We have great respect for this list of "Industry Stalwarts" - largely due to their length of time in the business. However, there are a few listed here that we might have qualms with their high fees or a customer service experience that suffers from too much volume. Even still - most of these guys are pretty darn good.
1. William McConnaughy, CPA. Sacramento, CA , December 1991.
Mr. McConnaughy markets his business very well as reflected on his website and thru very informative mailers he sends to people with tax liens. His website. His BBB record is in good shape: BBB record. If this guy's customer service is as good as his marketing, you are in real luck. :) WE do know - also - that he offers payment plans on his fees.
2. Tax Tiger, Original office: Sacramento, CA. Franchise offices in Austin, TX, San Diego, CA, Minneapolis, MN and Little Rock, AR, December 18, 2002 .
We have spoken multiple times with Kathy Hill who is the founder of Tax Tiger. A few years ago - Tax Tiger expanded into franchises beyond its origins in Sacramento. The five locations are listed above. Tax Tiger has been running a radio ad saying that 67% (two-thirds) of their Offer in Compromise clients settle for $100 or less. This is a bold claim BUT thru speaking to Ms. Hill, she could prove this claim! So kudos to them. In July of 2015, we spoke with a gentleman whose case was already in hardship status - we were going to do an Offer - our fee? $875.00. Tax Tiger quoted him a fee of $5000.00. That's a big difference. Their excellent BBB record... BBB record -- Tax Tiger
3. US Tax Solutions, Tennessee, May 2005. Enrolled Agent: Jerry Keran --
We have no qualms with an Enrolled Agent (like ourselves) plying his trade. His website: US Tax Solutions. They have a nice BBB record to boot as you might expect: BBB record
4. Mike Habib, E.A. Los Angeles, CA , August 20, 2007--
All of things we have heard about this operation are positive. Here's their website: LA Tax Services Again, Mr. Habib and his company meet one of the most important criteria of legitimacy: they put his license to practice, "Enrolled Agent," on their website for everyone to see. Putting your license out there builds confidence and comfort. On the other hand, he did quote a $7000.00 fee for a case we am doing for $2425.00. Still: we can imagine -- clients with premium fees get premium attention as reflected at their BBB record HERE.
5. Federal Tax Resolution, Dallas, Oregon , since 1998
FTR is clearly a reliable A + rated company owned by Doug Myser - who is the sole ex-WATAX employee on this list of tax resolution industry stalwarts. Kudos to him and this company which has been running for nearly 15 plus years. Their BBB record is excellent as you would guess from our enthusiastic endorsement of them: BBB record
6. The Levy Group, Michigan, February 2003 according to BBB .
Here's their excellent website levytaxhelp.com and BBB rating: BBB record. We spoke recently with Mr. Lawrence Levy who is the owner. According to him: they are one of the longest operating companies in the tax resolution industry. They have CPA's, Enrolled Agents and Attorneys on staff. Mr. Levy is on the board of the National Association of Tax Resolution Companies. Recently (2013/2014), the Levy Group took on an ex-IRS collections manager as an employee - impressive.
7. Segal, Cohen and Landis, Beverly Hills, CA, 2001.
Tax attorneys in So Cal. Their website is Website - S, C & L. Their Yelp Reviews are truly impressive: Yelp Reviews. BBB record indicates start date of October 2001: BBB record
9. Phil Liberatore, CPA or www.yourirsproblemsolvers.com, Los Angeles, February 2001,
Website started in 2009. Advertises on radio in Southern California. You got to like his name and license - C.P.A. - prominently displayed on the website. You also have to respect his positive reviews: Yelp Reviews
10. Arlington Business Services, Riverside , CA since 1980's. David S. Shashoua, JD, LLM, EA who is both an Enrolled Agent and a Tax Attorney wrote me an email to include his highly experienced company on the list. You can reach them at 951-328-0800 and email David at [email protected] .
11. Equity Search and IRShelp.com , West Seneca , NY and Florida, April 1998 as per BBB (1984) and 2008. Equity Search is the oldest of the two companies with an actual start date in 1984. IRShelp.com began about seven years ago and was started by family members from Equity Search. You have to be comforted by the numerous licensed tax professionals/Enrolled Agents listed on their websites. Their websites are: irshelp.com and http://www.taxdocs.com. Their BBB records are: BBB record and BBB record.
12. Fortress Financial Services, Inc., Sept 2003, Bend, Oregon TAX LIEN CALLER
These folks specialize in 941 and business tax cases. They have multiple attorneys and seem like a well-run organization. Their BBB record is solid to boot: BBB record. Stephen Galgoczy is President of Fortress and indicates that every case is handled directly by an attorney on staff. This company markets itself by having staff members call businesses who have 941 tax liens against them. Their website: http://www.taxfortress.com/
15. Tax Defense Network, a Money Solver company, Jacksonville, Florida, since November 2007.
Recently, Tax Defense Network folded their marketing presence behind Money Solver which also focuses on consumer debt issues. Their BBB record is still strong. In our estimation, they and Optima are the two largest national companies in the tax relief business. The fact that they have grown to their massive size and maintain quality control is not an easy feat to pull off. Here are some of the websites where clients find TDN: www.irstaxattorneyseattle.com/ Tax Relief Center IRS Tax Settlement Tax Relief Alternatives The Tax Assistance Group among others.
16. 2020 Tax Resolution -- Broomfield, Colorado -- started August 1998 --TAX LIEN CALLER
Judging by their length of time in the business and their BBB record. According to one of their owners we spoke with recently, they have a staff of 125 folks including 15 Enrolled Agents. That's an impressive staff size. They are also unique in that every single "sales associate" is also an Enrolled Agent - that means they are licensed to practice. That is truly a rare and excellent fact.
20/20 Tax is a company whose marketing is strongly focused on people with 941 payroll tax issues -- including a staff of telemarketers who call tax liens (common practice with Colorado companies). We have some concerns about non-professionals cold calling customers with tax liens as I wrote here: The Legal Case Against Cold Calling Tax Liens.
On the other hand, we have had a first hand experience of them refunding money to a client of mine who didn't go through with them -- that is commendable. As one of the 10 largest tax resolution companies in the U.S., they seem to be one of the few that is decently run. Furthermore, their company is very active in NAEA of which I am member and have published articles in the NAEA journal (see side bar for more info on NAEA).
Having telemarketers on the front lines has its merits, marketing-wise --these folks seem to be cornering the market in 941 representation -- much to our chagrin (!). But 20/20 seems to have a decent infrastructure to handle the high volume of cases they are hired for -- UNLIKE the high volume companies you will find on the Not Recommended List.
Still, you might not always find a bargain price with 20/20: in July of 2015, we spoke with a gentleman whose case was already in hardship status - we were going to do an Offer - our fee? $875.00. 2020 quoted him a fee of $5000.00. In December of 2015, we took on a case for $2750.00 that 20/20 planned to take on for $9000.00.
17. Colonial Tax Consultants, Denver, Colorado started 2004.
One of many tax resolution companies in Colorado. However, after sharing communication with one of their licensed tax professionals (an E.A. like us), we believe that this company is dedicated to good customer service, etc. Their BBB record is decent also: BBB Listing
18. Nationwide Tax Negotiators, San Francisco, CA -- since 1997
This company owned by Gary Phillips seems like a decent and reputable company -- http://compromise.com. Their BBB record is solid too: BBB record There focus seems to be on the Offer in Compromise and an emphasis on the affordability of their services. Sounds good to us.
19. Tax Defenders or American Tax Solutions, Chicago, IL, July 2003
Tax Defenders has been in the tax resolution game for almost a decade. Their BBB record recently cleaned up dramatically recently - which is a good thing- BBB record -- Tax Defenders. Tax Defenders created another company name: American Tax Solutions sometime in 2011. We think they send out mailings to people with tax liens.
20. Community Tax, Chicago, IL, January, 2010.
In seven years, CTR has become a very large company and seems to carry their increased workload pretty well. Their solid BBB record and website: communitytax.com. 15 attorneys, eight C.P.A., and three Enrolled Agents are on staff in Chicago, Illinois.
Comparison interview - May 2013 -- spoke with Truck Driver who retained them for $500 to research their record. He hadn't filed returns for 8 years and owed the IRS about 30k. They wanted another $8500 to do his returns and resolve his case - they would take payments over a year. Our fee was $1200 to wrap up the representation process and another $2000 to do his returns.
21. Joe Mastriano, CPA, Houston, TX. 1981 start, 2009 BBB start.
Mr. Mastriano has been in the tax resolution game for quite a while. His website is here : http://www.taxproblem.org. He also has an A + rating at the BBB : BBB record. You might want to ask if he charges for consultations when you speak to him or his staff members.
22. Tax Resolution Institute, Woodland Hills, California.
Tax Resolution Institute was founded by CPA Peter Stephan in the early 00's. He had been doing tax representation and tax resolution work for many years before founding TRI. As an indication of his competence and experience Mr. Stephan leads seminars on tax representation issues for Continuing Education Credits (CPE's) - which is impressive to say the least. We get a sense that TRI provides quality customer service to their clients - while charging a premium. Their website is here: http://www.taxresolutioninstitute.com. For good reasons: TRI did not have a BBB record as the Southern Cal BBB had a bad reputation.
AS we alluded to above- TRI does charge a premium for their excellent services. We spoke with a customer who talked to them in the Spring 2013 -- this person hadn't filed returns since 2009...but probably would owe the IRS about $15,000 to $20,000 when he did file them. The IRS wasn't being aggressive with them yet. TRI's fee was between $3000 to $5000 to represent them and get the best deal possible. Our fee was $1000 - which included reviewing one of their tax returns - to make sure that it was done right (we don't think it was).
23. Premier Tax Solutions, Torrance, CA, June 17, 2005. Their BBB Record: BBB record. Their website: http://www.premiertaxsolutions.com. Almost 10 years in business - a distinct rarity for a tax relief business in Southern California. As far as we are concerned that warrants their placing on this list. Happy anniversary.
24. Tax Resolution Specialists, Maine, 2005
Tax Resolution Specialists is a new entry to the stalwart's page. Another Enrolled Agent, Ken Allen, dedicated to good practices and now ten years under his belt in the business. Excellent. Website: taxreliever.com
26. Landmark Tax Group, Santa Ana, CA 2012
An ex-IRS agent is now five years in the business of representing taxpayers. Website. As per Mr. Raanan - Landmark does NOT list on the So Cal BBB.com due to the history of corruption at that BBB. We can roll with that. In 2018, one of their reps did charge $699 a month for a year to resolve a tax problem case, we proposed to handle for a flat fee of $1750.00, so expect to pay a premium.
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