This is a true story: In 2011, “Steve,” a taxpayer in New York City, is in serious trouble with the IRS. He searches the internet for an “IRS tax attorney.” He makes the mistake of believing a tax resolution firm in California are attorneys (because they claim to be). He gives them $32,000 to solve his tax problem. Two years later, his tax balances have gone up, his situation is now much much worse:
Steve is now facing
Criminal Charges for
There is big money to make off the misery of taxpayers with income tax problems.
IRS tax debt relief companies have huge marketing budgets. According to our research, some of them are spending upwards to $18,000 a pay-per-click advertising IRS debt relief services — per day. That means, in order to hit their profits margins and pay their staff something, they must take in $50,000 a day in new revenue in order to keep the lights on.
So how are they going to get money form you? What questions can you ask to keep yourself safe from making a huge mistake?
1. Are they promising you anything to get you to sign up?
Here’s what you need to know about taxes. If you agree with the tax debt, you can only reduce the amount owed if you don’t have the money. There is no magic wand. If I could lower my tax automatically by hiring myself, I would.
Some scam companies actually make cold calls to people with tax liens. I’ve posed as one of my clients just to hear what they would say. Here’s some choices lies I heard over the years:
· Your federal tax lien amount can automatically be cut in half.
· You can reduce your payroll taxes by up to 70% by requesting a penalty abatement in a case where penalties only constitute 20% of the total debt.
· The centralized IRS appeals is located right next door to this firm so that they have special insider access to the best deal.
Sometimes the answer to a tax problem, is cleaning up a mess, getting and staying into current compliance and then finding a repayment solution you can live with. And actually that’s a pretty good resolution if you think about it.
2. Are they giving you nearly unlimited time to pay your fee?
Here’s the thing. If you owe money to the IRS, you are not a great credit risk. Sorry to be the one to tell you that. So if a company is extending payment terms to you for years, you should really be wondering why. Are they really doing you a favor? Are they really investing all of this work to resolve your case in a few months even though you only paid a fraction of your fee, and even though your credit risk, for this unsecured debt is terrible?
Or could it be, they simply file a power of attorney with the IRS and make a few phone calls and then tell you to fill out a form 433a, without guidance or any sense of urgency? Could it be that because you haven’t invested much into your case, they aren’t going to either?
Because if that’s all they did, even if you only made a handful of payments, they would still make money. The thing is, your tax problem got bigger and it will be more difficult and more expensive to repair delay and mistakes made.
When people are serious about getting real help for solving a tax problem, guess what, coming up with that legal fee is not going to be easy. It is going to be a commitment they are making to their selves that they are serious.
Our firm demands, rightfully so, to be paid an adequate compensation for their skills& experience. In order to get the best, you got to be prepared to secure the best by producing payment, not promises.
Coming up with the legal fee necessary to secure competent legal representation is something that may require asking a friend or family member for some help. If a friend or family member won’t take a chance on you, if you are that poor of a credit risk to people who know you, then why should a legitimate tax law firm — who actually has to pay money for the best legal talent — take a gamble on you?
3. If they claim to be attorneys, who is the attorney of record?
And this is what did in “Steve” above. He had a tax problem situation with real criminal exposure. And he was told their legal team of attorney would give him the best legal advice. Thing is, there was never any legal team. And he could have found this out simply by looking for the name of just one attorney on the firm’s website. Or he could have refused to hire them until he actually spoke with an attorney who was actually license to practice law.
If Steve name to us in 2011, we would have stopped everything and put him into the domestic voluntary disclosure program. This would have removed the threat of any criminal prosecution and we would have worked with the IRS to figure out his balance and a settlement structure for the balance. Instead, the California firm, just let Steve dangle in the wind, never getting the case moved, never stopping the IRS criminal investigations from pursuing Steve.
The thing is, is that we would have charged Steve $35,000 in 2011. Just $3000 more than the scam outfit charged. And by now, his problem would be behind him. But instead, we have to charge more and we have fewer options.
Have a Tax Problem...Hire a Tax Attorney!
Contact the Tax Lawyers at
Marini & Associates, P.A.
for a FREETax Consultation
or Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888 882-9243).