You need Help: So you owe the IRS, but you're not sure where to turn? You've seen the commercials on T.V. saying that your IRS debt can be settled for "Pennies on the Dollar." Well we all know about the reality of those programs. But some companies use other tactics to try and take your money.
Retainer What? Several tax resolution companies have "retainer fees" which are basically down payments on retaining the companies services. The red flag about these fees is it gives the company permission to charge you an unlimited amount of money. They start working on the case for $1500 dollars, then in two months they ask for another $1000, then a few weeks later another $1000. If you want a good company, make sure they offer flat costs, and not a huge amount of money up front.
Hidden Fees: One of the sneakiest tactics companies use is hiding their fees. They'll tell you one price over the phone, but then when you receive the agreement it's a higher price because of something like a "convenience fee." Another way companies do this is by charging more money if the payment is broken up over time. You want a company you can trust will charge you one flat fee, and give you a few months to pay it.
Risky Business: Some of these companies will tell you that they can help you, and will sell you all the way down the line. But when it comes down to payment, they want to take your credit/debit card or checking account information over the phone. This is a high pressure sales tactic that many companies use. By doing this, they have full access to your finances, and can take you for a lot of money. If someone asks you for this information over the phone, end the call.
Dodging a Bullet: If you look for these tactics, you'll be shocked at how many companies use them. Don't fall victim to these tricks. Get educated and don't get taken for a ride!
Now you have the Smoking Gun...Use it!