Tax Defense Partners Review
Tax Defense Partners is an Encino, CA, based tax resolution company. Tax Defense Partners is a rebranding, under new ownership/management, of the now defunct Tax Resolution Services.
Just like Tax Resolution Services did before them, Tax Defense Partners advertises on the radio with talk show personalities, such as Rush Limbaugh (RIP), Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity. They also advertise on the Internet.
Tax Defense Partners gets, in general, okay marks for not over-promising miracle tax reductions on their website. While they do list a few miracle outcomes on their Success Stories page, they have realistic and honest explanations about the penalty and interest reductions, and the Offer in Compromise, if you read the finer print at the bottom of these pages.
We did get a laugh out of their use of the terms “negotiation” and “mediation.” There is no such thing as mediation with the IRS. It’s just not a thing. And for negotiation, the only negotiated with the IRS that is possible is “please don’t levy my client, even though they have been a very naughty taxpayer.” There is NO negotiating the amount of taxes due, and they know this.
Tax Defense Partners really falls short here. They do not list the company’s ownership, nor do they list any staff. This is a huge red flag. Many tax relief firms are just marketing companies that outsource the actual work to another tax relief firm.
We are not saying Tax Defense Partners outsources their work, but this lack of transparency leaves us questioning if they actually handle cases, or just sell information. We dropped Tax Defense Partners grade due to their lack of transparency regarding the qualifications and accreditations of their employees.
In their defense, Tax Defense Partners does list a physical address and claims to have Enrolled Agents, attorneys, and certified public accountants (CPAs), on staff.
Tax Defense Partners was BBB accredited on May 11, 2016. But as early as 2019 their BBB page became unavailable. We don’t know why. Screenshot from 2019:
Today, February 23, 2022, the Tax Defense Partners page says that they are NOT accredited by the BBB. This strikes us as a problem because right there on Tax Defense Partners’ homepage is a section that reads “Our Accreditation” and it has an image of a BBB A+ Accredited Business.
It may or may not be relevant, but prior to handing over the company baton and its established radio advertising relationships to Tax Defense Partners, Tax Resolution Services had 48 complaints. This number of complaints is on the high end, even for an industry whose clients often are under great financial strain and liable to complain too quick when things get rocky.
Tax Defense Partners, in its current form, began in 2013.
We really dislike the “Success Stories” section on the website because it paints a very distorted picture of what someone can expect as an outcome. On this page they highlight several clients that paid only 1-4% of the taxes owed. While there is the occasional case like this, maybe one every couple of years, these outcomes are unicorns. It would be like going to a doctor for your stage-four pancreatic cancer and the brochure in the lobby suggests this hands-of-God doctor cures pretty much everyone. Nope. So, for this, we give them a low grade for ethics.
Additionally, we really dislike the suggestion that they charge a flat fee because they do not know what the service will cost because tax debt issues are very fluid situations. It is the rule, not the exception, that the tax problem is bigger and more complex than the client or the tax professional knows upon initial engagement. Because of this, flat fees are usually impossible for a tax services firm, a CPA, or an attorney to deliver unless they charge an exceedingly expensive fee. It appears that Tax Defense Partners has received many complaints about fees, which is common for firms claiming flat-fee service (read the fine print!).
While we applaud Tax Defense Partners for the fairly detailed explanations on nerdy tax topics, they lose points for their lack of transparency, their suggestive “Success Stories,” suggested “flat fee” and their dodgy use of the BBB A+ logo.
Without knowing the qualifications of the staff performing the actual work, it’s difficult to have confidence things will be handled smoothly. Before getting swayed by their talk radio pitchmen, make sure to speak with a licensed analysts and ask for a realistic breakdown of potential resolution options.
- Reasonable explanations of taxes and solution on their website
- Dodgy BBB usage
- No staff listed
- Using unicorns for success stories
- Honest Website Content
- Was Tax Resolution Services Co.
- Not Very Transparent