FOUR SIMPLE RULES FOR 2013 -- TO avoid getting RIPPED OFF by a TAX RESOLUTION COMPANY OR PROFESSIONAL:
1. Don't ever be scared into hiring anyone.
If fear tactics are used by sales people to have you hire their firm -- that fear is really THEIR fear in not receiving a commission by closing your deal. You don't need to scare people to hire you. Lay out the facts and choices relevant to their tax problem and let them decide without pressure.
2. Beware of companies with less than 5 years of experience.
Fly-by-nights in tax resolution are very common. In fact - nineteen out of twenty companies in Southern California I surveyed open in 2006 or earlier, are OUT of business. The threshold really should be higher than five years - I am just being fair to a few good companies - with this kind of experience.
3. Avoid companies that don't prominently list their licensed tax professionals.
You want to avoid companies where the licensed tax professionals have ZERO equity stake and who aren't mentioned on the company websites. If a company with a visible tax professional scams you, you can at least get them disbarred. Companies should be proud of their licensed tax professionals. You want to see a name and a CPA, E.A. or Attorney license prominent on their website.
4. Avoid companies with NO BBB listing.
In the past couple of months, a company with no BBB listing - Federal Tax Relief Commission - went out of business (I am almost positive they did). From day one - they NEVER had a BBB listing. Where do you go if you get scammed? Well the BBB is starting point.