Tax Defense Partners is an Encino, California-based tax relief company that works to help individuals and companies with their outstanding tax debt. Regardless of whether the problem is at the state or federal level, Tax Defense Partners' team of tax professionals and range of services makes them our best pick for businesses facing low-debt situations.
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The company's tax professionals all work in a centralized office, eliminating the need for outside contractors. By law, the only individuals who can represent you or your business before the IRS other than yourself are tax attorneys, enrolled agents or certified public accountants (CPAs). Tax Defense Partners employs all three types of tax professionals. If conditions are right, they can try to lower your debt, establish a payment plan with the government or have a bank levy lifted, among other options.
A good tax debt relief company has representatives on hand who will carefully assess your situation before coming up with a plan to alleviate your debt with the IRS. How quickly you address the problem is vital, so a good company will attempt to work with you to strategize an effective course of action.
Over the course of multiple interactions over the telephone, we found that the representatives at Tax Defense Partners carefully listened to our tax debt scenario before offering potential solutions.
While it may seem like the tax debt relief industry is there to help in all circumstances, it's important to note that they are not the be-all, end-all solution. Some services require very specific criteria to be met. If you do not meet the IRS' criteria for certain federal and state debt relief options, no tax debt relief company will be able to negotiate for that course of action.
Like their contemporaries, Tax Defense Partners has a range of potential tax debt relief options to cover most situations. How your tax debt is handled depends on several variables, including how much you owe, your current monthly income and whether it's a personal or business debt. In addition, some of the IRS' more aggressive steps in recovering debt can complicate the overall process.
The worst thing you can do in a tax debt situation is ignore the problem. Here are some of the options Tax Defense Partners can offer:
- Fresh Start Program
- IRS Tax Payment Plans
- Innocent Spouse Relief
- Payroll Tax Debt Relief
- Foreign Bank Account Reporting
- Currently Not Collectible (CNC)
- IRS Back Tax Help
- Tax Lien Help
- Bank Levy Help
- Penalty Abatement
- IRS Audit Representation
- Transcript Analysis
- Income Tax Preparation
Once a solution is chosen, tax professionals are assigned to the case. They start with an initial fact-finding phase where they get an idea of the financial situation. We were told that this initial stage takes just a few days, though that largely depends on the scope of your case.
After the fact-finding phase is done, representatives told us that the second phase can take much longer – between five and eight months in most cases, though that also depends on the individual case. As the tax professionals work with the IRS, negotiations can take weeks or months, depending on the type of work needed, before a final resolution is in order.
Pricing When it comes to pricing in the tax debt relief industry, it's important to remember that not all resolutions are the same. As a result, pricing is on a case-by-case basis. The more involved your case, the more expensive the flat fee will be. It must be noted that for this company to take on your case, you must have at least $10,000 in tax debt.
Based on the tax debt scenario we presented Tax Defense Partners as part of our testing, we were quoted at flat fees between $3,250 and $4,250, with $1,000 due as a down payment. However, depending on your case, you may be able to negotiate the down payment to $500. We gave the same tax debt scenario to the other companies on our list and Tax Defense Partners was on the higher end of the spectrum.
Despite the company's higher-than-average cost, we found that the initial down payment, as well as the rest of the company's fees, could be split up into more manageable payments over six months. No work would begin on our case until we remitted the first payment. Since the company has a team of tax attorneys on hand, there is no need to pay a retainer.
When we called Tax Defense Partners posing as potential clients, we found their representatives were highly knowledgeable about each scenario we put before them. During each call, we spoke with a tax professional who tried to get as much information about our tax debt situation as possible without requiring that we enter into an agreement.
Dealing with a tax debt can be extremely stressful. In the cases where we posed a problem that could prove to be dire to our supposed small business, Tax Defense Partners' representatives worked to assuage our worries. In one instance, a representative said our company would not need to shut down because of our tax debt and that they would work to make our tax debt repayment fit within our means.
Our interactions with Tax Defense Partners' tax professionals were fact-driven and to the point, giving estimates for how long each step could generally take. That being said, they were extremely careful to point out that each case is different, and unforeseen changes could come up that would change any proposed timetable.
While Tax Defense Partners can provide a range of services, it should be noted that they each come with strict guidelines for eligibility from the IRS. If you do not meet those guidelines, either at the federal or state levels, you cannot move forward.
We also warn against hiring a tax debt relief company if the costs exceed your tax debt. Individuals and businesses with smaller amounts of tax debt may be able to represent themselves before the IRS. In those instances, a company like Tax Defense Partners may charge more for their services than you may want to spend. With that in mind, we will reiterate that the price we were quoted in our testing of Tax Defense Partners was on the higher end compared to other companies we reviewed.
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