Approaching the IRS on your own can be a daunting undertaking. You may not know how to advocate for yourself when you owe back taxes or have a complicated tax debt case with which you must contend.
When you are ready to use fruitful and effective methods of resolving your complicated tax matter, you may want to hire a tax professional to advocate and guide you. You can use these strategies to find the best tax resolution service for your needs today.
As you search for a tax resolution firm to take your case, you want to look for those that have years' worth of experience in the industry. You do not want a novice firm or tax professional to gain experience at the expense of your case. You may prefer one who has been in the industry for several years if not longer.
This amount of experience benefits you because you get a tax professional who has more than likely handled cases just like yours or perhaps even cases that were more complicated. This individual also will know how the current tax laws apply to your case and will utilize them to your advantage when dealing with the IRS.
Length of Time in Business
The experience that a tax resolution firm can offer to you is directly tied to how long it has been in business. The industry standard for determining whether or not a firm is experienced or not is whether or not it has been in business for at least five years. Depending on the type of experience you are looking for, you might want to retain a company that has been in business for longer than five years.
The amount of time a tax resolution company has been in business also directly correlates with how experienced the staff are to assist clients like you with their tax matters. You have the right to ask the firm that you are interested in hiring how long it has operated. A newer company may lack the experience needed to resolve your complex tax case to your satisfaction.
Better Business Rating
Another factor you should look at before retaining the services of a tax resolution firm is its rating with the Better Business Bureau. Its BBB rating can reveal much about its professionalism and integrity.
As you are reviewing its standing with the BBB, you should examine its:
- Overall score
- Number of outstanding complaints
- Number of lawsuits filed against it
If a firm has numerous outstanding cases or complaints against it, it could be a sign that the company fails to serve its clients and resolve cases satisfactorily. You should avoid retaining the services of firms that have poor BBB scores and those with lawsuits and complaints filed against it.
Of course as a client you want the staff of a tax resolution firm to be able to assist you to your satisfaction. You should look for tax resolution companies that employ people who are licensed or certified as tax attorneys or tax resolution specialists.
They ideally should also belong to professional organizations like the American Society of Tax Problem Solvers or the Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Tax attorneys should be admitted to the state bar.
As a client, you have the right to ask a tax resolution company for references before you retain its services. It should offer you the names and contact details of people who have used its services in the past. If it refuses to give you references, you should take this as a warning sign that the company may not operate with the highest level of scruples.
Once you have the list of references, you should make contact with those individuals and ask them about:
- Their overall experience with the company
- If the company disclosed prices and fees adequately and accurately
- Any unexpected surprises that arose in their cases
- How well the terms of agreement and services were explained to them
- How professional and helpful the staff were
Based on the answers you receive, you can decide if you would like to retain the tax professionals or choose another company to consider.
A good tax resolution firm will be clear with its pricing and tell you upfront how much you can expect to pay for its services. You want to avoid firms that say they charge flat rates for their services. In reality, they could be hiding fees that you have to pay later after your case is underway.
You should ask how much the firm will charge per hour, what the tax attorney's retainer fee is, and if the firm charges for expenses like courier costs, documents preparation, and other miscellaneous fees. All of the pricing details should be provided to you in writing. They should not be subject to change without advanced notice in writing.
Some firms offer guaranteed satisfaction. In reality, a tax resolution company cannot guarantee the outcome of your case or that you will get the resolution you want from the IRS.
A good firm will tell you upfront that the outcome of your case will depend on factors like:
- How much you owe to the IRS
- The age of your debt
- Any penalties and interest you owe
- If the IRS has moved to garnish your wages or seize your assets
- If the case can be resolved with an Offer in Compromise, installment agreement, or other payment option
These factors make it challenging for any firm to guarantee how your case will be handled and resolved.
As a client, you want to hire a tax professional who will offer you personalized service. You want to stay informed and in charge of your case as it unfolds.
Personalized service allows you to meet face-to-face with the person handling your tax situation so you know the most intimate details of it well before you meet with the IRS in an audit or court hearing. You also want to know that the tax professional handling your case will answer your phone calls and emails whenever you have questions or concerns.
Your Role in the Tax Resolution Case
Finally, you want to find out what your role will be in your own tax resolution case. You should find out what the company expects from you from Day One so you can act and prepare accordingly.
You can find out these details by insisting on speaking with the tax attorney before you put him or her on retainer. You should ask how you can stay proactive in your IRS tax debt case and how you can stay informed as the case gets underway.
These criteria allow you to search for and find a tax professional or tax resolution firm that is qualified to handle your tax debt case. You will retain representation to guide and advise you as you approach the IRS. You also may get the desired outcome of your tax debt situation.