5 Questions You Should Ask a Tax Pro Before Hiring Them

Can you guarantee that you will settle my tax debt for pennies on the dollar?
Settling a tax debt for pennies on the dollar, or an Offer in Compromise, is a long and difficult process. In fact, only 2% of people who apply actually get accepted. So if you go to a tax professional and they claim they can guarantee you'll get an Offer in Compromise with the IRS, they're not being completely honest with you.

How will you get my debt settled with the IRS?
A good tax professional will be able to walk you through the process step by step, and should be able to explain it to you in a way that you can understand. If they start giving you a mouthful of technical jargon, but don't actually answer your question, you should be wary of their practices.

What's your standing with the Better Business Bureau?
Research the company with the Better Business Bureau first. When you ask them what their standing is and they give you a different answer than the BBB, ask them why their information is so different. Chances are the actual status is worse than what they'll tell you.

When you say my case will be handled by a tax professional, what do you mean?
There are only three professionals that the IRS will negotiate with on a tax debt. They are tax attorneys, CPAs, and licensed enrolled agents. If the company you go to doesn't immediately tell you one of those three will be working on your case, they may be scamming you.

How much will this cost me?
The actual cost of services from a tax professional depends on the company, the amount of debt, and the solution you're hiring them for. But unless you owe a very large debt, a good rule of thumb is that you shouldn't have to pay more than $5,000 for a tax professional's service. Even if the price seems fair, remember to ask the other questions first. Because getting ripped off is still getting ripped off no matter how much you pay.

Of course there are legitimate tax professional services out there. And they can and will help you with your tax debt. The key is finding the one that doesn't try to sell you on the most appealing solution, but to find the one that listens to you and offers you the most realistic solution.

Now you have the smoking gun... Use it!