We get many calls from people that almost hired Optima Tax Relief, and we find that most people did not like what they heard from them. In this review we will go over the information we have learned about Optima Tax Relief’s fees and practices based on reviews placed on the internet (and those that have mysteriously been “not recommended” by Yelp), information clients have told us when they spoke to Optima first, and a former employee of Optima.
Optima Tax Relief Fees
The fees for Optima Tax Relief seem to range from $950 for a basic case review with no resolution, to upwards of $18,000. We have heard some people quoted a monthly rate of $450 with a $950 initial fee, and others have been quoted flat fees, typically in the range of $5,000. According to Laura K. on Yelp, she “Paid them $15,000.00, you read that right – and in two years they literally have not done much to assist, just pawn my case off to someone else, then someone else etc. ”
Our fees at TRP are much less, with us starting most cases for $375.
Why the huge fees from Optima? Most of it is probably due to advertising. If you hear it on the radio, you generally are paying more for it. Radio advertised companies have a very high customer acquisition cost. When you hear Alan Thicke recommend Optima Tax Relief, that endorsement cost is passed right onto your case fee.
Tax return preparation is also a high fee Optima charges. As with any tax relief firm, if you are quoted on tax preparation for your case before they have looked at the data, be sure you are being charged the highest rate for tax preparation and not actually based on the amount of schedules required to complete.
Why are the fees substantially lower from TRP? We do not have high customer acquisition costs and do not do radio advertising. Half of our business comes from referrals and half comes form internet searches.
Optima Tax Relief is Not a Law Firm
When you hire Optima, you are hiring a sales company with a revolving door when it comes to employees. Cases are constantly handed off from one representative to the other and people are constantly quitting. The people working at Optima have no personal obligation to complete your case. Should Optima Tax Relief have a bad financial year and shut down, the client is out of luck and their case could be incomplete. Recent tax relief firms that have closed include JK Harris, Nationwide Tax Relief, American Tax Relief, and many others, leaving their clients in the dust. Additionally, much, if not all of your communication with these “tax relief firms” is not covered by an attorney-client privilege.
When you hire a tax law firm like Tax Resolution Professionals, the firm cannot just close down and not finish your case. The attorneys assigned are obligated to complete your case from start to finish, regardless of how this month’s sales are. Most tax relief firms are running month to month financially, and could close at any time.
Optima Tax Relief Reviews
Optima has the appearance of good reviews, but once you click the “Not Reccomended Reviews” on Yelp one can see their true complaints. Yelp’s Not Reccomended Reviews are often some of the best reviews to see if a company is legitimate. It is thought by many that those who pay for Yelp advertising have one star reviews thrown into the not recommended category, if this is true, Optima is good proof of this. In Optima’s not recommended reviews, there are over 100 reviews of 1 star.
Here are some key complaints from former clients:
From Susan B., who felt Optima did nothing for her, “They reduced NO penalties, NO interest , my balance is higher, and I can’t get answers on how long I’m supposed to pay this exorbitant amount, and I’m out &5,000!I would NEVER recommend this company to anyone. They ruined my life. If I could give NO stars I would.”
From Jervey H., who found out from a lawyer he later hired, that Optima did not even work on his case, “Optima took us for a total of $18,500 before we finally fired them. Then we hired another lawyer that only charged us $2500 to go to the IRS and work out a payment. Optima refused to give us our money back. Even after the IRS told us that optima had never even contacted them, they wouldn’t.”
The list goes on and on of unhappy customers.
From a Former Employee
We spoke with a former employee of Optima, who had some OK things to say about it. In this industry there are many tax relief companies that literally take your money and do nothing, so its refreshing to hear that Optima does actually work on your case. They said that Optima does have a high turnover and cases do get passed on to different people. This could explain some of the complaints where people felt their case was not worked on.
Optima is a boiler room sales scenario. High pressure salespeople take the consultation calls, not anyone licensed to actually help you. This usually leads to unhappy customers, as clients are promised one thing then delivered something else.
For more about fraudulent tax relief companies, see our big tax relief company guide here.
Better Off Hiring a Tax Law Firm
If you were thinking of hiring Optima Tax Relief, you are much better off hiring a qualified tax law firm and having a consultation with an actual tax attorney. The consultation and subsequent case is then covered by attorney client privilege and the law office can’t just close on you leaving you to deal with your own IRS or State tax case.
If you are only receiving Social Security, Disability, or otherwise have a fixed, low income with no assets, you may want to try doing an Offer in Compromise yourself. You can see our Offer in Compromise guide for help with this.
If you have a tax lien and already have paid off the debt or are in a payment plan for less than $25,000, please see our guide: How to Withdraw A Tax Lien.