What Are Tax Relief Services?
How to Get Help With IRS and State Tax Issues
Tax relief services help you deal with IRS and state tax problems. A tax relief specialist helps you find the best options for your situation so that you can put the stress behind you and move on with your life.
Navigating these issues on your own can be complicated and time-consuming. To make it even worse, the IRS and the state tax agencies all have different rules and relief options. But there is help available.
If you owe back taxes, have unfiled returns, are facing an audit, or dealing with other tax issues, you need a tax attorney who can tailor their services to your unique needs. That’s us. At the W Tax Group, we work hard to understand our clients’ unique tax problems, and then, we help them find the very best solution for their needs. To get help now, contact us today.
Who Provides Tax Relief Services?
Tax lawyers, certified public accountants (CPAs), and enrolled agents (EAs) provide tax relief services. These individuals have all taken courses and passed tests demonstrating their knowledge of the tax code. They can all file forms and communicate with the tax agency on your behalf, but only tax attorneys can represent you in tax court.
There are a small number of big firms that dominate the tax relief industry. These firms have lawyers, CPAs, and EAs on staff, but they’re primarily run by sales and marketing teams. When you search for tax relief services online or if you look at articles about the best tax relief firms, you will see the same handful of firms popping up over and over again.
The “Best” Nationwide Tax Relief Firms
That does not mean these companies are the best. It means they sink a lot of money into advertising. They actually pay for the top spots or offer big commissions to get positive ratings on review websites.
When you call these firms, you won’t speak directly to a tax professional. Instead, you’ll talk to a salesperson. Their job is to get you to sign up for services, and to make that happen, they’ll often tell you that you can qualify for programs that you can’t.
A big seller with these firms is the offer-in-compromise program. That’s when the IRS reduces your tax bill and lets you settle for less than you owe. It’s absolutely a legitimate program, and at our firm, we’ve helped a lot of clients settle for pennies on the dollar.
But here’s the problem with the big firms. They push these settlements in their advertisements to get people to call in. Then, they tell people that they can qualify for a settlement without learning about their situation, and finally, they charge big sums of money for services that they can’t necessarily deliver. This has been happening for decades, and many of the nation’s biggest firms have gone out of business in the wake of lawsuits and fraud charges.
The Local Difference
So, what’s the alternative to a big nationwide firm? A small local tax attorney, CPA, or EA. You may be thinking, of course, that’s what I’m going to read here. After all, I’m on the website of a small local tax attorney firm.
However, that’s not just our opinion. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says the very same thing. This is the government agency dedicated to protecting consumers from poor business practices. Its website very clearly explains the issues with the big tax relief firms. Then, it advises taxpayers to work directly with the IRS or hire a local tax professional.
The IRS has a lot of self-service tools to help people deal with their tax problems on their own. For instance, if you want to set up payments for a small tax debt or ask the agency to remove some penalties, you can probably do that on your own.
However, the truth is that most people aren’t even comfortable filing their own tax returns, so they’re probably not going to want to deal with tax problems on their own. That’s a situation where you need to start calling in the pros.
How to Select a Tax Pro for Relief Services
Whether you’re committed to calling small local firms or still curious about the national firms, here’s what you should consider when making your choice:
- Tax problem experience — Does the firm have experience with your specific issue? For instance, if your business is being audited, you need someone who has experience with business audits. If the IRS has threatened to take your home, you need someone who has experience stopping levies.
- Tax agency experience — All tax firms have experience with the IRS but state tax problems are more specific. If dealing with a state tax issue, look for someone based in your state or who has experience dealing with your state tax agency.
- Professional credentials — Who will be handling your case? Will a tax lawyer, CPA, or EA be working on your file? Or will an assistant with less training and experience be working the case?
- Point of contact — Will the firm provide you with a dedicated case manager to act as your point of contact? Or will you just be a file in their customer relationship management (CRM) system? Will you get to work with someone devoted to your case? Or will you be forced to talk with a different person every time you call for a status update?
- Customer testimonials — What do previous clients say about this firm? Can the firm share any testimonials from clients who had similar issues as yours?
- Overpromising — The FTC says that overpromising is a big red flag. Once you tell an experienced tax pro a bit about your situation, they should be able to give you guidance about the best resolution option for your situation. However, if someone promises that you can get a certain resolution and they don’t know anything about your finances, that’s a red flag.
When talking with different companies, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Remember you’re paying for a service, and you need to ensure that the service provider is a good fit.
Problems That Require Tax Relief Services
Individuals and businesses need tax relief services for many different reasons. They generally reach out for help in the following situations.
- Unpaid taxes that they can’t pay in full.
- IRS and state tax audits.
- Tax penalties.
- Tax liens.
- Wage garnishments.
- Bank levies.
- Asset seizures.
- Unfiled tax returns.
Often, people deal with more than one issue at a time. For instance, you may need help filing unfiled returns, applying for penalty abatement, and requesting a payment plan for your back taxes. A high-quality tax attorney will help you create a multi-pronged solution to your multi-layered tax problem.
DIY Tax Relief
If you want to handle tax relief services on your own, the number one thing to consider is your comfort level. Do you understand the problem? Do you feel comfortable handling it on your own? Will you save money by handling it on your own? If you can answer yes to all of these questions, you can (and probably should) handle your tax issue on your own.
Here are a few examples. Say that you owe less than $10,000 in income tax debt, and you know that you can afford to pay $200 a month until it’s all paid off. Then, you can easily go online and request a payment plan. Or, imagine that you incurred $300 in fees but you’re normally compliant with all tax laws. Then, you may just want to call the IRS on your own and request first-time penalty abatement.
However, if you’re not comfortable handling the issue on your own, you should reach out for help. Professional help is particularly important when you’re dealing with large sums of money or the IRS is threatening extreme collection actions against you. In these situations, the expertise and peace of mind you get from hiring a pro greatly outweigh the cost. In fact, people often save money by hiring a tax relief professional.
Types of Tax Relief Services
When you hire a tax relief professional, they’ll help you find a solution that solves your tax problem and works with your budget. They’ll also help you present your application in a way that improves your chances of approval. In contrast, when you work directly with the IRS, the agent may push you into liquidating all of your assets and devoting all of your disposable income to your payment plan or settlement.
A tax professional works on your behalf, and they help you find a solution that doesn’t completely strain your finances. Here are the main types of tax relief:
- Installment agreements — Individuals and closed businesses pay at least $25 per month for up to six years until the tax debt is paid off. Businesses that are still operating can generally only get approved if they owe less than $25,000 and can pay off the debt in less than two years.
- Offers in compromise — The IRS lets you settle for less than you owe, but you must prove that the offer is based on your available asset equity and disposable income. A tax professional helps you deal with subjectivity in the application process.
- Partial payment installment agreements — You make monthly payments until the IRS collection period expires, and then, the IRS settles the remaining balance. You may need to update your financial records every two years to ensure that you still qualify. If your finances improve, the agency can demand full payment.
- Currently not collectible status — You prove that you can’t afford to pay, and the IRS leaves you alone until your finances improve. You don’t have to worry about wage garnishments or other collection actions being taken against you.
- Innocent spouse relief — You establish that the tax problems are the fault of your spouse and that you had no reason to know about them. Or you prove that your spouse coerced you into signing a return with false information. Then, the IRS only holds you responsible for your portion of the tax debt, not your spouse’s.
- Penalty abatement — Upon your request, the IRS removes or reduces the penalties from your account. You can be eligible based on reasonable cause (death, serious illnesses, disaster, etc) or because it was a first-time offense.
- Audit representation — A tax professional helps you communicate with the IRS or state during a tax audit. They help you decipher notices, provide documents to support your originally filed return, and deal with other aspects of the audit process.
- Tax appeals — A tax attorney appeals a tax assessment based on the results of an audit or due to changes the IRS made to your return. They can also help you appeal proposed collection actions such as wage garnishments or seizures.
You may have heard about the IRS Fresh Start program. Why isn’t that on the list? It’s because the Fresh Start Initiative is not an IRS relief program. Instead, it’s a set of laws that the IRS passed over a decade ago. The laws made it easier to set up payment plans and obtain offers in compromise. The debt tax relief industry jumped on this phrase, and they continue to use it in their marketing materials today.
The bottom line is that the Fresh Start changes made it easier to get relief, and since then, the IRS has introduced even more initiatives to help people get relief from their tax problems. When you work with us, we will help you get a “fresh start” with the IRS, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be applying for the Fresh Start program. It just means that we’ll help you take advantage of the programs created by that law and newer laws.
State Tax Relief
If you have a state tax problem, you need to find someone who has experience dealing with that state. There is a lot of variation between the tax laws in different states, and state tax agencies all offer different types of relief with various application processes.
When looking for a tax relief firm, make sure that they can help you with both your IRS and state tax problems. Some companies will only handle IRS issues, and then, they expect you to handle the state issues on your own.
How The W Tax Group Can Help
When you choose to get tax relief services from The W Tax Group, you’ll reap the benefits of working with a small, highly experienced group of tax professionals who are dedicated to finding a customized solution for your unique situation. Here are other reasons you should choose our firm when you need help.
- We have resolved thousands of IRS and state tax cases.
- We have saved tens of millions of dollars in back taxes for our clients.
- We have hundreds of five-star customer reviews.
- We are licensed to work in every state in the nation.
- A dedicated case manager will act as your point of contact. They will ensure that you are never alone and never in the dark.
- Your case will be resolved by our in-house licensed tax attorneys, CPAs, and business tax professionals.
- Our initial consultation is always 100% free.
- If you choose to use our services, we offer a 15-day moneyback guarantee
- We offer affordable payment plans for our service fees.
- We are respectful and always keep your conversations confidential.
Don’t wait. Contact us today. And let’s resolve your tax issues. Regardless of the problem you’re facing, we’ve probably dealt with a similar situation before, but we don’t offer one-size-fits-all services. Instead, we leverage our extensive experience to help you find the best resolution for your unique needs.