One: Are you licensed/legally able to provide me with professional and current tax advice?
Unbeknownst to the public, a many tax relief firms hire unlicensed personnel to handle their clients Collections cases. They do not have the training, knowledge, or license to legally advise you on tax-related issues. A lot of agencies hire non-professionals to resolve IRS Collections cases, so if you are seeking professional tax relief help, always be sure that you are hiring an Enrolled Agent, Tax Attorney, or CPA (Certified Public Accountant) to actually handle the case work – these are the only three credentials authorized to represent taxpayers in front of the IRS. Even better, ask the tax relief firm if any of their tax professionals are former IRS Agents. You could end up in a great deal of trouble with the IRS if you choose to act on false information provided to you by an unscrupulous tax firm, so always take the time to make sure you are speaking directly to a licensed and qualified tax relief professional as opposed to a salesperson or other non-tax staff members.
Question Two: Are you, in fact, the person who will be handling my case?
You don’t want to divulge too much information regarding your specific issue until you are speaking with the person who will actually be handling your case. You do not want to disclose any details of your case to someone who is not trained in tax matters. The IRS will not negotiate on a case that is not handled by a CPA, EA (Enrolled Agent) or tax attorney, as stated previously, nor will it help your case if you leave it in the hands of someone who is not specifically qualified to deal with the IRS and tax laws. Always ensure a licensed tax professional is actually going to be handling your case before getting into any specifics of your issue or before handing over documentation.
Question Three: What is your BBB rating?
Always ask the representative for their current BBB (Better Business Bureau) rating. After acquiring this information first-hand, you need to verify that what they are telling you is indeed true. You should conduct an online search using the name of the tax resolution firm and the words “Better Business Bureau.” In most cases, this will lead you directly to their current BBB records. This will give you pertinent information such as their overall rating, how many years they have been in business, their licensing information and whether or not they have had any prior complaints. However, taxpayers should use caution here. Since BBB ratings have been known to be easily manipulated by unscrupulous tax relief firms, taxpayers should conduct additional online research using review sites such as Yelp, ComplaintsBoard.com, RipoffReport.com, and others. Learn about Common Tax Relief Scams and how to avoid them.
Question four: How much experience do you have in tax resolution negotiations?
Before letting someone represent your case, you need to be sure that they have actually had personal, hands-on experience with tax negotiations. Licensing and training are indeed extremely important, but they may not mean much if the person handling your case does not have actual experience in handling tax resolution negotiations. An experienced, trained and licensed tax relief professional will be able to answer any and all of your questions as well as walk you through the procedure from beginning to end. Additionally, an experienced professional will be up to date on the most recent rules and regulations set forth by the IRS.
Question Five: What services are covered in your rates and fees?
Sadly, too many tax resolutions firms are known for hidden fees or over billing their clients. It is important to know that the rate at which you are being charged in fact covers all the necessary factors for handing your specific case.
If the firm works on a retainer basis and hourly fees, you need to ask to see a current schedule of their service fees as well as a copy of their updated billing policy. You should always get the estimate that you are quoted in writing and retain this for your records.
If the firm works on a “flat fee” basis, you need to ensure that they include everything that is required to resolve your specific case. A flat fee should include, but is not limited to the following:
- Full resolution negotiation
- Removal of any existing wage garnishments or levies.
- Any and all appeal filings
- Preparation of any missing or necessary tax forms or returns
- Representation for all tax needs and periods
- Application for penalty abatement, if applicable
Not only are we licensed Tax Relief Specialists, we are also former Senior IRS Agents that now serve the best interests of taxpayers like you – all we do is handle IRS Tax Relief matters, all day, every day. Speak to us now at 1 (949) 260-4770.