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Dealing with tax debt can be stressful — both financially and emotionally. Fortunately, there are a number of tax relief companies that can help.
These firms work with the IRS on your behalf to resolve overdue taxes, and they can help you repay your debts and minimize the financial penalties that come with them as well.
If you’re behind on your federal or state taxes, use this guide to find a tax relief company that can help.
In this guide:
- Compare the best IRS tax relief firms
- Reviews of the best tax relief companies
- How to choose the best tax relief company
- How tax relief works
- Is tax relief worth it?
- How to avoid tax relief scams
Compare the best IRS tax relief firms
Find the best tax relief company
Best tax relief companies
There are a number of tax relief firms you can choose from. If you’re not sure where to start, here are our picks for the best tax relief companies.
Anthem Tax Services
Anthem Tax Services offers tax relief and tax preparation services. The standout benefit of Anthem is its 100% money-back guarantee, which promises to return your fees if they’re unable to improve your situation.
Anthem offers a variety of tax debt-relief options, including garnishment and levy release, offers in compromise, installment agreements, penalty abatements, and more for clients with at least $10,000 in tax debts. The company also provides personal and corporate tax preparation, as well as bookkeeping services.
As a company, Anthem comes highly rated. It has a 4.2 rating on Trustpilot and an A- with the Better Business Bureau.
Community Tax is a tax resolution firm that can help you establish payment plans, installment agreements, offers in compromise, and more. The company also offers accounting, bookkeeping, and tax preparation services.
Though fees for the company’s services vary depending on how much debt you have and the complexity of the issue, Community Tax does offer a 100% money-back guarantee. It also does not require the $10,000 minimum debt that others on this list do (though customers with higher debts will likely see a bigger ROI).
Community Tax comes with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, and consumers have given the company a 4.6 out of 5 on Trustpilot.
Tax Hardship Center
The Tax Hardship Center offers a variety of tax relief solutions, including offers in compromise, partial payment agreements, installment agreements, penalty abatement, and tax audit representation. Like the others on this list, the company also offers tax preparation services.
To be eligible, you’ll need at least $10,000 in tax debt — either federal, state, or both. Though the basic fee for services starts at $495, according to the Center, the average client pays around $3,750 for tax relief help.
The Tax Hardship Center currently has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau. Customers have given it a 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot.
How to choose the best tax relief company
Choosing the best tax relief company shouldn’t be done lightly. The firm you choose will have your finances in their hands, and your financial stability depends on their skills and experience.
If you want to make sure you select the absolute best option for your back tax needs, you’ll want to ask about:
- Record of success: What have they done for past customers? How much have they saved others in your situation?
- Costs: How do the fees work? Are they fixed or are there added fees at every turn?
- Reviews: What do past customers say about the firm? Would they use them again if necessary?
- Staff: Who would be handling your case? Are they licensed? Do they have any IRS enrolled agents on the team?
Make sure you’re thorough in your search, and get a clear picture of what you can expect — both service- and cost-wise, before moving forward with a tax relief provider.
How tax relief works
Working with a tax relief company usually starts off with a free consultation. You’ll chat with a representative, give them details on your tax issues, and the company will do a quick analysis of your situation and the potential options you may have.
Next, the company will contact the IRS or your state tax authority to get the updated records of your account. They’ll review this, determine the best solution, and walk you through the process and costs before moving forward.
Finally, they’ll work to resolve your tax debts. This might include using any of the following relief options:
- Offer in compromise: This is a way of settling tax debts without paying off the full amount.
- Installment agreements: These agreements let you pay back your tax debts in smaller increments, without incurring interest or penalty. Setting up an installment agreement can halt wage garnishment as well.
- Penalty abatement: If you meet certain requirements, you may be able to have any IRS penalties waived or reduced.
- Innocent spouse relief: This can keep you from being penalized for your spouse’s tax mistakes.
- Fresh Start program: The IRS Fresh Start Program lets you spread your debts off over a five-year period. It requires a minimum debt of at least $50,000.
Tax relief firms can also help you qualify for Currently Not Collective status, which puts any collections efforts by the IRS on hold — at least temporarily.
Is tax relief worth it?
Tax relief assistance comes with potentially high fees, so it’s usually best reserved for people with high amounts of debt. For example, according to the Tax Hardship Center, the average client pays $3,750 for its services. Consumers already struggling financially may find fees in this range hard to bear. You’ll want to be sure the savings will outweigh the fee before moving forward.
If you’re not prepared to pay the fees for help from tax professionals, you can work with the IRS directly to file for Currently Not Collectible status, set up an installment plan, or apply for any other relief programs. The Federal Trade Commission has detailed instructions on many of these options, as well as how you can apply online.
You can also use the IRS’ Taxpayer Advocate Service for help, or contact the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers, and Treasures for state-related tax assistance.
How to avoid tax relief scams
Not all companies offering tax relief are reputable. In fact, scams are common in this industry. Before you pay for professional tax relief services, take steps to verify the company you’re using is legitimate and trustworthy.
- Talk with a specialist on the phone to confirm their experience and skills
- Check their reviews and ratings, especially with the Better Business Bureau
- Avoid paying any upfront fees until you’ve verified their capabilities
- Beware of too-good-to-be-true claims
When in doubt, consult a local CPA or accountant for guidance. They can point you toward legitimate solutions for your needs.
Recap of the best tax relief companies
Author: Aly Yale