Roni Deutch Scam One of Many

While Roni Deutch sales reps boast of a 99% success rate, barely 10% of their clients are actually granted a reduction in their tax bills. Based on these figures, it is expected that the total fees paid by clients greatly exceeds the total reductions in income taxes approved. California’s Attorney General labeled what has been called by many the Roni Deutch scam as a “heartless scheme” that swindled money from those with tax problems. Tax Lady Roni Deutch has aired hundreds of television commercials claiming that she has decades of experience in negotiating reductions in income tax bills.

False Testimonials

Normally when you see testimonials, it is expected and usually disclosed that the individuals may not be representative of the normal client. In other words, results may vary, and your results are likely to be less favorable than those providing testimonials.

Deutch’s firm hit a new low when it aired the ad “It’s Your Turn” and featured three “successful” clients that her firm helped. However, none of those “successful” clients have received any reduction in their income tax bills. In fact, they owe more than before they enrolled their cases with Deutch, having incurred additional interest and penalties.

The blatant misrepresentation of the firm’s success should be a real eye-opener for any client considering doing business with Deutch or any other large scale tax representation firm. Any guarantees, promises or extraordinary success rates should be met with skepticism.

Had her clients checked out the firm with the Better Business Bureau, they would have discovered an “F” rating. A simple call to the Attorney General Consumer Protection division would have revealed a high pattern of complaints. Instead, they are now on the hook for retainers ranging from $1,400 to $4,700 paid for largely undelivered services. This is money that could have gone towards their tax debt.

If you owe the IRS or your state or local tax authority, you should contact that organization directly if you need help paying an outstanding tax debt. Many times, the tax agents are able to approve a repayment schedule that could consist of monthly payments spread out over months or years. A tax attorney could be highly effective in situations where you need tax advice on decisions that could impact the amount of taxes that you owe. They are less effective in negotiating lower payoffs on tax debts believed to be correct. Make sure you research tax relief scams and company ratings prior to entering into a contract with a service.

Taxpayers that believe that the IRS has acted unfairly may be able to get free help through the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown’s office announced the $34 million lawsuit on August 23, 2010. Brown stated Tax Lady Roni Deutch “promises to significantly reduce their IRS tax debts, but instead preys on their vulnerability, taking large up-front payments but providing little or no help in lowering their tax bills.” Deutch was also accused of “a bevy of false promises and misrepresentations.”

Perhaps the most troubling detail released by Brown’s office was that Deutch’s firm regularly uses false billing statements so that she can deny refund requests. That would suggest that much of what the firm does is send form letters that automatically populate with the taxpayer’s personal information and debt amount. The use of false billing statements implies that the firm bills for a manual process by a licensed attorney. The actual process is likely an automatic letter generation campaign.

Have you been impacted by the Roni Deutch scam?

Kenneth Long
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Kenneth Long

President at Debtors Unite
Kenneth Long is President of Debtors Unite, Inc. as well as President and Vice Chairman for Vision Credit Education, Inc. He served as a regional coordinator for the North Carolina Saves campaign. Long co-founded the Wake EITC Coalition along with Family Resource Center of Raleigh.

Long is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Industrial Relations. He subsequently received his Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University. His Certificate in Financial Planning was issued by Florida State University.

Long has achieved the Accredited Credit Counselor and Accredited Financial Counselor certifications through the Association for Financial Counseling, Planning and Education. Long originally achieved the Certified Credit Counselor designation through the National Institute for Financial Education.

In addition to years of nonprofit leadership, Long has been an innovator in the field of volunteer tax return preparation programs. He assists volunteer associations and nonprofit organizations who seek to integrate credit counseling and asset-building programs with free personal income tax preparation. His approach to using free credit reports as both an incentive and a screening tool for placement into asset-building programs has been shared with members of the National Community Tax Coalition, the EITC-Carolinas Initiative of MDC, Inc. and nonprofit groups across the Carolinas.

Long assists members of our armed forces in the Carolinas, Iowa, Rhode Island, Georgia and Germany with financial readiness. Please support our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors!

Favorite quote:

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."

Thomas Jefferson
Kenneth Long
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