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Best Tax Relief Companies

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    Many Americans dread filing taxes because there is always a chance you could owe the government more money. While this is less common than you might think, it can still feel financially overwhelming. But if you owe the IRS $10,000 or more, a tax relief company may be able to help you.

    Our picks for best tax relief companies

    We narrowed down the best tax relief companies for you by comparing costs, tax debt requirements, availability and customer reviews. All of the companies featured offer free consultations, so reaching out for a clearer idea about pricing could help you choose the right company for your situation.

    Our picks may be Authorized Partners who compensate us. This does not affect our recommendations or evaluations but may impact the order in which companies appear.

    Why trust ConsumerAffairs?
    • Our recommendations are based on what reviewers say.
    • 4,307,388 reviews on ConsumerAffairs are verified.
    • We require contact information to ensure our reviewers are real.
    • We use intelligent software that helps us maintain the integrity of reviews.
    • Our moderators read all reviews to verify quality and helpfulness.

    Compare our top 7 choices for tax relief companies

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    All information accurate as of time of publication.

    More details on our top choices for tax relief

    Even if you cannot afford to pay your taxes, you still need to file each year to prevent penalties. For individuals who owe more than $10,000 in tax debt, a tax relief company can make dealing with the IRS less stressful.

    Best for money-back guarantee
    Debt minimum
    Flat fees
    Money-back guarantee offered

    Anthem Tax Services offers tax litigation and preparation help in all 50 states. It is accredited by the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP), the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) and the California Tax Education Council (CTEC).

    Anthem Tax Services helps taxpayers with offers in compromise (OICs), installment agreements, the Fresh Start program, wage garnishment, IRS tax levies and penalty abatements. Anthem Tax Services is also available for tax preparation services to keep you out of trouble with the IRS; these services include bookkeeping and corporate tax preparation.

    For truck drivers, Anthem Tax Services has dedicated tax preparation and relief services. It specializes in helping owners, operators and drivers in the trucking industry. Anthem Tax Services works to negotiate a lower tax debt with the IRS for truck drivers who owe a lot in back taxes.

    What is impressive about Anthem Tax Services is its money-back guarantee that does not have a time deadline. If it does not save you money or rework your payments, it will give you your money back. This guarantee does not apply to bookkeeping, tax preparation services or the minimum deposit paid by clients.

    We recommend Anthem Tax Services for:

    • Available in all 50 states
    • Accredited with NATP and NAEA

    Some issues we found with Anthem Tax Services include:

    • Fees not published
    • No money-back guarantee for tax preparation

    Many chose Anthem Tax Services because of how confidently the tax professionals can deal with tax issues. Reviewers felt like they were kept in the loop and that they were finally able to find a solution for their tax penalties.

    One Georgia customer said: “Dealing with tax issues is frustrating. I felt like I was caught in a revolving door trying to negotiate with the IRS. … Anthem does not eliminate your tax debt, because if owed, a debt should be paid. However, Barrie worked out a plan for us, and when IRS made a mistake and wanted to penalize us, Barrie fought for us.”

    Negative reviewers felt that Anthem Tax Services overpromised and oversold its services, leaving customers frustrated when things took longer than expected. Many were disappointed by how much they still owed the IRS after the resolutions were made.

    Best for large tax debt
    Debt minimum
    Flat fees
    Money-back guarantee offered

    Founded in 2009, Instant Tax Solutions is available to help clients across the nation. It has a team of tax attorneys, enrolled agents and certified public accountants to handle tax debt issues.

    Its online form calculates how much you can save on your tax debt and which programs you might qualify for. The company says it does not have a minimum or maximum tax debt limit. Though not accredited, it says it saves its clients an average of $13,294.

    While you won’t find fees published, you can request a free consultation to get a quote. It also will allow you to enter a payment plan if you cannot afford the full fee upfront. Additionally, it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and no-questions-asked policy if you don’t like the service.

    We love the following about Instant Tax Solutions:

    • Available nationwide
    • 30-day money-back guarantee

    Consider these factors before moving forward:

    • Not accredited
    • Fees not published

    Overall, reviewers who used Instant Tax Solutions were happy with the results and how the company treated them. Cynthia from Texas said: “They will treat you with respect as they put the weight of their experience and knowledge to your benefit. You will find them to be thorough, communicative and effective.”

    June from Arkansas also reviewed the company on its customer service, saying: “I reached out to Instant Tax Solutions and they were good. When I called, I always got ahold of them. If I didn't, they called back within a couple of hours.”

    Negative comments were about the pricing, including one customer from Colorado who felt the services were overpriced. June from Arkansas also felt the company was not clear in explaining which federal and state tax debt it tackles. June was happy overall with how the company handled her federal tax debt, but she wishes she had known they weren’t going to resolve her state tax debt.

    Best for small tax debt
    Debt minimum
    Flat fees
    Money-back guarantee offered

    Fresh Start Tax Relief is a small tax firm that has been helping customers since 2018. As a woman-owned business in California, its licensed agents can help customers with tax issues in major cities, like Los Angeles, Dallas and Orlando.

    Fresh Start helps businesses and individuals with at least $10,000 in tax debt, although it will consider clients with as little as $5,000 of tax debt if they have several years of unfiled tax returns.

    While Fresh Start does not offer a money-back guarantee, it does offer a 20% discount for clients who refer a new client. The company also doesn’t promise a timeline of how fast tax issues are resolved, but it says many are fixed within two to six months.

    We recommend Fresh Start for the following reasons:

    • Available nationwide
    • 20% referral discount

    Consider these factors before choosing the company:

    • No money-back guarantee
    • Fees not published

    Reviewers appreciated how Fresh Start’s customer service handled delicate tax situations with care and respect. Customers also appreciated the option for a payment plan. Dawn from California said: “Regarding payments, they said, ‘This is going to be what we charge you. You can make it in three payments.’ They're not asking me to go out and finance and be charged APR as interest through their company.”

    Even though Fresh Start said the average time to resolve tax debt issues was between two and six months, the process took longer for some customers. One reviewer who had a lot of tax debt said, “It took about a year and three months, from start to finish.” Another reviewer said it took eight months to resolve their tax debt.

    Best for business tax debt
    Debt minimum
    Usually flat fees
    Money-back guarantee offered

    Fortress Tax Relief is a firm that has helped individuals, small businesses and large businesses with tax troubles since 2003. Although based in Oregon, it can help any taxpayer from across the nation. Every case is personally handled by a licensed attorney who exclusively handles the resolution of back taxes.

    Fortress can help in a variety of ways, including OICs, abatement of penalties, IRS installment agreements and trust fund recovery penalties. For indebted small businesses, it can help with all state and federal tax issues.

    Customer satisfaction is a high priority for Fortress, and it does not accept a case until one of its attorneys has interviewed the prospective client and approved the case. Initial consultations are free. It doesn’t have a minimum debt requirement, but the company advises clients that a tax debt of less than $10,000 doesn't usually procure savings that outweigh the cost of Fortress’ services.

    Fortress usually charges its clients a flat fee, though some relatively rare circumstances may require an hourly fee of between $280 and $340 or so. Total costs can range from $1,000 to $15,000 or more, depending on the complexity of the case. The attorneys at Fortress handle no more than 100 clients at a time to give each case the focus it needs.

    Fortress notes on its website that it offers some kind of a money-back guarantee, stating, “If you do not wish to continue for any reason after the initial attorney consultation, just follow the simple instructions in our intake paperwork and we guarantee that 100% of any fees paid will be promptly refunded.” But it’s unclear if this money-back guarantee has any value, given that the initial consultation is supposed to be free.

    Fortress Tax Relief excels in these areas:

    • Work closely with an attorney
    • Available in all states

    The drawbacks of working with Fortress Tax Relief include:

    • High hourly fees
    • Unclear money-back guarantee

    Many praised the company for being responsive and for getting them out of very stressful financial situations. A number of reviewers characterized the tax relief attorneys at Fortress as capable and confident.

    “Unfortunately I had serious tax issues. A CFO had left me in a bad spot with the IRS. I had no idea what to do,” said one Indiana customer. “I worked with [Fortress] for over 10 years until my tax situations for my business and personal taxes were resolved. … They were able to get a significant amount of my penalties removed as well. I can't say enough about them.”

    Negative reviews complained that Fortress took too long to resolve tax issues or that Fortress’ services cost too much.

    Best for services offered
    Debt minimum
    Flat fees
    Money-back guarantee offered

    Optima’s founders met in business school at the University of Pennsylvania, and they founded Optima in order to provide solutions for individuals with unmanageable tax liabilities. Optima offers a full range of tax relief solutions, including tax negotiation and settlement, IRS audit defense, and assistance with tax levies, liens, wage garnishments and back taxes.

    While each tax case is unique, Optima estimates that it can help resolve many tax issues in two to six months. For individuals with a tax debt of $5,000 or more, you can request a free consultation with Optima and see if you qualify for help. Optima does not post clear pricing on its website.

    Alongside tax relief services, clients can enroll in one of Optima’s protection plans. These plans help you prepare and file taxes and stay protected from the IRS. There are three tiers offered, ranging in price from $29.99 per month to $69.99 per month.

    Optima has a 15-day money-back guarantee for anyone who does not like the service within the first two weeks. Clients can cancel during this time without any penalties or obligations.

    Optima Tax Relief offers the following perks:

    • 15-day money-back guarantee
    • Protection plans available

    What to consider

    • Pricing for tax relief services not posted
    • Protection plans are pricey

    Several reviewers said that Optima was professional and that they liked the outcome of their situation. One Indiana customer said: “My experience with Optima Tax Relief has been extremely positive. They treated me with respect and advised me on everything I needed to complete for each step of the process.”

    Negative reviews included clients who said Optima took three to four years to resolve their tax issues. Others warned against the upfront fees charged before services were rendered.

    Best for emergency tax relief

    Larson Tax Relief

    Debt minimum
    Flat fees
    Money-back guarantee offered

    Larson Tax Relief was established in 2005 and specializes in emergency and long-term tax relief. This family-owned business can represent clients in all 50 states. The company president, Jack Larson, is accredited with the NAEA and NATP.

    There is a minimum fee of $2,500 to work with the Larson Tax Relief team. The team usually advises debtors to use its services only if they have $15,000 or more in tax debt. Anyone can request a free consultation to find out approximately how much it would cost to get help with tax issues.

    Larson Tax Relief is so confident you will want to work with it that it offers a 15-day money-back guarantee. This allows clients to meet the team before making a financial commitment. Customer support is easy to connect to, with an online chat that gives an average response time before you start talking.

    Not only does the company post client testimonials, but it also posts redacted results of its interventions with tax authorities, so you can see the real resolution paperwork sent by the IRS to Larson Tax Relief’s customers.

    It can help with OICs, levy releases, penalty abatements, installment agreements and more.

    We recommend Larson Tax Relief for the following reasons:

    • Accredited tax professionals
    • 15-day money-back guarantee

    Before using Larson Tax Relief, be wary of:

    • High minimum fee
    • Moderately high debt minimum

    Customers recommended Larson Tax Relief because of its exceptional customer service and because they felt that the company cared about them and their tax issues. Many were thrilled to find peace with the IRS.

    One California client said that they felt comforted working with Larson Tax Relief, saying: “Great communication skills and always calm. Never did feeI I was alone with my taxes with them. Without asking they are on it with emails and phone calls to confirm all documents are taking care of with all parties. I can live with less stress!”

    Best for customer service
    Debt minimum
    Flat fees
    Money-back guarantee offered

    Established in 2010, Community Tax is a full-service tax company available in all 50 states. The team of tax practitioners and certified public accountants (CPAs) has helped more than 100,000 clients resolve over $800 million in tax liabilities.

    The process with Community Tax starts with professionals hearing your case and then providing you with a free tax analysis. Once you agree to work with Community Tax, it will get your documents from the IRS (or relevant state tax authority) and launch a full investigation. Next, you will be presented with the findings and start moving into the resolution phase to fix your current tax issues and prevent future delinquencies from occurring.

    Community Tax offers the most methods of contact, including phone, online chat and email. Customers can receive assistance in both English and Spanish.

    Community Tax offers a free consultation and a 14-day money-back guarantee. If you pay for a service and Community Tax can't offer the service it anticipated providing, you’ll be refunded. Community Tax charges flat fees, but it does not publish its fees on its website.

    We love Community Tax for the following:

    • Available in all states
    • 14-day money-back guarantee

    Some things to know before choosing Community Tax are:

    • Lack of transparent fee structure
    • Tax Assurance Program is relatively pricey

    Many praised Community Tax for excellent customer service and for giving them peace of mind. At least one reviewer was able to work with Community Tax to resolve an IRS bill over $100,000.

    One North Carolina reviewer said: “The reps I worked with were very open and they were good to me. They were very communicative and they answered my questions. Also, the payment was straightforward. I paid it all upfront, and it was simple over the phone. My experience was good and working with them got me caught up with the IRS.”

    Others felt that the process took too long and cost too much money to be worth it. A few reviewers complained that they had to stay on top of the communication and updates with Community Tax.

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      How to choose a tax relief company

      When choosing a tax relief company, you need to be cautious of scam companies that overpromise, overcharge and underdeliver results. Another red flag is a company that asks for full payment upfront before any work is done.

      Due to the uniqueness of each person’s tax debt situation, many companies do not publish service fees online. However, after a free consultation, the company should be very transparent about how much it will charge and when.

      When considering if a tax relief company is a good fit for you, do the following:

      • Check a company’s track record: How long has the company been in business? How many customers has it helped? Is it an accredited company? Read unbiased reviews on several different sites to get a feel of how customers are treated and if their tax debt was resolved in a reasonable amount of time.
      • Get a customized plan: A tax relief company should take the time to sit down with you for a free consultation and give you a customized action plan and estimated timeline. You want to work with individuals who treat your case like it's one of a kind.
      • Know who is working on your case: There are many different titles in the tax profession, but not all of them are equipped to handle every type of tax debt. Understand who will be working on your case and what makes them qualified to do so. For more extreme cases of tax debt, a tax attorney may be a better fit than an enrolled agent.

      » MORE: How to choose a financial advisor

      Tax debt relief programs

      Tax relief is any reduction or removal of liability in taxes owed by an individual taxpayer or business entity. Tax relief companies employ tax experts, including tax attorneys, certified public accountants and enrolled agents, who serve as intermediaries between their clients and the IRS. These tax experts work with the IRS to find ways for clients to resolve their tax debt.

      Here are some of the common programs that a tax relief company or attorney can offer:

      Depending on your circumstances, an offer in compromise (OIC) may be the smartest way to handle your tax debts. An offer in compromise shrinks your tax liability based on what the IRS determines you can realistically pay.

      In order to qualify for an offer in compromise, you must meet the IRS’ eligibility requirements and complete its online application. To determine what percentage of your tax bill you can pay, the IRS has you take a means test to assess the following aspects of your situation:

      • Your income
      • Your physical assets
      • Your expenses
      You could qualify for innocent spouse relief if your spouse or former spouse omitted or improperly reported items, including capital gains, on your joint tax return. Innocent spouse relief only applies to tax debts on your spouse’s individual income from employment or self-employment, and you must request relief within two years of the date the IRS attempted to collect the amount from you. If innocent spouse relief doesn’t fit your tax situation, there are two other forms of joint tax relief:
      • Separation of liability relief provides for the separate allocation of your taxes from a spouse you’re no longer living with or your former or legally separated spouse. If your spouse incorrectly reported something on your joint tax form, you’re only required to pay the tax amount allocated to you by the IRS.
      • Equitable spouse relief provides an allocation or deduction of tax debt if your spouse understated their income, took deductions or credits that they were actually ineligible for or misrepresented their assets’ value. Those who aren’t eligible for innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief may be eligible for equitable spouse relief if they filed a joint return and it would be unfair for them to be held liable for their spouse’s understated or unpaid tax debt.
      An installment agreement is a tax repayment plan offered by the IRS that lets people pay their unpaid taxes in monthly installments. The IRS offers long-term installment agreements and short-term payment plans; both plans have different requirements.
      Tax penalty abatement waives a penalty the IRS has issued to a taxpayer. These penalties are often given for failing to file taxes on time or missing a tax payment. You might qualify for penalty abatement if you were penalty-free for three years before receiving the penalty you’re attempting to have waived. You might also be eligible if you filed an extension request or if you paid or plan to pay the amount due. Because failure-to-pay penalties grow over time, you should pay off the penalty before requesting the penalty abatement. If it is granted, you receive a rebate.
      CNC status, also called a hardship extension, can be used to stop an IRS lien, levy, seizure or termination of an installment agreement. The IRS declares a taxpayer currently not collectible only if the taxpayer has no way to pay their debt while still paying basic living expenses.

      Once you receive CNC status, the IRS reviews your case annually to determine whether your financial situation has changed. Any refunds you qualify for may be kept by the IRS and applied to your outstanding tax debts.

      The IRS Fresh Start program is a streamlined installment plan that makes it easier for individuals and small businesses to pay back taxes while avoiding tax liens, interest, penalties, garnishments or seizure of assets. It began in 2011 for taxpayers who owe less than $50,000 and earn less than $100,000 per year, but the IRS expanded the program to include more flexible terms.

      To qualify for the IRS Fresh Start program, you must be current with your tax filings for the present tax year, and you must be able to repay your tax debt within five years or less, among other requirements.

      Alternatives to tax relief programs

      Before you call a tax relief service, make sure you fully understand where you stand with the IRS, especially if this is your first year of receiving a letter.

      “Most of the time, the IRS sends letters to taxpayers due to proposed reductions to their tax refunds or additional amounts owed,” said Kevin Matthews, an accounting professor at the George Mason University School of Business.

      “Not addressing these notices can be risky, as the IRS usually will make the reduced credit or additional expense stick, leaving the client with a bill that they shouldn’t have to pay. Furthermore, they can levy money if the amount is not paid, and/or the IRS can also put a garnishment on payments or wages received to get their taxes paid.”

      For minor tax debt cases, you might be able to tackle the problem on your own. Here are some alternatives to try before using a tax relief program.

      • Set up an online payment plan with the IRS: You can apply for a short-term or long-term payment plan through the IRS if you cannot pay your whole tax bill upfront. For those that owe under $50,000 in tax debt, the IRS can approve you for a payment plan of over 180 days to help.
      • Take out a loan: If possible, it can be less expensive in the long run to pay your tax bill in full by taking out a personal loan or a home equity loan. This avoids the extra costs of penalties and interest charged by the IRS.
      • Amend your tax return: If you believe there's an error on your tax return that has led to an inflated tax bill, you can file an amended return. If the IRS agrees with the changes, this could reduce your tax liability.

      » MORE: What to do if you receive a letter from the IRS


      Are tax relief companies legit?

      Yes, legitimate tax relief companies do exist and they can help taxpayers lower their tax debt or create an affordable payment plan. Be wary of scam companies that promise results that seem too good to be true, charge high upfront fees and have a lack of transparency about their services.

      Can a tax debt be forgiven?

      Taxpayers can have their IRS tax debts partially forgiven under some circumstances. The IRS forgives an outstanding tax liability only when it can’t collect more than your present financial circumstances reasonably allow you to pay. Put another way: The IRS can’t force you to pay back taxes if it creates a financial crisis for you. Keep in mind that IRS tax debt forgiveness programs typically do not erase tax debts, but they do reduce their burden.

      You can get your tax debt partially forgiven through an offer in compromise or another IRS tax debt forgiveness program, such as Fresh Start.

      Who qualifies for tax relief?

      If you fall behind on tax payments and are unable to pay your taxes in full, you may qualify for tax relief. Tax relief companies often require minimum tax debts before they help with back tax issues — $10,000 is the standard minimum debt requirement. It’s best to call several tax relief companies and speak to representatives to learn more about whether you qualify for back tax debt relief.

      How much does tax relief cost?

      Generally, the price of tax resolution services varies based on the complexity of the case. Tax relief companies might charge as little as $250 for penalty abatement or upward of $10,000 for an OIC case.

      After a free initial consultation, tax relief agents usually charge a $400 to $600 setup fee. Tax relief companies vary on how they bill clients after this, however. Tax resolution fees can be based on billable time, your debt level or a flat fee.


      To make our selection for the top tax relief companies, we collected 17 individual data points from 20 tax relief companies and tax lawyers, including over 2,000 customer reviews and overall ratings from ConsumerAffairs readers.

      We then used this data to examine the factors that have the most impact on customers.

      • Fees and fee transparency: We considered which companies listed their fees or had reviews that reflected positively on fee transparency. Additionally, more weight was given to companies that offered free, no-pressure tax debt consultations.
      • Availability: The majority of our top picks can help customers across the nation, even if there are limited physical locations.
      • Customer service: We considered whether the company offered customer service via multiple channels (in-person locations, telephone and live chat), which languages it offered assistance in and the number of positive reviews it had from ConsumerAffairs readers.

      Customer ratings and experience are important to us when we’re choosing companies that are the best fit for our readers. However, for those companies on our list with no ratings or no recent positive ratings on ConsumerAffairs, there were other factors that made them good tax relief picks.

      Not sure how to choose?

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