Getting Good Help: The unfortunate truth about the tax resolution business is that there are tons of companies out there that are just interested in your money. They’ll tell you whatever they think you want to hear, just to get you to agree to their contract. So how do you know who to trust and who to avoid?
Pennies on the Dollar: If any company that tells you that they can settle your debt for “Pennies on the Dollar,” you need to be very careful about that company. They’re talking about the Offer in Compromise Program. While this program is a good way of resolving your issue, not everyone qualifies for it. In fact, very few taxpayers actually qualify for this program. So you need to make sure you’re speaking with someone that shows you the formula and explains to you how you qualify.
Retainer Fees: Sadly, a lot of companies will hide fees in their contract that you aren’t aware of. The biggest way they do this is with retainer fees. A “retainer” fee is a down payment on retaining a companies services. This is a way of maintaining the right to charge you an unlimited amount of fees. Another way they do this is by charging you “convenience fees.” They’ll basically quote you one fee over the phone and send you another on the contract. And speaking of the phone, that brings me to the next red flag:
Credit Card Info: We all know that in this day of technology, our identities are everything we have. The last thing we want to do is put ourselves in a position where someone could get our information. But sometimes companies put us in positions where they ask us for our credit/debit card or banking information over the phone. This is a high-pressure sales tactic and you should make sure that unless it is a highly reputable company (QVC for example) then it should not be done.
Study, Study, Study: The bottom line is, you want to research any company you have working for you. This isn’t just something you’re buying; you’re trusting these people with your finances! So make sure to check any company you’re considering with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Dun and Bradstreet, the state’s Attorney General, and their local Chamber of Commerce. By following these steps you can resolve your debt, without losing your shirt in the process.
Now you have the Smoking Gun…Use It!