Tax time is notoriously stressful, especially if you find out that you owe the IRS. As Time reports, the changes made to the tax code by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act law have generally resulted in larger tax bills and smaller refunds.1

If you owe the IRS, a tax relief company can provide invaluable assistance, but choosing a reliable one is vital. How do you know if you should hire a tax relief company? Asking the right questions can help you make smart decisions about which company to hire.

What Does a Look at Top Consumer Reviews Reveal?

When you are seeking a reliable tax relief company, it’s best to choose an established firm that has the experience and resources to get results and a reputation for doing so. Finding the right firm means doing your homework — and review sites are definitely a helpful tool. However, some review sites offer more reliable insights than others.

Why should Top Consumer Reviews be your first stop when you are evaluating a tax relief company? This trusted site has been providing consumers with useful evaluations of companies and services since 2006 and its efforts have recognized by both ABC and

How Many Reviews Does the Company Have?

While a happy customer singing the praise of a company is typically a good sign, excellent service shouldn’t be a one-time thing. How can you discover if a tax relief company consistently delivers quality service and recognizable results for its customers? Look at the number of positive reviews the company has on reputable review sites.

Customer Lobby is a third-party rating organization with a reputation for being impartial, so it’s a perfect place to start your count. Ideally, a tax relief firm should have tallied more than 700 five-star reviews with the site.3

Does the Company Charge a Flat Fee?

When weighing the cost of a tax relief company’s service, you’ll find some firms that charge a flat fee and others that bill on an hourly basis. For the vast majority of consumers, the flat fee is the better option.

Government gears grind slowly. Dealing with the IRS to solve a tax issue is rarely a quick and easy task, so hourly charges can really stack up. With a flat fee, you’ll not only be likely to pay less but also know exactly what you are going to be paying for the company’s services from the start.

What Is the Requirement for the Minimum Debt Owed?

How much do you owe the IRS? It’s important to keep that information in mind when you’re searching for a tax relief company that you can trust because some companies only work with consumers whose debts reach a certain minimum threshold.

If you are being told that you owe $10,000, there is no point in wasting your time researching tax relief companies that only accept customers with a minimum debt owed of $20,000 or more. Identifying which companies are a good fit for your particular circumstances can help you focus your investigation and make it easier to choose the right tax relief company for your situation.

Does the Company Perform an Investigation?

As Forbes reports, at nearly 75,000 pages long, the U.S. tax code is not a quick read. Tax issues are incredibly complex, so it’s important to select a tax relief company that is prepared to deal with the big picture rather than just a single issue.

To make sure that nothing crucial is overlooked and avoid paying taxes that you don’t truly owe, choose a tax relief company that begins its efforts with a thorough investigation of your tax situation. A proper investigation allows the company to can pinpoint all potential problems, review all possible solutions, and determine the best path forward by offering a comprehensive solution that resolves all your tax issues.

Additional Consideration When Evaluating a Tax Relief Company

The questions listed above are a good starting point, but it is wise to dig a little deeper when you are hiring a tax relief company to help you with your tax troubles. Before signing a contract, it’s a good idea to consider additional criteria like the following:

  1. Staff: Does the company’s team include professionals like licensed tax attorneys and enrolled agents who are qualified to represent you before the IRS? Are criminal investigators, certified public accountants, and auditors on its staff? Does it have friendly, knowledgeable support staff who can ensure that your experience goes as smoothly as possible?
  2. Accreditations: Does the firm hold membership in the National Association of Tax Professionals, the American Society of Tax Problem Solvers, or other professional organizations? Is it an IRS-approved provider of continuing education for tax professionals?
  3. Experience: How long has the company been in business? When it comes to dealing with the IRS, how much experience do its employees have? Does the company have experience handling cases similar in nature to yours? Can it handle a wide variety of tax problems? Is it used to using an array of resolution measures to get results?
  4. Services: What services does the company offer? Can it handle federal taxes, state taxes, or both? Does it deal with personal and corporate taxes? Will it file back taxes? Is it licensed in all 50 states?
  5. Guarantees: Does the company offer a money-back guarantee on its investigation fees? How long is the guarantee good for?
  6. Rates: Does the company charge competitive rates for its services? Is the initial consultation free?
  7. Payment options: Does the company demand payment up front or offer payment plans? If payment plans are available, how much interest is charged?

Research with Caution

Discovering that your tax burden is more than you can comfortably bear can certainly be unnerving, but don’t panic. Help is available, and you can find it with a little time and effort. When trying to determine if you should hire a tax relief company, review their reputation, resources, practices, and policies carefully. Take the time to comparison shop so that you know what is reasonable. Beware of any company that makes unrealistic promises, especially if they demand payment upfront.

Ultimately, doing your homework before hiring a tax relief company can help you select an effective ally who has the knowledge and skills needed to help you resolve your tax issues. Why not start your search today?