There are many reputable tax relief organizations that work hard to provide overstretched American taxpayers with actionable solutions to their back tax problems. Top Tax Defenders is proud to be one of the country's most effective, transparent tax relief organizations. For more information about our past and present successes, please review our Tax Resolution Success Rate page.
Unfortunately, not all so-called tax resolution companies adhere to the same rigorous standards. Some are downright unscrupulous. Now that the Internet makes it easy for scammers and criminals to paint themselves as reputable, aboveboard organizations, it is more important than ever for consumers to learn how to spot a tax relief scam. While we understand the urgent need for struggling taxpayers to find relief from their financial problems, we strongly encourage our readers to take the time to evaluate any offers of assistance from new or unproven outfits.
While it is crucial for taxpayers to learn how to spot tax resolution companies that make outlandish promises or simply fail to perform agreed-upon services, more aggressive tax "ripoffs" are common as well. In the recent past, taxpayers have received calls from individuals who pose as IRS officials and ask for highly personal information like Social Security numbers, bank account passwords and credit card numbers. Some threaten their targets with immediate financial penalties like wage garnishments, bank account freezes and forced tax levies.
Many of these calls originate from foreign call centers that use VOIP technology to route calls through U.S.-based telephone numbers. Taxpayers should be on the lookout for callers who refuse to identify their roles or who seem to be using aliases. Additionally, taxpayers should understand that the IRS does not attempt to collect back taxes from individuals who are in the process of negotiating tax settlements with the agency. If you are currently working with TTD to resolve your tax problems, you should not be receiving calls from the IRS's collections department.
If you receive a suspicious phone call from someone who purports to work for the IRS or navigate to a tax relief website that does not seem to be aboveboard, refrain from giving out any personal information or answering any invasive questions. The IRS never asks for sensitive data like PINs or passwords.
While it might be easy to recognize aggressive tax scams like these, it is harder to spot tax resolution firms that can't make good on their promises. Businesses that work with industry experts and former tax collection professionals tend to produce better results than firms that lack experienced staffs. Also, look for confirmation of past success and transparency.
At TTD, we are proud to provide real tax relief services to a wide variety of individual taxpayers and business owners. To learn more about our services and schedule a consultation with a tax relief professional, please call us at 1-866-866-1555 or complete our on-site contact form.
While Top Tax Defenders is not the only reputable tax resolution firm out there, it shares the increasingly crowded tax relief marketplace with dozens of sketchy, unproven or downright criminal organizations. Some of these companies engage in tax schemes and illegal tactics that we describe on our Tax Scams page. Others take shortcuts that can create headaches for unsuspecting customers. Still others make outlandish promises or misrepresent the quality, scope and effectiveness of their services.
More than a few of these companies have paid the ultimate price for their transgressions. The following list of defunct tax resolution companies includes several high-profile organizations that advertised heavily on TV, in print and online before going out of business.
After just a few years in operation, American Tax Relief was hit with a fine of over $100 million for intentionally misrepresenting its services and making false claims about successful outcomes to previous cases. The firm's owners were held personally liable for the bulk of this amount, and their 2013 settlement included an agreement to surrender nearly $20 million in assets that had been purchased with American Tax Relief's ill-gotten gains.
During the 2000s, TaxMasters aggressively marketed its services on cable television and amassed tens of thousands of clients. While the firm did provide some legitimate tax relief services, its founder and employees pressured customers into signing unfavorable contracts that they did not fully understand and consistently misrepresented their abilities to resolve specific tax issues.
Among other charges, TaxMasters was found to have lied about its no-refunds policy. Its contracts also included a "buried" stipulation that required customers to pay for its services in full before beginning its tax resolution program. Despite a public stock exchange listing and a slick advertising campaign, TaxMasters was held liable for $195 million in damages and filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
Roni Deutch, a high-profile California attorney who marketed herself as the "Tax Lady," continues to fight a $34 million lawsuit against her now-closed tax resolution company. Like TaxMasters, Ms. Deutch's company engaged in high-pressure sales tactics and refused to provide refunds to dissatisfied customers. Ms. Deutch was also hit with serious allegations that she directly violated a court order by overseeing the destruction of pertinent evidence.
In 2007, J.K. Harris settled a class action lawsuit for $6 million in a South Carolina court. The now-defunct tax resolution company continues to deal with a number of outstanding legal complaints that focus on its tendency to misrepresent the qualifications of its customer service representatives. Former customers have also complained that J.K. Harris would accept upfront payments without performing the services outlined in its contracts.
Top Tax Defenders is committed to operating in a transparent, forthright manner. We are serious about helping our clients find solutions to their tax problems and strive to provide honest guidance and advice throughout the tax resolution process.
For more information about the tax relief methods that set us apart from these defunct tax resolution companies, call us at 1-866-866-1555 or use the online contact form to get in touch.
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