Most tax resolution companies give you a quote for services based primarily on three things:
- How much you owe the IRS
- What kind of taxes you owe
- How much the sales person thinks you can afford to pay THEM
Here’s a dirty little secret of the tax resolution industry that nobody else will tell you: The actual WORK required to resolve a case has very, very little to do with how much you owe or what kind of tax it is, and obviously nothing to do with how much of a fee you can pay for representation.
What makes a tax resolution case more complex has much, much more to do with other factors, such as:
- the existence of other creditors
- the status of your assets
- whether or not their are existing levies or wage garnishments
- how long you’ve been accruing a tax liability
- your past efforts (or lack thereof) to resolve the issue
- your ability to file missing returns quickly
- whether or not your accounting is up to date
- whether or not you are able to “stop the bleeding” and become current with present day filing and payment requirements (this is actually the single biggest factor)
Most companies have a minimum fee quote for doing an Offer in Compromise for you, and it’s generally higher than for doing a payment plan, because the OIC process takes 6 to 12 months from start to finish. Most companies will charge you anywhere from $2500 to $4000 for doing a BASIC Offer in Compromise for you, and this may or may not include filing appeals and dealing with levies, and most definitely does not include filing any tax returns for you.
Here’s the thing, though: Filing an Offer in Compromise is actually pretty simple, and the size of your tax debt and the tax type does NOT make it any more difficult. It’s the same form, the same financial analysis, whether you owe $14,000 in personal income taxes or you owe $4.5 million in unpaid employment taxes. Big surprise: The detailed financial analysis required for the business with the payroll tax debt isn’t that much more involved than the smaller personal tax liability, assuming you have proper financial records for the business.
Instead of getting a fee quote based mainly on how much you owe and what a salesperson gets a “vibe” that you can afford to pay, make sure you get a firm fee quote from reputable firms.