Optima Tax Relief Reviews

Optima Tax Relief states that it is a company of experienced tax professionals who are able to handle most Federal and State tax issues.  

Specifically, Optima advertise their tax debt reduction and settlement services and offer protection for those who are being threatened by collection agencies.

Owing money to the IRS can be an overwhelmingly stressful experience. 

The IRS is unlike other creditors and has the means to aggressively pursue collections through wage garnishment, property liens, and reposition.

This leaves many people intimidated and vulnerable to ads from tax settlement companies making enticing offers on TV.

Below we take a closer look at Optima Tax Relief to see if they are a legitimate option when dealing with sizable IRS debt.

How Does Optima Tax Relief Work?

Optima Tax Relief provides a variety of services within the scope of Tax Negotiation & Settlement that include:

  • Help with tax preparation
  • Filing overdue tax returns
  • Customized tax planning
  • Removing tax liens & levies
  • Setting up installment plans
  • Negotiating offers-in-compromise
  • Preventing the seizure of assets
  • Ending wage garnishment
  • Protection against criminal action
  • Representation before IRS auditors and revenue officers

The company has created a two phase process to ensure you understand what options are available prior to moving forward and paying fees.

This process starts with a free phone consultation in which an agent will determine if the company can help you and put you on a path to proceeding with the investigation phase.

In this next step their team will go over your case with you, analyze your situation, go over all documents, and propose a customized course of action.

The process from the initial phone call to the final results can take approximately two to six months.  During this time Optima Tax Relief will help to ensure that the IRS does not contact your bank, work, or garnish your wages.

It’s important to note that no tax settlement firm can eliminate all of your debt completely.  Further no matter what their advertisements may claim they don’t have any special access to the IRS.

Optima Tax Relief pursues the same government programs that are available to all individuals.  

The service they are offering is the assurance that all paperwork will be completed and filed correctly and that they will pursue the best course of action for your specific case.

What Kind of Tax Relief is Offered?

In 2011 the IRS released the Fresh Start Program, designed to help those struggling with tax debt. 

It mandates that the IRS cannot collect more than an individual can realistically pay.  If qualified for the program, a taxpayer can pay an amount they can reasonably afford.

Under this program there are several relief options and protections available for citizens:

  • Installment Agreement - This settlement plan with the IRS puts you on a monthly payment program until the debt is fully paid off.  A benefit to this agreement is that it puts an end to collections efforts and accruing penalties.

    It also shows the IRS that you are actively engaged in clearing your debts.  There are still interest costs to consider with this option.

  • Currently Non-Collectible Status - This method offers you temporary respite from collection efforts by showing the IRS that you cannot pay your taxes at this time.

    This will not remove any tax debt but gives you time to come up with a pay off plan.  Note that once the time period expires the IRS will resume their collections process.

  • Penalty Abatement  - If you have reasonable cause, you can apply for the reduction or removal of any penalties you may have.
  • Offer in Compromise - With this option your debt will be reduced to a manageable amount based on your ability to pay, your income, expenses, and your asset equity.  This is the best yet most difficult course of action to pursue.  

    If you are experiencing extenuating financial circumstances you will have to show that you are unable to pay the full balance through other options such as an installment agreement.

    Further, if you are in the process of filing for bankruptcy you cannot enter into an OIC with the IRS.  You also need to be up to date with your tax return filings and estimated payments.

    The IRS website offers a pre-qualifier tool to help you with this process.  You will have to file an application and go through an investigation before qualifying for an OIC.  

    The IRS provides the Form 656 Booklet with more information on an 'Offer in Compromise'.

Optima Tax Relief states, on their own website, that the acceptance rate for an OIC settlement is very low.

However they do offer other avenues for succeeding with an OIC such as:

  • Doubt as to liability
  • Doubt that the assessed tax is correct
  • Doubt as to the ability to collect
  • Doubt exists that the taxpayer could ever pay the full amount of tax owed
  • Effective Tax Administration
  • There is no doubt the tax is correct and could be collected but an exceptional circumstance exists that allows the IRS to consider a taxpayer’s OIC

This is where Optima Tax Relief claims that having tax professionals working with is beneficial.

Costs and Price Plans

The first phone consultation with Optima Tax Relief is free and the next phase of investigation will cost $295.  However, that fee is refundable through the first 15 days of working with the company.

When the investigation is finished and Optima have determined how much work your case requires, you will get a quote from them to proceed.  This fee can total anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that Optima Tax Relief can not guarantee any savings amounts ahead of time.  Each case is different and outcomes will be determined by the IRS.

Customer Service

Phone: (800) 536-0734

Email: [email protected]

Optima Tax Relief mailing address:

3100 S. Harbor Blvd., Suite 250
Santa Ana, CA, 92704

Is Optima Tax Relief Right For You?

Given how high the fees are for retaining the company, this option only makes sense when you have considerable tax debt.  Several financial sites report that you need a minimum of $10,000 in tax debt to qualify.

Some financial advisors believe that if your tax debt is less than $10,000 you may be able to handle the case on your own.  For example, you can find the appropriate forms online and set up a payment plan with the IRS.

OptimaTaxRelief.com offers additional resources including articles, tips, advice, scam warnings, and other tips to help you make your decision about using their services.

You should fully do your due diligence on using a tax settlement company and research additional options such as speaking to a tax attorney.

Customer Reviews & Complaints

You can find a lot of incredible testimonials from satisfied customers on OptimaTaxRelief.com where customers state the company has saved them tens of thousands of dollars in tax debt.  Of course these are not guaranteed outcomes.

Conversely, customer complaints state that the company charged large fees and the resulting settlements were not worth the expenses.  Some customers claimed that they could have gotten similar deals working directly with the IRS themselves.

Further, other unsatisfied clients felt as if the money that went towards Optima Tax Relief services could have been better spent paying down their debts instead.

Some other issues mentioned by customers is that they had a difficult time reaching support and that the communication process was compromised by having to speak with multiple agents about their case.

Overall though the company has above average reviews and are accredited by the BBB with an A+ rating.  

While there are many complaints listed with the BBB, Optima Tax Relief representatives seem to make an effort to resolve the issues and issue refunds where applicable.

Competitors and Alternatives

There are many tax settlement companies in operation today.  It's important to thoroughly research each one and avoid any potential scams.  

Many companies advertise the CPAs and Lawyers on their staff, however most of the actual interactions are done by lower level customer service representatives.

An alternative route is to find a locally recommended tax attorney that may be able to provide you with more personal attention, especially if you have a complicated case.

Further, if you're experiencing financial hardship you can research community resources such as free legal aid centers to see if they can help you file the appropriate paperwork.

The Bottom Line

The worst thing you can do is to ignore tax debts.  This course of action will lead to compounding fees and even more troubles.

Many financial advisors recommend that the IRS be the first creditor that you pay off.

Unfortunately many unscrupulous companies know just how intimidating dealing with the IRS can be and try to take advantage of people in this circumstance.  

It’s critical to educate yourself on your options and most likely avenues for resolution.  If a company is advertising a 'too good to be true' outcome, then it most likely is just that.

While the IRS does offer debt reduction, you would have to convince them that they won’t be likely to collect on your assets or current and future earnings - something that's difficult to do.

If you have any experience with Optima Tax Relief or their services, please leave your reviews below.

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Optima Tax Relief Customer Reviews

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BIG RIP OFF!!!
January 26, 2023

I called in desperate need of Optima Tax service. I was told that they would be able to help me AND get fees and penalties reduced. I have been making payments to them and called multiple times with no answer.

I’m a cross country truck driver and stay on the road a lot. I have had to multiple times find a place to send documents they required. I have done everything to make sure they had what they need.

They make a lot of promises up front that they don’t back up. It’s hard to get someone to call you back and when they do they are no help.

At NO TIME did they EVER say that some people won’t qualify for assistance BUT they had no problems taking my payment or dragging time so MORE FEES AND PENALTIES were added. It’s heartbreaking that someone that truly needed help couldn’t get anything but the run around

Optima tax will not help you
December 30, 2022

I went to Optima tax for help and got shafted like a lot of other good hardworking people. I barely make it paycheck to paycheck as it is and my wife has health issues and cannot work and these people wasted 10 months of my time and 3,100.00 of my money just to tell me that they felt it was just best that I pay the IRS what they want and that there was nothing else they could do. And now I have to find a way to pay off over 17,000.00. If they could have just gotten the fees and penalties waved it would have been something, but to do nothing is nothing short of thievery.

OPTIMA IS NOTHING BUT A SCAM
December 15, 2022

DONNIE HARTFIELD

I CALLED optima to handle several years of back taxes and OPTIMA is nothing but a scam and a rip off. I called them paid $295.00 up front for them to investigate what I needed to have done. they contacted me a week later and told me it was going to cost me $14,190.00 to resolve my taxes.

I agreed to letting them handle it. I thought everything was going well I sent in all the information that they needed to do my taxes and they refused the information that I sent them.

they keep requesting for the same information that they already had and needed to file my taxes.

after hours of explaining to them about expense report from the trucking company and the 1099's.

they still sent me request for the same information again. I called them and said I wanted my money back and they hung up on me, so I stopped payments on $1,576.64 a month. That I had already paid $8,178.35.

Now I am fighting to get my money back. I hired a taxes service here a home and and got everything filed with all the same information and got everything done for less than a 10th of what Optima was charging. I have filed complaints with the BBB, Mississippi ATTORNEY GENERAL OFFICE, ARIZONA ATTORNEY GENERAL, and with the FBI scam and fraud division.

OPTIMA IS NOTHING BUT A SCAM AND A RIP OFF

not satisfied
October 15, 2022
i owed 31k to the irs,and i paid 6k to optima. all they did for me was set up payments to the irs. so instead of 31k now im paying 37k. they did nothing to lower my bill.....

Very dissatisfied with Optima Tax Relief.
September 14, 2022

I am very dissatisfied with the Optima Tax Relief. They do not show up for their own scheduled appointments. They don't return phone calls and after being on hold for hours they hang-up on me. I have asked for help several times and no one replies. They have taken months to do very basic work. They act very unprofessional.

Optima Tax Relief SCAM!!!
July 23, 2022

I have requested there services about a year ago, to help to reduce or alleviate my current tax debt.

Even after paying them $4,680.00 for their services, which could of been better used to pay down my IRS debt instead. As of the date of this review, I have not received any good results in my favor. I am being requested that I upload a completed 433-d form which I did so I can start paying $200 a month which is exactly what I was doing prior to contacting Optima Tax relief in the first place.

I have requested an escalation on my case many times, I requested a callback from a Manager with no avail. I had numerous meeting scheduled by Optima Tax Relief that no one ever responded too. This whole experience has been a joke.. They haven't done anything for me or for my case that I couldn't have done for myself. All they do is take your money. DO NOT USE OPTIMA TAX RELEIF!!!!

Continuation.... After leaving the above review, I was contacted by Optima Tax Relief by the "Executive Review Board team" immediately to pretty much tell me that they want to close my case and terminate the relationship and as a courtesy wants to refund $950 of the $4650 I paid them to do nothing... I took a picture of the email received and posted it to this review.

After doing some research I have found that this a normal practice and I am not the only one that has fell victim to this scam. Do your research folks. Go to the BBB and look at all the 1000 of bad reviews that have been posted about OTR. There is even a Facebook Group dedicated to Optima Tax Relief SCAMS!!! Remember to look at my picture of the email received for verification. I will be obviously escalating this to get my money back... I will be opening/filing a case with the BBB as well.. Can you say Class Action Lawsuit!!!

Optima Tax Relief is a Rip Off
May 5, 2022

When I contacted Optima two years ago, my income was around $24,000 and my situation looked positive to qualify for tax relief. My income changed within 4 months because my previous employer called me back to work.

My income changed drastically but I still had mounting debt, I hired them and paid $959 per month until I paid $4,795 for their services, which did nothing for me.

There were times we could not buy enough groceries and definitely could not afford entertainment or things of that nature. Two years into their program and I get no debt reduction and a monthly payment of $525.

The sad thing is I’ve now paid $47,000 to resolve a tax debt for $35,000 and interest and penalties still apply. I could have negotiated directly with the IRS and be paid down nearly $13,000. Optima should refund my money.

RR July 11, 2022

I looked into Optima first, and read all their reviews. The negative reviews out weighed the positive ones. I called the IRS directly and set up a payment plan for 72 months. They were easy to work with. Of course, I'm paying interest on this payment plan, but it's less than what Optima's fee, and probably would have done the same thing. I cut out the middle man.

They Steal your money
April 20, 2022
They will charge you thousands for nothing and leave you worse than you started.

DO NOT HIRE! Find a local tax lawyer or do it ,( call IRS) yourself!
April 7, 2022

Charged us $16k, told us they would negotiate our $52k balance down.

Told us NOT to pay IRS for 2 years that they were “ handling “ our account!

IRS put a lien on our property! ( They told us that they would stop lien! … They then said… we can’t do anything until they put a lien THEN they said … we can’t do anything about the lien!)

Because we didn’t make payments per advise of Optima …. We NOW OWE 107k!!!

Penalty and interest doubles!!!!

The only thing they did was file simple returns for late years ….

They DID NOT negotiate a lower pay off !!! They said they would!!!

You can call the IRS AND set up payment yourself!!!!

Don’t be AFRAID of the IRS !!!

Hire a LOCAL tax lawyer ! Cheaper than Optima Tax!!!

We are sick that we hired them !!!

Also the 16k lost … they couldn’t claim the fee on our tax return! So double whammy!

YOU CAN DO IT … don’t let fear of IRS BE THE REASON YOU hire a company like this!

Go to IRS.gov … set up an account and start making payments TODAY!

They will never get off your back
April 5, 2022

They will never get off your back even though you never did business with them and I never will.

Once they get your contact number they will call constantly even though you tell them you are not interested in their services and by constantly I mean every day the caller ID shows "home services" and other misleading names.

Lies
March 20, 2022

They are terrible tell you one thing and do another. For what they charged me I could have done everything myself. I asked to speak with a customer service manager I was told they would call with in 24 to 48 hrs its now been a week and no phone call

Optima does nothing for a $2,250 fee - the next representative produces a refund instead.
August 27, 2021

I am a retired tax lawyer who takes on selected clients . My client owed $16,000 to the IRS and previously hired Optima to help. Optima charged my client $2,250 but no apparent services were ever provided. I replaced them as POA , researched her situation and filed amended tax returns. The amended returns negated her tax debt and even created a refund.

I have communicated with Optima that they were replaced and that I expect an accounting and a refund of their unearned prepaid service fee, To date, they have ignored me. As a tax lawyer with over 40 years experience , the only thing I have seen from Optima is fee collection from scared taxpayers.

OptimaTaxRelief scam
August 6, 2021
I’ll let you be the judge, I hired Optima to help with a tax issue from 2017, I provided them with my returns along with any other info they required. In June of 2020, they as well as I received a statement from the IRS with a final amount, due to their incompetence, I was assessed over $9,000 in interest and penalties. When questioned, all they gave me was a scripted answer.

Awful
May 19, 2021
I paid $495, quiet for months, never summited the right paper work... I almost got levy, luckily i called the IRS and got it resolved with out paying a huge fee to this tax company. Save your money and get tax advocate they do the same just for free.

Federal Prison
May 19, 2021
Everyone who works for Optima tax relief, founder, etc., is disingenuous and should all go to Federal Prison. This company is a scam.

Optima is a scam
March 6, 2020
Contacted Optima after a tax bill from IRS for over $25,000. Optima said no problem. Charged me just under $5,000 upfront for "tax relief" help. Note $5,000 is threshold for criminal fraud in many states. Optima did nothing to reduce IRS bill after getting my just under $5,000. After review by a real tax attorney I was told there was no real honest relief for my IRS tax bill. The real tax attorney also told me Optima is just a "pay up front" scam. The BBB "excellent" review is a result of "donations" by Optima to the BBB. Just like "Remington Financial" A plus review by BBB. Remington Financial officers all got Federal Prison time.

LarryWolford April 04, 2020

They did me the same way, I feel your pain. Buyer Beware

LarryWolford April 04, 2020

they did me the same way, total rip offs

Optima tax reief is a TOTAL SCAM
December 12, 2019

I paid Optima Tax Relief $2790.00 to negotiate my 2018 taxes down, but they did not make a single attempt. If your a poor sucker like me and signed on without reviewing the testimonials

1. stop paying them and CANCEL the service, it wont get any better

2. revoke the POA form you sent them by going online and getting a form

3.find a REAL tax lawyer who is IN YOUR STATE

BobHeine March 06, 2020

Thank you. I had same experience. Only my experience cost $2,110 more. Note Optima charges you up the the threshold of criminal fraud in your state, takes your money and does nothing.

Optima Tax Relief is a total scam
December 10, 2019
I paid Optima Tax Relief $2790.00 to negotiate my 2018 taxes downbut they did not make a single attempt.

LarryWolford April 04, 2020

I feel your pain, total rip off

Optima Tax is a RIP OFF
September 30, 2019
Professional rip off artists from the word GO. Quick to Expedite getting money from you. Once you pay them their money your fate is in the wind. They do NOT follow through on their cases and become very vague when you call your case workers with legitimate questions regarding problems with the IRS. An IRS case worker told me that the IRS had heard NOTHING from Optima Tax relief regarding my past tax problems in almost two years while my case worker continually lead me to believe they were working on my case. When confronted about the non-action in my case Optima threatened continually dropping me on the spot They need to change their name to OPTIMAL CON ARTISTS! I demand a full refund from these money grubbers.

I learn by others
May 20, 2019
My mother paid $5000. to these people only to hear them say “SUC-KER”