Saturday

Tax Relief Problem-Reaction-Solution-Scam | What to Expect When Hiring a "Financial" or "Consulting" Tax Firm

It amazes me that people will hire a tax firm before they speak to the actual person who will be representing them before the IRS and/or the State.  

You can like what the sales person has to spin say but the person who is handling your case is the one you are going to have spend the next several months working with.

A salesperson has nothing to lose in what they are selling you.  They can promise you the world and as long as they get your money they allow the person who is actually representing you to down sell what they promised you.

The problems starts when a tax lien is filed, then the well polished (or not-so-well polished) sales person pitches you by offering false promises (i.e. abate all penalties and do it in less than 45 days, etc.) then you are resold by their "production" department.  Here is a detailed list of how it works:
  1. Pull a list of publicly filed Federal and State tax liens.
  2. Have a department of people do a public records search for phone number.
  3. Have a sales floor full of telemarketing openers (usually women for the "soft" open) cold call taxpayers to peak interest.
  4. After interest has been peaked by promising to resolve the case in 45 days with a guarantee to reduce the tax debt the call is transferred to a high-pressure telemarketing "closer" for the "hard sale".
  5. Closer promises more results and after he gets you to agree to hire transfers your case to a "team" assigned to represent your case before the Internal Revenue Service.
  6. Your case gets assigned to an Associate or Tax Consultant and the initial "turnover" call between you and the people actually working your case takes place.  Expect a different story from what you were sold from the sales department.
  7. Work begins to bill down your retainer by sending you out several boiler plate letters.  Often times double billed (the Associate or Tax Consultant charges you for "dictate"i.e draft the letter by using a recorder (they don't do this anymore-they simply have the same boiler plate letters going out to every client  and another charge by the assistant or "para" to "transcribe"i.e write the letter. 
  8. After your initial retainer is used up expect a letter then a call from the Associate assigned to your case asking for another few thousand dollars to continue working.  They have a high monthly quota to hit, with experience Associates being pressured to bring in anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000 in "re-writes", i.e obtaining additional funds from their caseload of clients.  
The salesrooms floors look like that bar scene from the original Star Wars. The professionals who work at these companies are mostly people who have been duped just like their clients, into thinking it was a company that actually helps people.

Of course I am in this industry to make my livelihood but you don't have to be a crook to make a decent living doing it.  The thing that frustrates me is that it can be difficult selling the truth vs. selling unrealistic results.

Studying for the CPA exam I came across the concept of "conservatism" which states that as a CPA you are required to provide a high degree of verification before making a claim.  Overestimating an outcome will get you in trouble.  This is true for not only CPA's but also for Lawyers and Enrolled Agents.

As an unlicensed salesperson you can spew whatever nonsense you think of if it helps you bring in a new deal, making it very difficult for someone like myself to bring in new clients.   Circular 230 offers a vague statement that people who are unlicensed should not be making sales calls soliciting tax preparation or tax representation services.  Of course this does not stop the several hundred and growing number of tax relief companies from engaging in this process.


In my state there are a handful of companies that cold call using unlicensed telemarketers and new companies are added (and closed) it seems like every month.  If you had a tax lien filed you have most likely been called by one (or all) of the following companies:

Omni-Financial (either their Florida or Colorado Offices),
Clear Creek Consulting,
Berkshire Financial aka Berkshire Capital Partners aka Berkshire Tax Resolution (formerly Quantum Financial),
Union Tax Consulting,
Tax Resolution Center,
Safe Harbor Financial Consulting,
Mackinaw Financial,
Larson Financial,
Phoenix Group,
etc.

If you want to hire someone independent from the typical boiler room who will treat you fairly and honestly give me a call at 866-947-7209 or local at 720.340.4065.