The 10 Best Tax Relief Companies (2020 Reviews)

Updated: Jan. 30, 2020

best tax relief companies

If you're searching for a tax relief company, it's important to do your homework and find a reputable business, so you're not stuck with one that engages in deceptive business practices and makes promises they can't keep.

Here are 10 of the best tax relief companies for 2020. 

The 10 Best Tax Relief Companies

#1. Community Tax

Community Tax is a Chicago-based tax relief company, but it helps clients nationwide. 

  • Offers free consultations
  • No minimum tax debt amount required, but they probably won't work with you unless your debt is significant 
  • Fees range between $250 and $3,000+
  • Staffed by trained tax professionals and tax lawyers 
  • 14-day money back guarantee if you're not satisfied
  • In business since 2010
  • IRS-approved continuing education provider for tax professionals

Overall, Community Tax gets positive reviews from past customers. On the downside, it can be difficult to find information about fees and minimum debt requirements. 

#2. Optima Tax Relief

Optima Tax Relief is headquartered in California and serves clients in all 50 states. It offers a broad menu of services, including tax resolution and tax settlement. 

  • Online client portal so you can check your account status
  • Minimum $10,000 tax debt requirement
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Offers free consultations
  • In business since 2010
  • Member of the National Association for Tax Professionals 
  • IRS-approved continuing education provider for tax professionals

Optima Tax Relief also goes by the name Tax Relief Partners. It has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). 

#3. Tax Defense Network

Tax Defense Network is headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. Like many other tax relief companies, however, it helps clients across the country. 

  • Offers payment plans starting at $99 per month
  • Free consultations 
  • In business since 1997
  • Minimum $5,000 in tax debt required
  • Fees reported to average between $2,500 and $3,000 but may be lower for less complicated cases

Tax Defense Network offers a big range of tax relief services. It's also staffed by licensed tax pros, CPAs, and tax lawyers.  

#4. Anthem Tax Services

Anthem Tax Services has physical locations in California and Florida, but it's licensed to help customers in all 50 states. 

  • Minimum $7,500 tax debt required
  • In business since 2010
  • Offers free consultations 
  • Member of the National Association of Tax Professionals and the National Association of Enrolled Agents
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Some reviewers say they paid as little as $250, but average fees are around $2,500 for tax settlement services 

Anthem Tax Services doesn't make fee information available on its website, leaving consumers to search review sites for details about cost. However, Anthem offers a free consultation, so it costs nothing to find out more about their services. 

#5. Instant Tax Solutions

Instant Tax Solutions offers flat-fee tax relief services, which is often appealing to customers on a budget. The company is based in Idaho and helps people in all 50 states.  

  • Offers free consultations
  • Website doesn't state a minimum tax debt requirement, but reviewers say the company prefers clients to have at least $5,000 in tax debt before they will take on a case
  • In business since 2009
  • 24/7 live customer support
  • Serves all 50 states
  • Flat fee service

Instant Tax Solutions' website estimates it can settle IRS tax debt within two to five months. Some reviewers note that Instant Tax Solutions lacks some of the accreditations of other tax relief companies. 

#6. Tax Defense Partners

Tax Defense Partners only works with people who have at least $10,000 in tax debt. However, it charges a flat rate, which means there are no surprise costs.  

  • Member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents
  • Website states a minimum $10,000 in tax debt required 
  • Flat-free pricing  
  • Offers free consultations 
  • Employs CPAs and IRS enrolled agents

Tax Defense Partners is based in Encino, California but serves customers across the country. It receives generally favorable reviews online.   

#7. ALG Tax Solutions 

If you like in-person service and live in Michigan, you can visit one of ALG Tax Solutions' seven Michigan locations. The company also works with clients in all 50 states.

  • Member of the American Institute of CPAs
  • In business since 2011
  • Founded and owned by a CPA
  • No minimum tax debt requirement listed on website

While ALG Tax Solutions works with clients in every state, it seems to cater to a regional clientele. Most of its reviews seem to come from people who live in and around Michigan and have worked directly with the company's owner.  

#8. Tax Hardship Center

Based in California, Tax Hardship Center serves customers in all 50 states. 

  • Must have at least $7,500 in tax debt 
  • 14-day money back guarantee
  • Offers free consultations
  • In business since 2012
  • Member of the American Society of Tax Problem Solvers and the National Association of Enrolled Agents 

There is limited pricing information available about Tax Hardship Center. However, some reviews state their services start at $495 and go up from there. 

#9. Victory Tax Lawyers

At $25,000, Victory Tax Lawyers has one of the highest minimum tax debt requirements of any tax relief company. If you have significant tax debt, however, they might be worth checking out.  

  • Law firm that specializes in tax relief
  • Minimum $25,000 tax debt requirement
  • In business since 2017
  • Free consultation with a licensed tax lawyer
  • Smaller staff with just two tax lawyers listed on the site, but cases are handled by lawyers from start to finish
  • Based in Los Angeles but serve clients nationwide
  • Excellent customer reviews across several review sites 

Because Victory Tax Lawyers is a law firm, it might be a good fit for people with complex tax debt problems. As attorneys, Victory Tax Lawyers can make appearances in court on behalf of their clients. 

#10. Attorneys Tax Relief

Based on customer reviews and the Attorneys Tax Relief website, the company itself is a law firm operated by Chicago-based tax lawyer John Buchmiller as The Law Office of John Buchmiller, LLC.

However, the relative small size of the firm shouldn't deter people with serious tax debt. Attorneys Tax Relief has overall positive reviews and serves clients nationwide. 

  • Member of the National Association of Tax Professionals and the American Bar Association 
  • Minimum $10,000 tax debt required 
  • Free consultations 
  • Website states a 64 percent acceptance rate for offers in compromise
  • Accepts payment plans

Attorneys Tax Relief is based in Chicago and assists clients in all 50 states. In addition to at least one tax lawyer, it has CPAs and enrolled agents on staff. 

Tax Debt Relief Overview

If you owe back taxes, you know firsthand that they never just go away. On the contrary, they keep adding up year after year.

When unpaid taxes get out of hand, the IRS can start garnishing your wages or put a lien on your property, leading to a lot of stress and financial difficulty.

Fortunately, there are several different solutions when it comes to paying off and even reducing your tax debt.

While you can negotiate these solutions on your own, there's no getting around the fact that tax laws and regulations are complicated.

This is where tax relief companies come in.

Reputable tax relief companies are typically staffed by tax lawyers, CPAs, and experienced tax professionals who know the tax code and can help you negotiate with the IRS or your state's tax authority.

As with various types of debt relief services, however, there are unscrupulous companies out there that either promise impossible results or charge far too much for their services. 

This is why it's important to do your homework before you hire a tax relief company. Trustworthy tax relief companies will never give blanket guarantees and will be honest and transparent about their fees.

The biggest thing to take away is that tax relief isn't supposed to be a way to help you avoid paying your tax debt.

Rather, a good tax relief company can help you negotiate a payment plan or a reduction in your debt that lets you breathe easy knowing your debt is finally resolved.    

Types of IRS Tax Debt Relief

The IRS offers individuals several options for paying off tax debt. You can set up any of these plans on your own, or you can work with a debt relief company.

Offer in Compromise

If you can't afford to pay your full tax debt, you can negotiate an offer in compromise with the IRS. This is an agreement to pay less than what you owe.   

If the IRS accepts your offer, you can either make payments or pay in a lump sum. If you decide to work with a tax relief company, be sure to ask what percentage of their offers in compromise are accepted by the IRS. 

Installment Agreement 

The IRS also refers to installment agreements as "payment plans." Depending on how much you owe, there are short-term and long-term installment plans available. 

Innocent Spouse Relief

Married couples often file a joint tax return, but what if your spouse or ex-spouse made a mistake that leaves you with a hefty tax bill? Innocent spouse relief can help.

To qualify for innocent spouse relief, you must be able to prove that you didn't know and had no reason to know that your spouse was filing an erroneous return.   

Penalty Abatement

If you qualify for penalty abatement, the IRS will waive all or some of the penalties you accumulated when you failed to pay your taxes.

Fresh Start Program

The Fresh Start Program is only available to people who earn less than $100,000 each year and owe less than $50,000 in tax debt. If you're accepted into the plan, you have 72 months to pay off your tax debt.  

Currently Not Collectible

The IRS will only declare an individual currently not collectible (CNC) if they have no ability to pay the money they owe.

However, CNC status doesn't eliminate tax debt. Rather, it's more of a temporary freeze on the collection of the debt. 

People who are granted CNC status still accumulate late fees and other penalties. The IRS may also put a lien on their property. 

Choosing a Tax Relief Company: 3 Things to Consider

There are a lot of companies that offer tax relief services. A simple internet search turns up dozens of ads.

So how do you separate the legitimate companies from the scammers? Here are three things to consider. 

1. Accreditation

Look for tax relief companies that are accredited by national tax professional organizations like the National Associated of Tax Professionals and the National Association of Enrolled Agents. 

2. Reputation

Search online for customer reviews from various sources. Read through positive and negative reviews to get a sense of how the company does business and how it responds to complaints. 

3. Fee Structure 

Reputable tax relief companies should never charge you thousands of dollars up front to work on your case. Only work with companies that are transparent about what they charge and how your money will be applied. 

How to Avoid a Tax Debt Relief Scam

People who owe significant money to the IRS are often desperate to make their debt go away. Unfortunately, scammers know this and take advantage. 

The reality is that no tax relief company can guarantee to eliminate or even reduce your tax debt. What they can do is work hard to negotiate a payment plan you can afford. 

Experienced tax relief companies can also improve your chances of getting an offer in compromise accepted by the IRS.

To avoid scams, keep the following in mind.

DON'T:

  • Don't work with a tax relief company that says it guarantees debt forgiveness
  • Avoid tax relief companies that boast they can eliminate your tax debt
  • Be wary of tax relief companies that say they can erase or waive fees and penalties

DO:

  • Work with a tax relief company that takes the time to thoroughly review your financial situation. They need this information to present your case or offer to the IRS.
  • Work with tax relief companies that have good communication and customer service
  • Work with a tax relief company that explains all your options and informs you about various tax relief strategies you should consider 

Should You Settle Your Tax Debt Yourself?

Many people with tax debt wonder if they can negotiate a payment plan or other solution on their own. 

The answer is yes! In fact, good tax relief companies will often tell people with modest tax debts to do just that.

There are no hard and fast rules for how much debt is "enough" to merit the services of a tax relief company. However, if your tax debt is under $3,000 or so, you're probably perfectly capable of setting up an installment plan on your own. 

The IRS offers both short-term and long-term payment plans for people with tax debts. The good news is the eligibility criteria for installment plans is much less stringent than the criteria for an offer in compromise.   

Do Tax Relief Services Actually Work?

Tax relief services can definitely work, but it's important to be realistic about what they can and can't accomplish.

For example, tax relief companies generally can't totally wipe out an individual's tax debt. If a company claims it can do this, it's probably a scam. 

What a tax relief company can do is handle all the paperwork and red tape that goes along with dealing with an agency as complex as the IRS. Financial paperwork can be overwhelming, which is why many people prefer letting a tax relief company handle it on their behalf. 

How Long Will It Take to Resolve My Case with the IRS?

The length of time necessary to resolve a tax debt case with the IRS varies. In most cases, it depends on the complexity of the case and the amount of the debt involved. 

Generally, most tax relief companies estimate they need at least two months to negotiate an installment plan or other type of tax relief. If you owe a substantial amount of tax debt, your case will likely take several months to resolve. 

How Do I Find Out How Much I Owe the IRS?

You can find out how much you owe the IRS by creating an account online. This will give you access to your current amount owed as well as the past 24 months of payment history. 

If you prefer to receive this information in writing, you can ask for a tax transcript by submitting a form through the mail.  

Will the IRS Forgive My Debt?

The IRS may accept an offer in compromise, which is a reduction in tax debt. However, this is probably the most difficult form of tax relief to obtain.

If you owe tax debt, you're more likely to be approved for an installment plan rather than debt forgiveness.  

Can I Settle My Debt with the IRS?

If you have a significant amount of tax debt with a limited ability to pay, you may qualify for an offer in compromise or an installment plan. 

An offer in compromise allows you to pay back less than what you owe. However, you must be able to prove that paying back your total tax debt would create a financial hardship that impacts your standard of living. 

To see if you meet the eligibility requirements for an offer in compromise, you can use the IRS' offer in compromise pre-qualifier tool

How Far Back Can the IRS Collect Unpaid Taxes?

Generally, there is a 10-year statute of limitations on unpaid taxes. This means the IRS has 10 years from the date a tax is assessed to pursue collection. 

Do Tax Relief Companies Help with Current Taxes and Back Taxes?

Most reputable tax relief companies provide a wide range of tax-related services. Many of the top tax relief companies, including those in this review, handle tax preparation as well as tax relief. 

Do Tax Relief Companies Require a Minimum or Maximum Amount of Debt to Work with Me?

Some tax relief companies will work with any amount of tax debt. However, it's common for tax relief companies to require a minimum amount of debt before they will agree to take on a case.

The reason for this minimum requirement is because negotiating with the IRS typically requires weeks and months of communication, along with paperwork preparation and documentation.

A good tax relief company will tell you up front if your debt is too small to justify the expense of their services. If your debt is modest, an honest tax relief service will let you know that you're better off negotiating a payment plan or other form of relief on your own.

How Much Does a Tax Relief Company Cost?

The cost of tax relief services varies. Prices can range anywhere between $250 and $5,000, with very complex cases costing $10,000 or more.  

Generally, the more tax debt you owe, the more you can expect to pay for tax relief service. 

Tax Relief Company FAQs

If you're considering hiring a tax relief company to handle your tax debt, you probably have a lot of questions. Here are some of the most common.  

Why Hire a Tax Relief Company?

Being in debt to the federal government can be an intimidating prospect. If you're nervous about negotiating with the IRS on your own, working with an experienced tax relief company can give you peace of mind. 

If the Tax Relief Company Can't Negotiate with the IRS Will It Refund My Money?

Many tax relief companies offer a money-back guarantee if they can't work out a deal with the IRS on your behalf. While some of these money-back guarantees have no time limit, others are limited to 14 days. 

Can't I Do This on My Own?

You certainly can negotiate with the IRS on your own. If you decide to go the DIY route, be sure to keep meticulous records any time you talk to the IRS.

Write down the date and time you spoke to them, as well as the identification or employee number of any agents you worked with. You should also keep copies of all correspondence to and from the agency. 

Conclusion

If you owe tax debt, a tax relief service might be able to help you negotiate with the IRS or your state tax authority. However, it's important to thoroughly research a tax relief company before signing up. 

Keep in mind that a tax relief company can't do anything you can't do on your own. However, the best tax relief companies employ trained tax professionals who have years of experience dealing with the complexities of the tax code.


About the Author


Mike Pearson

Mike is a recognized credit expert and founder of Credit Takeoff. His credit advice has been featured in CNBC, Investopedia, CreditCards.com, Bankrate, Huffpost, The Simple Dollar, Reader's Digest, LendingTree, and Quickbooks. Read more.

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