Skip to main content

Dissecting a Retainer Billing Statement from a Large Tax Resolution Company

Retainer Billing Practices 101

All large tax resolution companies bill by the hour. The contract you sign, usually titled an engagement letter, service or work agreement, may not clearly state that you will be billed by the hour, sometimes it is hidden with broad language and vague legalese not immediately recognized by non-attorneys.  The salesperson may tell you it is a "flat-fee" but then you will be surprised when they send you a retainer statement a month or two down the road asking you to "replenish" your retainer by sending them extra money (usually thousands).

Here is a copy of a "monthly retainer billing statement" from one of the larger tax resolution companies. I am currently working with this taxpayer to obtain a refund from this firm he fired after coming to me.

Please keep in mind that I don't mean to suggest that everyone who works at these companies are necessarily bad people, but they are pushed by their management team to get in as much money from their current clientele as possible. So although you would reasonably assume that your interests are aligned with theirs i.e. they get the best results for you and get to brag about it, sounds reasonable, but the reality is their priority is to milk you for as much of your money as quickly as possible, over and above the initial retainer or fee. They will not resolve your case, in fact they will stall, until they can manipulate as much money out of you as possible.  The same seedy tactics that are employed by used car dealers and mechanics to rip you off are prevalent in the tax resolution industry. 

This client was charged $612.56 in overhead expenses alone.  I really feel bad for taxpayers who go with companies like this, especially when their are better alternatives out there to resolve their tax liability (although it seems like all companies that start out with good intent eventually fall to their owners greed).  Bottom line:  hire an independent who takes pride in their craft and not just their monthly quota.    

Click on the images to enlarge. 


Popular posts from this blog

Keys to a Successful Offer in Compromise | Nicholas Hartney, EA | Genesis Tax Consultants, LLC ©

Keys to Unlock a Successful Offer in Compromise ©by Nicholas Hartney, EA © of Genesis Tax Consultants, LLC©*Updated Article 2018 Here
Contact me: Nicholas Hartney Licensed to Represent Taxpayers Before the IRS 
The Offer in Compromise is an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles the taxpayer’s liability for some amount which is less than the full amount due. The IRS has the authority to settle or compromise federal tax liabilities by accepting less than full payment under certain circumstances.

The taxpayer makes an Offer in Compromise on Form 656. If the IRS accepts the Offer in Compromise, then a contract is formed in which the IRS agrees to cancel the tax debt in return for the payment of the agreed sum. The IRS has a whole set of rules, policies and procedures which govern when it will accept an offer.

Unfortunately, you just don’t offer to pay them 10, 25, or 50 cents on the dollar. They look at your offer, compare it to their guidelines and then either accept it, rej…

2010 IRS Nationwide Tax Forum San Diego Review

The 2010 IRS Nationwide Tax Forum was nicely set up and had some great presentation speakers.

Some of the highlights discussed from the forum:
There were almost one million federal tax liens filed in 2009.The National Taxpayer Advocate's Office discovered that federal tax liens drop your credit score 100 points as soon as they are filed.  The investigation also found that the three major reporting credit agencies, Experian, Equifax, and Transunion, do not remove tax liens for years, if at all, even after the tax has been paid.  The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows the agencies to keep the lien on your credit report for up to 7 years after payment in full.  Regardless of this Act for some reason the investigation found that Equifax keeps liens on your report for up to 15 years, Experian keeps the liens on your report for 10 years, and TransUnion indefinently!  Federal Tax Lien filings went up 475% over the past 10 years.Bankruptcy on back taxes are dischargable in a bankruptcy 3 year…

Preparing IRS Form 1045 Tentative Carryback Application or Carryback Claim Net Operation Loss (NOL)

Preparing Form 1045 to apply a tentative carry-back loss is ridiculously complicated for most people.  Even seasoned tax prepares have difficulties preparing this form. 

If after you filed an amendment to your tax return (Form 1040X) and the IRS sends you a notice requesting that you now file Form 1045 you should consider calling someone for help!  I filed one of these forms back in June for a client of mine and just received notice that it was approved, lowering the taxpayer's liability down from $8492 to $2900.

You may want to contact me on this.

If you wanted to try to tackle the 1045 yourself here are the instructions:

Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service 2010
Instructions for Form 1045
Application for Tentative Refund
Section references are to the Internal Definitions connection with gambling, the racing
Revenue Code unless otherwise noted. of animals, or the on-site viewing of
Eligible loss. For an individual, an such racing, and the portion of any