Just because a tax company has a large advertising budget does not mean the company can help you avoid a Miami tax evasion case.
Miami tax attorneys have been closely following the news regarding Tax Masters, the tax preparation company that has just been ordered to pay nearly $200 million for reportedly committing tax fraud on more than 100,000 customers across the country - including Florida. About $50 million of that has been ordered to come directly from the pockets of the CEO.
The company was the target of a probe conducted by the Florida Attorney General's Office back in 2010. At the heart of the issues both here and in Texas where the company is based, were allegations that the company aimed its sights on consumers who were having a hard time paying their taxes.
The company reportedly promised to work out settlement agreements with the IRS. But the company wouldn't start work until the filing fees - which sometimes ranged up to $9,000 - were paid in full. By the time customers came up with that money, critical deadlines were missed, which resulted in even more fees that customers had to pony up.
Additionally, the company failed to let customers know it had a no-refund policy and reportedly used debt collection tactics that were illegal.
Miami tax attorneys know that the best course of action if you are having trouble with your taxes is to contact a qualified tax attorney. This is an individual who is going to be looking out specifically for your best interests - and not the bottom line of a telemarketing company. Tax law can be complicated and confusing, and you need to know that whoever you bring on board to help you sift through all of it knows what they're doing and isn't out to scam you. It's important to note that just because a company may have saturated a market with advertising doesn't mean it's trustworthy.
In this case, TaxMasters - and its CEO - were found guilty in Texas of more than 100,000 counts of violating that state's Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The state attorney there remarked that it was a well-fought victory for consumers who had been swindled at the lowest point of the country's economic downturn.
The company reportedly did not contact the IRS on behalf of its clients, which would have helped prevent property liens, fees and other problems.
Tax Masters had an advertising budget that ate up about $16 million, according to CNNMoney - nearly 40 percent of its total revenue.
When ABC News conducted an investigation on the company last year, a representative reportedly told a person who owed about $19,000 that they could get their payments down to "next to nothing," and boasted about a 97 percent success rate - none of which was true.
The company has filed for bankruptcy, and it isn't clear whether the customers will see any financial relief, as the company is reported to owe some $10 million to creditors and claims its assets are less than $50,000.
The bottom line is that if you feel you are in over your head with your taxes, your best option is to contact an experienced Miami tax attorney, who can help you sort through the details of your case and uncover the best scenario given the facts.
Miami Tax Fraud Attorney A. Antonio Tomas offers a free consultation to individuals dealing with tax issues, including IRS Audits or allegations of tax evasion. Tax planning services are also available. Call 305-648-1040.