How to Avoid Tax Relief Scams
With uncollected taxes approaching more than 280 billion and rising, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has stepped up efforts to collect unpaid back taxes from individuals and businesses that have outstanding balances due.
Unfortunately, those who can’t pay their back taxes can face severe penalties from the IRS, including the seizure of personal or business assets in some cases. In the wake of this dilemma, a new type of business has sprung up to help delinquent taxpayers cope with their tax liabilities.
Known commonly as tax settlement firms, these legal agencies claim they can either drastically reduce or completely eliminate whatever the client owes the IRS.
Regrettably, the Tax Relief Industry has attracted circling vultures waiting to prey on those weakened by the threat of IRS action. Arm yourself with the tools necessary to defend against their self-serving actions. Start by informing yourself about some of the common tax relief scams below and reading our tips on how to protect yourself.
Lead Generation Companies Posing as Tax Relief Experts
We all know companies buy and sell leads.
Unfortunately, that applies to the tax relief industry as well. Companies that specialize in marketing will lead consumers into believing they are dealing with a firm that does the tax relief work but do nothing more than selling the customer’s information multiple times to actual tax relief companies. This process leads to never-ending phone harassment as your information gets sold over and over again.
These marketing companies have no control over the resolution process or even the quality of service. Sometimes they will sign up a consumer with no intention of servicing the client whatsoever.
Non-Refundable Payments Without Any Guarantees
One of the most common scams performed by unscrupulous companies is to collect payment for results they know are unpredictable, if not impossible, to achieve. You’ve probably heard the radio ads where former IRS agents claim they can settle your liability for pennies on the dollar? What these ads don’t tell you is how difficult it is to qualify for the IRS Offer in Compromise program.
Be wary of companies that ask you to commit a large sum of money up front without first conducting a tax investigation. Our Tax Relief experts have years of experience, and they understand every case is different. The truth you won’t hear is not everyone qualifies for tax relief, but at TaxRise, we’ll do everything we can to help you and promise transparency and honesty during the process.
The Outright Scam Artists
Sadly, some firms have outright cheated and stole from their clients. These are the firms being targeted and shut down by the Attorney Generals – the ones who have tarnished the industry. In these cases, the unscrupulous companies will enroll many clients into a program and collect their money without providing adequate services. Some don’t even send the necessary paperwork to the IRS.
Once a scam company receives too many complaints from upset consumers, they will merely change their name and start preying on consumers all over again. Adding insult to injury, many of these companies don’t provide refunds and leave people with a greater tax liability than before.
When dealing with a new tax resolution company, ask yourself; does the company make a thorough assessment of the factors above? Do they emphasize the importance of these qualifications? Do they make it clear that an Offer in Compromise is challenging to obtain? If the answer to any of these questions is no, you may be dealing with a company that does not have your best interest in mind.
Steps you Can Take to Help us Keep your Information Safe
If you are a TaxRise client, there are many steps you can take to help us keep your information safe.
First and foremost, choose complex, independent passwords for each website and service you maintain an account. Strong passwords help us keep any account breach isolated to one service. Please notify us immediately if you believe your password is compromised.
TaxRise urges you to take caution when using public computers or networks, like at a coffee shop or library.
To best protect your personal information and login information, don’t use such computers to access your sensitive accounts, and if you must do, ensure that you log out of your account entirely.
Additionally, be sure to look out for phishing emails.
We never ask for your sensitive personal information, such as password, over email, or other unsecured methods, or through any site not under the TaxRise.com domain.
Please notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you ever receive suspicious correspondence from us.
Visit our security page for more on keeping your information safe.
How to Verify An IRS Notice
An authentic IRS notice will have your tax ID number and the tax year(s) in question noted on the page. When you search for your notice or letter using the IRS Notices & Letters Search, and nothing comes up, or you believe the notice or letter looks suspicious, contact the IRS at 800-829-1040.
Should you determine the notice or letter is fraudulent, please visit the IRS Report Phishing page for the appropriate course of action.
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