Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Real Price of Tax Debt Resolution

That Basic Question
If you're like me the first question you want to ask after hearing about a product or service is "How much does it cost?" And it's a very good question. The last thing you want to do is waste your time learning about a service that's great but you cannot afford. It's human nature. So of course "How much will this cost?" is one of the first questions that get asked when those in tax debt hell finally break down and call a tax resolution firm.

The Lie
Unfortunately, however, the debt resolution industry as a whole markets itself as a quick fix to big problems. People expect a low $29.99 fee and a miracle a lot like they expect tiny pills to melt away years of unhealthy eating and sedentary lifestyle. It just isn't that easy.

So of course those in trouble with the IRS and dealing with the resulting financial crisis contact a firm and have unrealistic expectations right off the bat. Well, let me pop your bubble and let you know there is no "quick fix" to tax problems and if someone offers you a miracle with a low fee you should

The Truth
Whether you're problem is from years of dodging the tax man or a one-time mistake that has had catastrophic effects, the end result is the same... someone must negotiate with perhaps one of the biggest, slowest, most complex and bureaucratically bogged down institutions known to man. Think this is easy? Think this is quick? I think not.

The greater thing to realize is not how much the
resolution service will cost you, but how much not resolving the problem will cost in the end. I bet you like your home and car. If you don't pay, the IRS will like them too--as your form of payment. And that's not the worst part. Your paycheck, your credit score, savings, 401K's... all within the scope of the IRS. Still think a "large" payment up front is a lot to pay to protect these things? I think not. You must put fees in perspective.

Now, I bet you were thinking that this post would give you a list of fees. Sorry to disappoint. Depending on the severity of your debt, fees can vary widely. I can say though that don't come to a firm expecting to pay $30, $50, or even $100 for a fix. But do come with an open mind and a willingness to try to make fees work. Research your firm. Make sure you know who you are buying from. And then give the fees a once over again. But do prepare yourself, for if you don't the sticker shock may seem worse than it actually is and prevent you from fixing something that MUST be fixed.

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