Community Tax Review (Updated June 2019)
Community Tax is a tax relief and tax services company based in Chicago, IL. Community Tax also conducts business under the Assumed Entity names: National Tax Relief, 1800 IRS PROS, and Community Tax Relief.
Services listed are accounting, tax resolution, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and other tax liability-related services. They also offer “monitoring programs,” but those appear to be marketing tools. We call them marketing tools because of Community Tax’s pseudo-legal marketing speak: “CTAX IRS Monitoring Service is the 3rd Phase of CTAX’s path to taxation security through IRS Liability Prevention.” This is the first time we’ve ever encountered the terms “taxation security” and “Liability Prevention.” For the record, we dislike invented terminology just like we dislike Fake News.
Community Tax advertises on TV, Radio, and the Internet. Some of their commercials are direct and honest. “Do you have tax problems? Please call us today…” Some commercials describe “new government programs designed to help with taxes.” Yes, the IRS recently created a program called the Fresh Start Program, but that is only one program, not multiple programs. Furthermore, the Fresh Start Program was designed to make it easier for the taxpayer to deal directly with the IRS and bypass a middle man like Community Tax and other tax relief companies. Therefore we find this advertising disingenuous and potentially misleading.
Community Tax’s website gives accurate descriptions of basic tax information. Unfortunately, the first liability resolution service they list is the Offer in Compromise (OIC). This is a red flag because very few people actually qualify for an Offer in Compromise: (OIC) with the IRS.
We’re suspicious about some of the claims they make regarding how many client liabilities they’ve resolved. They claim they have helped over 39,000 clients. That would average more than 480 new clients a month from day one. If they are doing these numbers then we would expect to see ten times the staff listed on the website.
On their website, they claim they’ve resolved $599,100,870.84 (this is quite a jump from March of 2017, when they listed $253,190,672 in liabilities!). This would be $12,000 per client if we use the 50,000 clients from their homepage. Did they save each client this amount or is that the average each client owed? They also list $398,952 for March 2019 Offer in Compromise payments. They wouldn’t know this number because the taxpayer makes payments directly to the IRS. Community Tax has no way of knowing overpayments or missed payments may have happened. These numbers may have changed on their website since the time of this writing but we have been watching them for a long time and the math always lands is a strange place.
Community Tax shows a large number of Tax Resolution Practitioners on its website, as well as ownership and some management staff. This is good to see. They do not mention any of their sales staff, which must be large if they are doing the volume of work they claim. Maybe their CPA/Esq staff do double-duty here. We don’t know. We always like to see the front line staff listed because no one should be giving tax advice if they are not licensed.
Community Tax is a BBB accredited company with an A+ rating. They were BBB accredited March 1, 2015, and have 29 complaints, as of June 2019. This seems like a lot but it depends upon their client volume. For reference, Optima has 10-times this count of complaints. They are also members of the Illinois CPA Society and the NATP (National Association of Tax Practitioners).
Community tax was founded in 2010.
Two of the four co-founders are attorneys, so we are going to extend them the professional courtesy and assume they do honest work. Overall, they have an above average reputation on the Internet. We do not see large numbers of complaints against them based on the volume of work they claim.
We would like to see some kind of service guarantee, but we would rather see a company do excellent work, even if there marketing is a little questionable. They appear to do good work.
- No guarantee listed
- An emphasis on savings
- Conflicting and unverifiable numbers on their website
- Not transparent about their front line tax relief analysts’ credentials
- Large Staff
- Some Weekend Hours
- Tax Monitoring
Community tax appears to have a large and well-qualified staff that actually interfaces with the IRS. We see little evidence that they do not do excellent work. However, don’t hire them because you think they are going to make your taxes go away. They, like all tax professionals, play by the exact same rules, the IRS’s rules. Unless you have fewer assets and income than taxed owed you are not getting off easy by paying “pennies on the dollar” to the IRS.
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