Tax Defense Network Review
Tax Defense Network (TDN) is a Jacksonville, FL based tax relief company. Secretary of state filings show they were founded in 1997 as New Start Credit Service. In 2007 they changed the name to Tax Defense Network Inc. In 2014 they converted to a Delaware Corporation.
Tax Defense Network has a strong Internet presence, some of which has been controversial. More on this later in this review. One red flag is a boast on their homepage that states they have handled over $16 billion in tax liability since 2007. Let’s do some rough math on this: $16-billion divided by, say, 12 years is $1,333,333,333 in tax liability per year. Then let’s divide that by the industry average of $40,000 owed per tax case. That would yield 33,333 clients per year. So either Tax Defense Network has a mind-blowing volume of clients or they have some really really really rich clients or that $16-billion number may be in error. That $16-billijon number has been on their website for two years, by the way.
Tax Defense Network’s website contains very good explanations of both common tax problems and possible tax relief solutions. Tax Defense Network takes a conservative approach to what can and cannot be done in resolving taxes. They offer more facts than sales pitch, which is beneficial for their potential customers.
Tax Defense Network shows some staff on their ‘Who We Are’ page. Unfortunately they do not list any professional bios so we don’t know if they are licensed or the qualifications of their staff. We spoke with two of their “analysts,” but neither is listed on their website. We’d like to see more transparency here.
Tax Defense Network says they employ CPAs, attorneys, and Enrolled Agents. All of these professional designations are capable of interfacing with the IRS but due to their lack of transparency we do not actually know the qualifications and accreditations of these employees.
Enrolled agents, like attorneys and certified public accountants (CPAs), have unlimited practice rights. This means they are unrestricted as to which taxpayers they can represent, what types of tax matters they can handle, and which IRS offices they can represent clients before.
They have been a BBB accredited company since 2008, with an A+ rating. Tax Defense Network complaints number 201 as of June 2019, which is above the tax relief category average but perhaps not extreme for their size of company.
Tax Defense Network was founded in Florida in 1997, making them one of the longest established tax relief companies.
Ethically, Tax Defense Network gets a poor grade. They have been in court at least twice. Once, for a lawsuit brought by JG Tax Group (Galante Group Corp). The JG lawsuit alleged that Tax Defense Network owned a website called consumertaxreports.org, which reviewed tax relief companies. The problem is that they were hardly impartial and were accused of fabricating malicious statements against their competitors. The website was taken down years ago, but we took some screenshots of it before it disappeared:
Their second court appearance was as a defendant in a wrongful business practices case in the state of Florida. The Florida Attorney General lawsuit’s covered various illegal business practices. Tax Defense Network settled the case on May 21, 2015 for a $100,000 fine.
Highlights from the 2015 lawsuit
- TDN will have no ownership interest in any website, blog or publication that rates or purports to rate any business, product, or service provided by TDN and/or TDN LLC or any of their affiliates.
- TDN, when resolving disputes with customers, will not require any customer or former customer to withdraw any complaint or communication or restrict such customer from communication or cooperation with the Attorney General, the Better Business Bureau (“BBB”), or any other established and recognized consumer protection agency.
- TDN will revise their policies and procedures pertaining to refunds in accordance with the revised policy attached as Exhibit B hereto, and shall not materially change such policy for a period of two years without first notifying the Department.
- TDN agrees to retain documents and other information, in their respective possession, reasonably sufficient to establish compliance with the provision of this Settlement Agreement for two (2) years from the Effective Date o f this Settlement Agreement, and shall make such books and records available to the Department within twenty (20) days of any reasonable written request.
- TDN will pay the Attorney General the sum of $100,000.00 pursuant to Florida Statutes Section 501.2101(1) for attorneys’ fees and costs of investigation. Such payment shall be made payable to the Legal Affairs Revolving Trust Fund and sent to Gerald Johnson, Office ofthe Attorney General, Room 119C Collins Building, 107 W . Gaines Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32301, pursuant to Florida Statutes Section 501.2101.
From the Lawsuits:
- Jackson Hewitt Partner
- Large client base
- No guarantee listed
- Multiple legal entanglements
- Ethical concerns
Tax Defense Network has been around for a long time. You don’t stay in business if you are doing more right than wrong. While there are a lot of negative reviews about them on the Internet, most are not on credible websites. For example, if you read any Tax Defense Network reviews on Ripoff Report or Pissed Consumer, you should pretty much ignore those reviews. Ripoff Report is not a trusted resource. Tax Defense Network does have positive reviews on their BBB page and on both TrustLinkand Trust Pilot, which are credible sources.
While it appears they’ve providing quality services, their former lapse of judgement with their review site leaves us with some concern about their ethics and honesty. While that was a long time ago, the more recent actions by the Florida Attorney General lawsuit deserves greater attention. They made some mistakes and paid a fine. Unfortunately, since they are still operating under the terms of their settlement with the State of Florida, we have to drop their recommendation grade. Fortunately however, since they are still under heavier scrutiny due to their settlement terms, the chance of any unethical action by Tax Defense Network should be reduced.
Make sure to verify the qualifications of the persons you are talking to at Tax Defense Network, or any tax relief company for that matter, as well as who is actually doing the IRS work. If they meet your satisfaction then you are probably in good hands.
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