Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tax Resolution Integrity

So you find yourself being the subject of the IRS collections process. You have a tax liability with the IRS. You have unfiled returns for past tax years. Maybe you even owe money to the state for same reason. How are YOU going to get it resolved?

The answer is fairly simple. Most taxpayers cannot get their tax liabilities resolved on their own. Mostly because of a lack of knowledge of how the IRS works or because they simply don't have the time to spend hours, days and weeks on the phone negotiating the tax debt they have accrued. If it is simply tax returns from years past the taxpayer can usually file these as long as they understand the guidelines of what can be deducted or included on the tax return for that particular year, have access to all of their financial information, and can access the correct years tax return forms. Simple right? Tax returns are the easy one. If it is a tax debt owed of substantial amounts the IRS would love for all taxpayers to handle this on their own without any representation whatsoever...this is the easiest way for them to get all of their money.

OK, so you need a tax advisor who can handle filing past due returns and negotiate your past due tax liability. How do you find one? Even more do you find the right one? Here are some important tips to consider:

  • Make sure they are a member in good standing with the Better Business Bureau. Also look to see how many complaints they have had each year. Some companies may have a satisfactory rating but have a high number of customer complaints.
  • Make sure they are licensed for both preparation of tax returns and tax resolution.
  • Make sure they are licensed to operate in the state for which you have tax issues...there are several who do not or cannot operate in all 50 states due to improper business practices.
  • Make sure you are dealing with a company who is financially today's economy there are a lot of "fly-by-night" companies who simply do not have the financial structure to make it through tough times and you may find out the company you sent money to yesterday is out of business today. Make sure they have been in business for at least four years...most new businesses fail financially in the first three years so if you have a business in year four you probably have a strong company financially.
  • Make sure they do not have any pending litigation from civil lawsuits from unsatisfied clients.
  • How long does the average resolution take? Anything outside of 180 days is unsatisfactory.
  • Do they simply submit all clients under one program (Offer in Compromise) or do they have multiple options for resolution.
  • Do they have a good reputation on the industry? This can be done online through a google search. Keep in mind most companies (good and bad) have varying reports. Not all customers who get tax resolution get the resolution they wanted so there will always be complaints with just about every company but look at the reasons and more specifically the number of complaints. Ask the company you are talking with to furnish customer testimonies on services rendered.
  • Are they a member of the Net Promoter Score Program which is designed to identify companies who have excellent customer service. (Here's a hint: review the program guidelines and see what the company's score actually is.)

I hope this helps you in your search but keep in mind...this is something in my opinion the average taxpayer cannot handle themselves. Make sure you get the right help with your tax situation and hire a professional tax resolution company.

1 comment:

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