Are you suffocating under heavy tax debt? If yes, then you must be tempted by the advertisements that claim to settle your tax debt. People with back taxes or audit/collection problems are often vulnerable to the apparently good offers from the fraud tax relief firms. These days, tax debt relief scams are all over the internet and also to an extent on television and radio broadcasts. Here are some ways which would help you to detect shady companies:

1. The “pennies on the dollar” companies are usually scams. They would assure you with false guarantees and ask for lump sum upfront fees. Eventually they exhibit unusual interest in getting their payment and little or no interest to render you their services. You should also understand that a company or firm can comment on your chances of a tax debt settlement only after an in-depth probing of your situation. FTC has shut down American Tax Relief, one such shady company for similar reason.

2. Fraud tax debt settlement companies also cheat people through emails. These emails would ask for your personal information or to click on some link that takes you to a fraud tax debt settlement website. Also, several scam sites pose as the official IRS site. While some of these sites look cheap and are easy to recognize, others may deceive even experienced people. The IRS never starts a conversation through email. So such emails should be strictly marked as spam.

3. You should be rather suspicious of a tax debt settlement company if they do not ask you whether you really owe the tax or not. Scam companies are always too eager to push you towards offer-in-compromise because they would earn maximum profit from it. So sending your tax documents to the IRS and resolving the issue is certainly not what they are after.

4. Another sign of a scam tax debt settlement company is that, the representative who handles your case changes on a regular basis. An authentic and dependable firm would assign the responsibility to handle your case, solely to a single attorney. This is very important because the tax attorney needs to have every detail of your case to represent you convincingly before the IRS. So a frequent change of representative is either a reflection of the company’s indifferent attitude or serious lack of human resources. Also, the representatives of many firms are unresponsive or slow which can seriously hurt you especially if you have a fluctuating income. This too does not speak for the company.

5. Usually the company estimates the money that would be needed initially and you need to deposit the sum accordingly. This is logical since a company can be apprehensive about the abilities of someone in tax debt. If you see that the money to be deposited depends on the balance in your bank account, then you have reasons to be skeptical. This is an indication of scam.

6. Scam companies usually have phony offices. Their addresses are mostly nothing more than mailing addresses or large rooms shared with many other companies. So choose a company with well established office. Also, try to find out how long they have been in business and their Better Business Bureau (BBB) accredition.

7. If you Google the company’s name and find consumer complains then better avoid it. Surely, no tax firm can satisfy every client. But if there is an anonymous opinion against the company or there are many websites who have a particular dislike for the company, then play safe.

Look out for the above mentioned signs before you opt tax debt relief firm. Your time and money, both are valuable.

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