The tax resolution industry has a reputation for sketchy, even predatory behavior. By the time you’re tens of thousands of dollars in debt to the IRS, you’re willing to believe pie-in-the-sky promises of fast, painless fixes to wipe out most or all of what you owe.
I’ve spent the better part of a decade covering tax resolution companies. Believe me when I say that those promises almost never pan out. Most tax resolution companies are happy to take your money, make some noise in the IRS’s general direction, and then leave you to sort out your tax issues on your own.
Ideal Tax is different. Its in-house tax attorneys and CPAs can’t work miracles with the IRS — no one can — but they don’t pretend to either. If you have serious income tax issues, you should seriously consider working with them.
What Is Ideal Tax?
Ideal Tax is a tax resolution company that helps individuals and businesses deal with the IRS and resolve tax problems. It has been in business since 2010 and operates in 48 states. It’s occasionally referenced by its full name — Ideal Tax Solution — but more often as just “Ideal Tax.”
Ideal Tax provides a range of tax resolution services. Its in-house tax attorneys and IRS negotiation experts help clients deal with IRS actions like:
Ideal Tax communicates with the IRS on clients’ behalf. It helps clients set up and manage IRS payment plans, prepare and file amended tax returns, and file previously unfiled returns. It also offers longer-term Protection Plans that bundle tax resolution services with ongoing tax support and monitoring, including current-year tax return preparation and filing for individuals and businesses.
Ideal Tax’s resolution services are personalized to each client, and so is its pricing. Ideal Tax doesn’t charge flat or fixed fees for its services. Your cost depends on how complex your situation is and how much work it takes to resolve. You won’t find a tax resolution service menu with set prices on its website. Some verified customer reviews claim that Ideal Tax charged them much more than expected for its work.
Ideal Tax is transparent about the cost of its ongoing Protection Plans, however. Depending on your plan, expect to pay anywhere from $39 per month to $150 per month. Protection Plans come with discounted tax resolution services if and when needed, but Ideal Tax doesn’t say how much you save on tax resolution as a plan member.
How Ideal Tax Stacks Up
Ideal Tax is a comprehensive tax resolution provider that offers ongoing support for individual and corporate taxpayers. But it doesn’t have the industry all to its own. Before signing up with Ideal Tax, see how it stacks up to a well-known competitor: Anthem Taxes.
|Ideal Tax||Anthem Taxes|
|Minimum Enrolled Debt||$5,000||$8,000 to $10,000|
|IRS Installment Agreements||Yes||Yes|
|IRS Fresh Start||Yes||Yes|
|Ongoing Protection Plans||Yes, four plans from $39/mo||Not advertised|
|Tax Prep and Filing||Yes||Yes|
|Audit Defense||Yes||Not advertised|
What Sets Ideal Tax Apart?
Unlike more transactional tax resolution firms, Ideal Tax is a relationship-based company that’s easy to get in with and comfortable to work with for months or even years on end. See what sets it apart from the competition.
- Every New Client Gets a Free Consultation. Every new Ideal Tax client gets a free consultation. During the consultation, an Ideal Tax employee reviews information you provided online, goes over your tax situation with you in more detail, and determines whether you’re a good fit to work with the company. Many competitors charge for initial consultations — often at hundreds of dollars per hour.
- Easy Online Inquiry Process. The best part of Ideal Tax’s website — which isn’t very good overall — is the online inquiry tool. It’s super simple to use, doesn’t require any tax knowledge, and takes just a few minutes to complete.
- Comprehensive Tax Protection Plans. In addition to personalized tax resolution services, Ideal Tax offers four different long-term protection plans with transparent pricing. Each bundles a comprehensive array of tax services, including tax preparation and filing, audit defense, and balance monitoring. Many smaller tax resolution outfits don’t.
Advantages of Ideal Tax
Ideal Tax is more professional and customer-friendly than many tax resolution companies. Yes, your individual results may vary and Ideal Tax is careful not to promise specific outcomes, but you can feel confident going into the relationship. And that’s more than you can say for some competitors.
- Costs Nothing to Get Started (Or Decide You Don’t Want to Proceed). Ideal Tax doesn’t charge for your initial consultation. You won’t have to pay anything to find out what Ideal Tax can do for you. And if you decide it’s not going to work out, you won’t be any poorer for it.
- Knowledgeable Staff. Ideal Tax’s staff includes tax attorneys, non-attorney tax consultants, enrolled agents (tax prep specialists), and case managers. All know federal tax issues through and through.
- Long Track Record of Successful Tax Resolutions. Ideal Tax has been in business for more than a decade. It’s not a fly-by-night tax resolution company — it has a long record of success and hundreds of positive reviews to prove it.
- Wide Array of Tax Services. Ideal Tax does more than negotiate with the IRS on your behalf or defend you against a full IRS audit. Its team helps you monitor your tax situation, file current-year and past-year tax returns, and ensure you stay current on current and future IRS payment plans. And it works with both individuals and businesses.
Disadvantages of Ideal Tax
There’s always room for improvement. For example, I’d like to see Ideal Tax invest in a better experience for potential users, which would mean revamping its confusing website and being more transparent about how much its tax resolution services cost.
- Tax Resolution Pricing Is Not Transparent. Wondering how much you’ll spend for tax resolution with Ideal Tax? You won’t find specific dollar figures or even a general range on its website. Ideal Tax makes clear that you pay based on how complex your situation is, but some upfront guidance would be nice.
- Protection Plans May Not Be Necessary. Ideal Tax’s long-term Protection Plans cost anywhere from about $40 to well over $100 per month. Although they do bundle potentially valuable and time-consuming services like tax prep and filing, they include few if any tasks you can’t do yourself. Yes, even if you’re not a tax professional.
- Confusing Website. Beyond the clean, user-friendly inquiry portal, Ideal Tax’s website is disappointing. The navigation is confusing, many pages are loaded with dense and poorly written text, and the ratio of useful to not useful information is low.
Ideal Tax Resolution Services
At its core, Ideal Tax is a tax resolution company. It exists to help people and small businesses who owe the IRS considerable sums or are facing IRS audits.
These are the main tax resolution services Ideal Tax offers, plus more detail on what exactly you get when you sign up for one of its long-term Protection Plans. Note that Ideal Tax can’t guarantee that it’ll resolve your tax problems favorably — only that its team will do everything in their power to help.
Dealing With Tax Levies and Liens
If you’ve received notice of a tax lien from the IRS, Ideal Tax can help. A lien is a claim against property that you own that the IRS files when you owe unpaid taxes. The IRS can file liens against:
- Real estate you own
- Bank account and other financial accounts you control
- Vehicles you own
- Business assets, if the taxes are owed by your business
- Other valuable property that the IRS knows about, such as boats and recreational vehicles
When dealing with tax liens against clients who can’t pay their tax balance in full, Ideal Tax negotiates with the IRS to do one of the following:
- Discharge the lien, which usually happens when you sell the property but can also happen if the property isn’t worth as much as the IRS thinks
- Subordinate the lien, or reduce its priority so that other creditors have first claim to your property
- Withdraw the lien, which can happen if the lien wasn’t filed properly or if you’ve set up a payment plan with the IRS
An IRS tax levy is more serious and urgent. It means the IRS is actually moving to seize property or assets to cover your tax debts. Ideal Tax can’t always stop asset seizure, but it can negotiate with the IRS to reduce your balance owed and help you recover some of the proceeds.
Resolving Wage Garnishment
In certain circumstances, the IRS can garnish your wages to cover unpaid tax debts. This means the IRS takes a portion of each paycheck you receive, which can seriously squeeze your budget.
If the IRS is taking some of your paycheck, Ideal Tax works to limit what the IRS can take and eventually stop the process. Depending on your situation, it may:
- Try to negotiate an offer-in-compromise, where you pay less than the full amount the IRS claims you owe
- Try to qualify you for currently-not-collectible (CNC) status due to financial hardship, which delays IRS collection activities
- Set up an IRS payment plan, known as an Installment Agreement or IA, with a manageable monthly payment to pay down your tax burden
Responding to Tax Notices
Ideal Tax can help you review, understand, and respond to tax notices from the IRS.
Receiving an unfamiliar letter from the IRS IS not by itself a reason to hire Ideal Tax. Many notices aren’t urgent and don’t mean you owe the IRS money. Check the IRS’s website first. It has explainers on most of the notices the agency sends, and often you’ll find a simple answer to your question there. You can also call the IRS to ask a live person for clarification.
If you are concerned about a particular notice, you can set up a free consultation with an Ideal Tax rep to discuss it. If you’d like Ideal Tax to represent you in your dealings with the IRS, they’ll respond to the notice on your behalf and manage future communications with the agency, always keeping you in the loop.
Help Qualifying for the IRS Fresh Start Program
Launched in 2011, the IRS Fresh Start Program makes it easier for people who owe back taxes to settle their debt for less than they owe. It loosened the previously strict requirements for offer-in-compromise settlements so that many more taxpayers qualify.
Still, the process of qualifying for the Fresh Start Program and setting up an offer-in-compromise is confusing for nonexperts. Ideal Tax specializes in qualifying taxpayers for Fresh Start, brokering a compromise, and helping them stay current on any payment plan that comes out of it.
Preparing and Amending Tax Returns
Ideal Tax offers income tax preparation services for current-year tax returns, including amended returns and return extensions. Ideal Tax can handle personal and business tax returns, no matter how complicated.
Unlike online tax prep services that require you to fill out everything yourself, Ideal Tax is hands-on. Its team of CPA and enrolled agents take the financial information you provide, complete your return, send it back to you for review, and then file it with the IRS and any state tax authorities you owe money to.
Filing Past-Year Tax Returns
Filing prior-year tax returns is often necessary to address old tax liabilities and settle up with the IRS. Some online tax prep software programs and independent CPAs can’t help with prior-year returns, but Ideal Tax does — so if you need to file one or more years of back taxes, get in touch.
IRS Audit Response and Defense
Ideal Tax can help you respond to IRS audit notices and defend you if you’re subject to a full audit.
Keep in mind that many “audits” require little action on your end. The IRS simply adjusts your tax return, and if you agree with the new amount owed, you send them payment to settle the matter.
It’s more invasive “bookkeeping audits” where the IRS demands evidence of income, liabilities, and other information that affects your tax liability that Ideal Tax can really help with.
Long-Term Protection Plans
Ideal Tax offers four long-term Protection Plans that bundle a range of services into a single fixed-fee package.
You don’t need to be an existing tax resolution client to sign up for a Protection Plan. However, if the need arises, each plan comes with discounted resolution services. Ideal Tax doesn’t say how much you save with this discount, but any savings is better than none.
Protection Plans cost between $39 per month and $150 per month, depending on which you select. The comparison chart below shows most of what you get with each, but you can see the full list of services on the Ideal Tax Protection Plans page.
Additional Features of Ideal Tax
Ideal Tax has a few other features worth noting. See below for more information about its initial application and onboarding workflow, and for details of the key accreditations and memberships that make it more legitimate than the typical tax resolution company.
Easy Online Inquiry Tool
Ideal Tax’s online inquiry workflow is the best part of its website by a mile. It won’t get you all the way to a contractual relationship with Ideal Tax — you need to talk to an on-staff expert for that — but it’s a critical first step in the process.
If you’ve applied for a loan or credit card online before, the tool should feel familiar. It’s a step-by-step experience that uses dropdown menus and simple form fields to help you answer:
- The tax issue or issues you need help with
- About how much the IRS says you owe
- How many years of back taxes you need help with
- Whether you’re being audited
- Other important details about your tax situation
Once you’ve completed the workflow, you’re in Ideal Tax’s system, and you can expect a member of the team to reach out to you to discuss your case in more detail. Remember, that initial consultation is free.
Of course, you can also call Ideal Tax directly at (888) 720-0442 or email email@example.com. But completing the workflow gives you a head start and takes just a few minutes.
Consumer Watchdog Accreditations
Ideal Tax is accredited or endorsed by several consumer watchdog organizations and pro-consumer groups. The most notable are:
- The Better Business Bureau, where Ideal Tax has an ‘A’ rating
- Consumer Affairs, a pro-consumer group that rates and reviews for-profit businesses
- The Business Consumer Alliance, a trade group that promotes ethical business practices
Professional Organization Memberships
Ideal Tax also belongs to two professional organizations directly relevant to what it does:
- The National Association of Tax Professionals, which supports and provides continuing education for U.S.-based tax preparers, attorneys, resolution specialists, and others
- The American Bar Association, a well-known professional association for U.S.-based lawyers, including tax lawyers
Is Ideal Tax Legit?
Yes, Ideal Tax is legitimate. It’s not a scam. Over 12 years in business, the Ideal Tax team has helped thousands of taxpayers resolve their tax problems with the IRS. The company is licensed in 48 states — nearly the entire country.
Ideal Tax is a member of several pro-consumer organizations too:
- The Better Business Bureau — Ideal Tax has an ‘A’ rating from the BBB, signifying widespread customer satisfaction
- The Business Consumer Alliance, which helps would-be customers evaluate companies for quality and honesty
- Best Company — Ideal Tax is a Top 10 ranked company with Best Company
And Ideal Tax has hundreds of four- and five-star Google reviews from satisfied customers. Not every Ideal Tax customer has their tax problems resolved to their satisfaction, of course, but Ideal Tax doesn’t claim to be perfect — just better than the alternatives, doing nothing, or trying to deal with the IRS yourself.
Alternatives to Consider
Not sure Ideal Tax is the best choice for your tax relief needs? Consider these alternatives, each with its own clear strengths.
|Product Service||Best for|
|Precision Tax Relief||Best for transparent pricing|
|Fortress Tax Relief||Best for hourly service (good for people with larger debts)|
|CommunityTax||Best for smaller tax debts|
|Anthem Tax Services||Best money-back guarantee with no time limit|
Ideal Tax has a lot of benefits for people and small businesses struggling with tax problems.
It offers a comprehensive range of tax resolution services. Although potentially costly, its four Protection Plans help busy people manage their tax obligations, payment plans, and communications with the IRS. It has a long record of success. And it costs nothing to speak with an Ideal Tax rep to see if it’s a good fit.
Ideal Tax isn’t perfect, though. Its website is confusing, even overwhelming. Its tax resolution pricing isn’t transparent, and some past clients complain that they paid more than expected. And aside from discounted tax resolution services, its Protection Plans are mainly about saving time — if you have the confidence to deal with the IRS yourself, navigate the wide world of tax deductions, and prepare and file your own taxes, you might not need one.
So, should you work with Ideal Tax? Only you can answer that question for sure — but it won’t hurt to get in touch and learn more.