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6 helpful tips for choosing the best tax relief service

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A tax relief service can help you resolve your issues with the IRS — and choosing the right one can increase your odds of a positive outcome.  Getty Images/iStockphoto

It's officially tax season and, for many Americans, the looming deadlines, complex paperwork and fear of costly penalties or owing money that come with it can turn the filing process into a source of stress and anxiety. For those who have fallen behind on taxes in recent years due to difficult life circumstances, the situation can feel hopeless as interest and penalties quickly pile up.

But if you're one of the many people who are trying to catch up on back taxes during a new tax season, the good news is that tax relief services can help. When you owe money to the IRS, a tax relief company may be able to negotiate a settlement and set up an affordable payment plan, providing relief from the overwhelming tax debt.

There are a lot of tax relief companies out there, though, and it's important to choose a reputable one to improve your odds of a positive outcome. So how do you choose the right tax relief service when you need it? 

Explore your tax relief options online today.

6 helpful tips for choosing the best tax relief service

If your goal is to find the best tax relief service, the tips outlined below can help you narrow down your options.

Check their qualifications 

Not all tax relief services are created equal in terms of expertise and credibility. Some are run by highly qualified professionals like certified public accountants or tax attorneys who have deep knowledge of tax resolution through extensive training and are regulated. Others may be staffed by tax negotiators who have minimal qualifications — but could still be useful in the right circumstances. 

When searching for the right tax relief service for you, make sure the firm employs experienced tax professionals who specialize in negotiating tough cases. Because tax relief will generally require some negotiation with the IRS, having experienced tax negotiators on your side can improve your odds of a positive outcome

Find out more about the tax relief services available to you here.

Compare their services

Tax relief companies can offer varying levels of service. For example, more comprehensive firms provide full-service representation which includes filing missing returns, negotiating settlements, setting up payment plans and handling appeals if needed. Other companies have more limited service offerings focused only on specific areas like negotiations or payment plans. 

Neither one is the best solution in every case, as each person will have different needs and goals. So, to find the best fit for you, start by evaluating what level of assistance you require based on the complexity of your back tax situation and then start narrowing down the options.

Get free consultations

Reputable tax relief firms will generally provide free consultations to prospective clients who need to cut their tax debt. This allows them to evaluate your specific tax issues and eligibility for their services — and allows you to determine whether the service is a good fit for your unique needs. 

You can use these free consultations as an opportunity to interview the company, understand their process for resolving tax debt and get clear pricing structures and fee details. You can also use the information gleaned in these consultations to determine if their approach and style feel like a good personal fit for you.

Check their pricing 

Tax resolution services can vary significantly in cost. Before you make any decisions or commit to a service, be sure to get full pricing details upfront — including all potential fees and costs so there are no surprises. And, as you narrow down the options, be sure that you understand exactly what services are included at that price.

Read online reviews 

Online customer reviews can be extremely insightful when evaluating a company's track record of success and customer satisfaction. So, as you search for the right tax relief service, be sure to check review sites, watch out for potential fake or planted reviews and pay close attention to any recurring negative comments or complaints about service issues, hidden fees or inability to deliver results. This kind of information can help you make a more well-rounded decision on which companies are legitimate — and which would be the best fit for you.

Ensure data security 

When working with a tax relief service — or any financial services firm that will have access to your personal and confidential data like tax returns, Social Security numbers, bank accounts, etc. — it's important to make sure they have robust cybersecurity systems and protocols in place to protect your privacy and prevent data breaches. 

As you compare your options, ask about their specific data security and safety measures. If a company is unwilling or unable to give you clear information about its data security protocols, that could be a sign that you should steer clear of what they're offering. 

The bottom line

If you're struggling to pay your back taxes and aren't sure how to move forward, a legitimate tax relief service can be a vital lifeline. By hiring experts to properly represent you, it's possible to regain control and find a path forward to becoming compliant. So, if you're feeling overwhelmed by tax debt, the key may be to do proper research using the tips above to find a qualified tax relief company that can help get your financial situation back in order.

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