When it comes to choosing a tax professional to resolve a tax problem, represent you before the IRS, or handle complex tax issues, it is important to work with someone with the experience and expertise to deal with your situation effectively. You need to find someone you can rely on and trust. There are a lot of people out there claiming to be “the best,” so how do you choose? Here are some things to keep in mind when looking for the right person to handle your taxes.
An Enrolled Agent, Attorney, or CPA Should Have a Good Reputation
You are going to spend your hard earned money to hire this person or firm. The more you know about them, the better off you will be. Spend a little bit of time doing your homework – it will save you from wasting your time and money in the long run.
A quick internet search with the name of the company you are looking at and the word “scam,” “complaint”, “fraud,” or “rip-off,” after the company name or name of the representative you are considering working with will let you know if there are any consumer complaints against them. Be aware that few fine companies like ours are referred to by other as an alternative to the bad ones listed on the complaint boards.
If they pass this test, then ask if they can provide referrals. If they can’t or won’t give you these, chances are this is not the company for you.
Know What You are Paying For
Discuss exactly what you will be paying for, and what results you can expect with the person who will be actually working on the majority of your case. You want to know who to speak to and who is actually responsible for your case. Again, remember you are the customer, you are hiring the company, and you are paying good money for a service. You should know what you are getting, who you are working with, and what to expect.
Only Work with Someone with Professional Credentials
There are three important credentials to look out for in your tax matters. You want to work with a CPA (certified public accountant), EA (enrolled agent), or an attorney. It’s also important to find someone with the right mix of accounting, tax knowledge, and representation experience required to be effective. It is possible for EAs to be given the qualification without taking the exam (this is something that happens with many ex-IRS collection division employees). Know who you are working with and what their qualifications they have.
Assess Their Experience
Ask your potential tax representative how many collection cases, tax returns, or offers have they done recently. Ask them to recall successful resolutions, and cases that went the IRS’s way, etc. They can discuss all without breaking confidentiality (by not giving you the client’s names). The purpose of asking these questions is not to establish their track record, but to see if they do this often. There should be no hesitation to recall any of this information.
Beware of Unscrupulous Companies
Unfortunately, there are companies out there aren’t forthright with their advertising promises. Statistics such as we did an offer in compromise for someone who owed $250,000 and settled for $3,000 can be misleading. You need to know that offers are based on the taxpayer’s assets and ability to pay, known as RCP or reasonable collection potential. If someone doesn’t have equity in assets, and very little income, the offer will settle for just a few dollars. When working with a representative, you’ll want them to be able to negotiate effectively to get you the best result possible – but their promises should be realistic based on your circumstances.
You should also beware of people stating they will get your offer settled for pennies on the dollar – since an offer is an agreement to settle for less than the full amount, this is a given. However, the implication when this phrase is used is that the settlement will be very little. This may or may not be the case. Recently, the IRS has begun cracking down on companies and people who use this type of claim.
Statements guaranteeing that the company will work faster than anyone else, or that they can get your levy or lien removed immediately, or that they offer a money back guarantee, or only taxation attorneys can represent you effectively are all misleading. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Negotiated settlements are always at the IRS’s discretion. No experienced representative has an unfair advantage over another.
The bottom line is that nothing takes the place of knowledge, experience, and exceptional work ethic. Your judgment of character after meeting or speaking at length with the potential tax advisor is of great value.
Our firm has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau and all cases are personally handled by the principle of the firm, Mike Habib (EA).
With over 20 years experience in taxation and financial advisory to individuals, small businesses, and fortune 500 companies, I have solutions to your tax problems.
• I handle each client’s case personally and attempt to successfully negotiate the best possible solution for him or her.
• I offer a free initial consultation so that I can gather the facts and determine what options are available for you.
• Evening and weekend appointments for clients that cannot meet with me during the week.
• Let me take the burden off your shoulders.
I promise that I will resolve your tax problem, and negotiate the lowest settlement allowed by law.
Mike is an IRS licensed enrolled agent (EA), ELP Endorsed Local Provider by Former Dave Ramsey ELP 2012-2019, and can help you Get Tax Relief & IRS Debt Relief by solving your IRS problems.
To discuss your situation, please contact our tax firm for a free tax consultation at 877-788-2937.