Avoiding Tax Relief Scams

If you owe back taxes but don’t know how you will pay the IRS, any company that “promises” to significantly reduce your tax bill may seem like the best option. However, don’t make this decision too fast. This may cause you to fall deeper in debt, rather than find your way out of it.

Beware of tax relief scams. They appear on late night television, on the Internet, and on the radio trying to lure in naive viewers who are in debt; who are losing sleep; and who really need financial assistance. These tax relief companies claim that for an up-front fee, which can be thousands of dollars, they can reduce or even eliminate your tax debts. However, the truth is that most taxpayers don’t even qualify for such programs. The companies don’t settle tax debts, and in many cases, they don’t even send the necessary paperwork to the IRS.

Here are a few warning signs that you should look for when deciding how to get help with your taxes:

1. Tax relief scams tend to offer too much too soon. If the first person you talk to about your tax debt offers you a quick solution to your problem, it is most likely a fraud rather than an informative session.

2. Tax relief scams may make a settlement sound like sure thing. No one can promise you a settlement or any kind of tax relief until your financial situation has been thoroughly analyzed. Companies that promise an arrangement in which the IRS will settle for a small portion of the amount that is owed are most likely putting out a scam. These kinds of settlements are rare, but possible. However, no one can guarantee this until your entire situation has been very carefully examined.

3. Tax relief scams may ask you for a single, standardized fee. Everyone’s financial situations are unique and different, so the amount you are charged should be based on the complexity of your case and not a standardized fee.

If you need help with your finances and debt, there are many representatives and firms out there that can give you the help that you need. They most likely will not be able to fix your problem, per se, but they can help you fix your own problems by assisting you in dealing with the IRS. However, make sure to keep your eyes open to the warning signs listed above so you can stay clear from the path of putting yourself into more debt.

Archana Sabesan

Archana Sabesan

Archana Sabesan is a junior at North Carolina State University. She is currently pursuing a major in Psychology, with a primary focus in Child Psychology, and a minor in Spanish. After graduating, she plans to attend graduate school to obtain her PsyD degree in Clinical Psychology. Her experiences at Stanford University and Duke University as an Undergraduate Research Assistant have helped her to develop an effective research regiment and build on her observation skills. She hopes to open a private practice of her own in the future.

Every summer, Archana works at Kumon, a math and reading workshop, tutoring children between the ages of three and 18 in these subjects. She used to be enrolled in this program herself, so this allows her to connect with the students and give them the one-on-one help that they need. Archana is also currently a member of NC State’s Psychology Club, Rotaract Club, and EKTAA (NC State’s premiere South Asian Student Organization).

Archana was born in India, and moved to North Carolina with her immediate family when she was 7 years old. She speaks mostly Tamil, the native language of South India, and English in her home. In addition, having taken Spanish classes since 6th grade, she can speak and understand it pretty well too. Archana enjoys spending time with her family and friends, watching movies, listening to music, and going to the gym. She also loves to travel, and hopes to travel the world one day and learn about all the different cultures!
Archana Sabesan