How We Chose The Tax Relief Companies
For this analysis, we began by evaluating 23 tax relief companies and scoring them based on a number of criteria. We only evaluated companies that offered free consultations, had been in business for at least five years, and had no complaints filed with the FTC.
We then took a look at the types of services offered and evaluated the companys customer service. We analyzed customer reviews using the Better Business Bureau and other review websites, taking into consideration any relevant certifications or accreditations. Finally, we asked about the companys pricing structure, minimum debt amounts, and any money-back guarantees.
What Customers Are Saying
Us Tax Shield reviews submitted to our site show a pattern of expressed frustration due to the lack of positive customer service they received from US Tax Shield professionals. Some reviewers felt that US Tax Shield did not lower their tax debt at all. Some felt that the company could not provide the services they were seeking, such as help with non-collectible status or tax guidance for home-based business, due to the minimum tax debt requirement. Other reviews submitted to our team indicated an inability to receive help from US Tax Shield staff because the company was generally inaccessible–failing to return phone calls or follow up with information.
How To Protect Yourself
The advice here is the same: Never open an email supposedly from the IRS. And if you do, never download any attachments or click on any links.
As the IRS says, it will never send unsolicited emails to you. It also will not send sensitive documents such as a tax transcript to consumers. If you get such an email? Delete it immediately.
Your taxes could be getting filed in your name by someone else.
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Professional And Fantastic Tax Services
US Tax Shield is professional, courteous and timely. I used them due to some issues with previous filings. They sorted all of that for me and have been my Tax preparer’s since. The staff is energetic, communicative and efficient. I wouldn’t use anyone else. I wish I’d known about them years ago. Thanks to the team!
Reply from US Tax Shield
Hello!Thank you so much for your feedback! It was our pleasure in assisting you. We look forward to continuing to prepare your tax returns and providing you with the utmost service. Best,
Reply from US Tax Shield
—–UPDATE—–We want to thank Mr. Charles for taking the time to speak to us and allowing us to address his concerns. We had an in depth conversation clarifying the penalty abatement and resolution that was successfully negotiated on his behalf. This resulted in a mutual understanding between Mr. Charles and myself. We are glad the matter was resolved and wish Mr. Charles the best of luck. Respectfully,
Best For Small Tax Debt: Communitytax
CommunityTax doesnt have the lowest minimum debt requirement in the tax relief industry, but we still felt it deserved the Best for Small Tax Debt title due to its ample resources and services aimed at those with lower amounts of debt. Individuals with tax debt under $10,000 may even find all the help they need for free through CommunityTaxs generous free online resource library and mobile app.
Offers a 14-day money-back guarantee
IRS-approved continuing education provider
Community Tax Assurance Program with mobile app
Will accept cases under $10,000
Pricing less straightforward than competitors
Some consumer complaints regarding state tax issues
Chat support lacks functionality
Generally speaking, tax debts under $10,000 arent worth paying a tax relief company to settle you can usually settle them yourself without much issue. However, some people still may wish to have some professional assistance if theyre struggling to resolve a small tax debt. CommunityTax will accept cases with tax debt as low as $7,500, among the lowest of all competitors. On top of this, the company offers many resources and services that are particularly valuable to those with small tax debt.
We also noticed a trend in some customer reviews of issues with CommunityTaxs handling of state tax debt. However, its worth noting that these complaints were satisfactorily resolved by the business in the vast majority of cases.
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How Long Has Us Tax Shield Been In Business
US Tax Shield has been in business since 2000 according to the Better Business Bureau. The company was incorporated in California on July 19, 2000 and continues to operate out of offices in Burbank. US Tax Shield was first accredited by the BBB on December 11, 2009.
US Tax Shield is a member of the American Society of Tax Problem Solvers which gives them access to the organizations library of webinars. These are designed to help tax professionals stay at the top of their field and provide outstanding service to customers.
Working with US Tax Shield, you have a team of knowledgeable tax professionals working for you. Among the companys top experts are four tax attorneys. These tax experts have strong educational backgrounds.
- Tax attorney Terri Turner is an MBA and member of the California State Bar and U.S. District Court, Central District of California.
- Enrolled agent and tax preparer Tuan Hoang is a member of the California Society of Enrolled Agents and has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting.
- Tax attorney Emmanor Rigonan has a bachelors degree in business administration-accounting as well as a law degree. Shes a member of the California State Bar and U.S. District Court, Central District of California.
- Victoria Stubbolo is a tax attorney with a bachelors degree in political science. Shes a member of the New York State Bar.
Why It’s Near Impossible To Make Money With Legal Shield
The owners at the top of the Legal Shield food chain really haven’t done a good job of making this a viable business opportunity with this MLM you’ve got a bad product, a bad commission structure and record-breaking refund rates.
For example, read the fine print and you’ll discover if you don’t make 3 sales every 3 months you don’t qualify for team commissions, but worse than tat:
Fail to meet these requirements and you lose your entire team and future team commissions. The profits just get passed up the chain.
Another big problem you’ll find as an associate is that when you sign up new plan customer you’ll receive your 20% commissions for the full year, but nearly 50% of all plans are cancelled and refunded before the 12 months is up, meaning Legal Shields will take money back from you.
The hard truth is that hundreds of thousands of people have signed up as a Legal Shield associate only to quit after not making any money at all.
75% of associates fail to sell more than one plan.
In 2006 the New York Times ran a story on the decline of network marketing where they found Legal Shield sold 500,000 plans in 2005 but they had 438,000+ associates selling those plans.
Take a look at Legal Shield’s Earnings Disclosure for 2015 and you’ll see the average associate with less than 2 years’ experience makes a grand total of $878 a year.
Remember this isn’t including the 75% who couldn’t dupe anyone into buying a Legal Shield plan.
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Examples Of Tax Shields
Tax shields involve investments and purchases that are tax deductible. Some common examples include:
Charitable giving is a deductible expense for both individuals and businesses, with some restrictions and limits. For an individual to take a tax deduction on charitable giving, they must itemize deductions. Corporations can include charitable donations with some limits and restrictions.
Amortgage is a classic tax shield for both individuals and businesses. Note that it’s not the amount of the mortgage payment that’s deductible it’s the interest expense.
Businesses can take a depreciation expense for buying business property, including equipment, furniture and fixtures, and vehicles . Depreciation is basically a way to spread out the expense of buying a business asset over the life of that asset. Accelerated depreciation allows you to depreciate more of the asset in the first year or two, and it’s a great example of a tax shield. The two types of accelerated depreciation are Section 179 expenses and bonus depreciation.
The recent tax law changes have removed some tax deductions, particularly those on IRS Schedule A, like unreimbursed employee expenses. Check with your tax professional before you attempt to take any of these deductions.
Scam No : Ghost Tax Preparers
Another common scam this time of year? Ghost tax return preparers.
Hiring an accountant or tax professional to help you prepare your taxes can be a smart move, especially if your returns are complicated. But be careful to make sure you are only working with reputable tax preparers. And never work with what the IRS calls a “ghost” tax return preparer.
Ghost preparers will complete your income tax returns for you. But they won’t sign them. That’s a no-no. Tax preparers are always supposed to sign federal tax returns. Tax preparers are also supposed to apply for a Preparer Tax Identification Number, better known as a PTIN. Paid preparers must also include this number on any tax returns they prepare.
If your tax preparer prepares your return but won’t sign it? That’s a warning sign that your preparer might not be reputable. Some ghost preparers charge their clients more money based on the size of these clients’ refunds. They might, then, claim fake deductions to increase the size of the refund their clients receive or otherwise fudge the numbers on taxpayers’ returns.
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Legal Shield Review At A Glance
Founded: 1976 but relaunched in 2011
Current CEO: Jeff Bell
Enrollment fee: $249
Overall Rank: 65/100
On the surface, being able to contact an attorney and get legal advice about any issue for as little at $17.95 a month seems like an ideal solution.
As far as the business opportunity goes, you plug into a commission structure and become an independent self-made entrepreneur what’s not to like about that?
But dig a little deeper and you’ll find that all is not as good as it seems
The truth is 99% of people who join MLMs like Legal Shield fail to make any sales and sign up recruits and end up quitting the business altogether. Of those who are too stubborn to quit, 90% of them make less than $31.25 per month
Even if you’re great at sales, due to the many restrictions of the legal plans, 50% of customers cancel within 12 months which means you’ll have to hand the commissions you were paid back to the company.
This is definitely not a company you want to get involved with if you’re looking to make enough money to quit your full-time job.
If you’re interested in turning that passion of yours into a thriving, profitable online business then check out my top-rated training program which turns complete newbies into successful online entrepreneurs.
The best part is it’s free to start and there’s no selling or recruiting required.
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Best For Large Tax Debt: Fortress Tax Relief
Fortress Tax Relief
If you have a large tax debt, standard percentage-based fees will vastly overcharge you compared to the amount of work required for your case. Fortress Tax Reliefs hourly-based fee structure gives you the best opportunity for savings with a major IRS tax debt.
Offers a monetary customer service guarantee
Handles state tax debt in all 50 states
Minimum tax debt of over $10,000
Not accredited by any industry organizations
Limited business services
Its common for tax relief companies to calculate fees based on a percentage of the overall tax debt you currently owe to the IRS. With large tax debt, this can quickly add up to an exorbitant amount that doesnt reflect the number of hours required to resolve a higher-debt case. For example, a $20,000 debt probably wont take twice the amount of work to resolve compared to a $10,000 debt.
Fortress Tax Relief offers a unique approach by generating quotes based on the estimated time required. Hourly fees for an attorney vary, but typical EA hourly rates range from $100-$200 per hour. For consumers with large amounts of tax debt, this means youll probably pay significantly less than you would with percentage-based tax relief companies. .
While Fortress Tax Relief provides individual state tax debt services in all 50 states, its business services are relatively limited. The company is also not a member of any of the common industry accreditation organizations.
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Us Tax Shield Back Tax Assistance Reviews
US Tax Shield has a two-star rating on Solvable. This is based primarily on customer reviews. Since US Tax Shield doesnt have any reviews posted to Solvable yet, the star rating hasnt had an opportunity grow.
Solvable Exclusive Offer
The Solvable score for US Tax Shield is 6.6 out of 10. This rating is based on a combination of customer feedback and expert ratings. Since this business is lacking in customer feedback, this is likely pulling its score down.
US Tax Shield back tax assistance reviews are mixed on other sites, such as the Better Business Bureau. While some customers report having an excellent experience with the company, others were unhappy with their results. This is likely due to the uncertain nature of back tax assistance. While a tax relief company can increase the chances of success, the final determination for each case is in the hands of the IRS.
Offers Many Tax Issue Services
Consumers encounter a wide range of issues when dealing with the IRS. Tax relief companies are designed to help with these issues by providing tax resolution services and other services as simple as seeking out better income tax or preparing tax returns.
With the new US tax reform passed by the federal court in 2017, many individuals and companies have expressed concern about how the bill will influence all areas of the tax industry, including cash flow and tax returns.
In working through these and other IRS issues, the staff at US Tax Shield offers many tax services to companies and businesses as well as to individuals. Some of the services that US Tax Shield offers include IRS appeals made by tax protesters. Some of those appeals and tax services involve:
- Federal Tax Lien
- Audit Appeals
- Back Taxes
Because the IRS takes these issues seriously, working with a tax attorney greatly enhances the chance for positive IRS tax resolution.
The IRS responds with particular aggression when it comes to collecting unpaid taxes from business owners because failing to properly pay the IRS for taxes withheld from employees wages is commonly considered stealing from the employees and the US Treasury.
Recommended Reading: Http Efstatus.taxact.com
Are There Legit Tax Agents Who Win Protest Tax Appeals
The majority of property owners in Texas overpay their yearly property rates. The trend is replicated across the US due to existing inequities in the assessment of property values. But most of these taxpayers rarely seek legal redress because of the justifiable fear of falling into the hands of scammers. This is why you must always conduct due diligence when considering a protest tax appeal.
At least 65% of protest tax agents win appeals for clients. The success rate is higher in cases where theres overwhelming evidence to support your claim. This explains why most Texans opt for seasoned agents when making appeals.
Its possible to win your protest tax appeal whenever you feel over-charged. However, it would be best if you had the support of a legit protest tax appeals agent. So, how do you ensure that you get the best in the market?
Didn’t Help But It’s Fixable
After receiving a large back pay of disability without tax withholding. The USTS sales person assured us that they did take clients unless they could reduce your tax bill. After several thousands of dollars to USTS and several months later they call us to tell us they will arrange payments for the full amount owed… OK… Now with all that said… I can honestly say I was not happy with the service in the extreme… But that’s not the end of the story. There customer service person called and worked with me through my issues. They listened and are going to adjust the US Tax Shield bill to make up for the under-par tax relief… Plus they informed me that they would strongly consider adding a review up front in the process then after USTS is up to speed they would suggest a better course of action… I explained that I would be more than willing to pay for a review so USTS can be definitive about their offering.Update – USTS is refunding $1700 because they felt they didn’t provide enough of a savings… So, they refunding some money to make everything more equitable.
Reply from US Tax Shield
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Top Review Highlights By Sentiment
- “The people were great to work with.”
- “High turn over and very little room for growth”
A fantastic place to work great team atmosphere! Just work hard and be communicative/open about any issues and you will be supported by management. It is a busy workload, but it is not unmanageable. You receive on the job training immediately, and there is consistent refresher-training . Plus they understand there is a learning-curve.Flexible hours so long as you do your work. I was a morning person, so I went in early and left early. My coworkers came in later and stayed later. No need to bring your work home.I never felt that client’s were misled when they hired us.Pay raises are consistent and fair, be sure to stick around to get them.No need to worry about billable hour requirements.
Only issue is high work load right off the bat. But again, there is on the job training and refreshers.
Absolutely none. Horrible, unethical company.
Located in Woodland Hills, up on the top floor with beautiful views… Steady work, makes the day go by quick. Great people to work with, and in my dept, Admin, consisted of mainly women, and probably won’t make it up the promotion ladder of you are a man.
Non stop workload, extremely underpaying, I made more money on unemployment and found a better job after quitting. Management tries their best, but training is horrible, there are no policies and procedures to reference to know what work you are doing.