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Taxmasters / complaints board

1 Houston, TX, United States Review updated:

It's almost ridiculous when I look at this complaint board regarding Taxmasters. In February of this year I had a levy on my wages that I called Taxmasters to assist me with. I owed approximately 27K and the IRS was stopping at nothing to take from me what little I brought home. I spoke with tax consultant, Brian Gordon and he insisted that he could assist me in saving my paycheck along with my home. I don't know about most of you, but I live paycheck to paycheck and if the IRS would have taken a single paycheck from me then it would have been difficult to maintain my mortgage for more than 1 month. Within 2 weeks Taxmasters had frozen the IRS in their tracks and over the course of the next 4 months they negotiated my debt down to 1100 dollars!!! I understand that many people feel as if they've been scammed by this company and I can understand why. If I had missed 1 payment to them they would have stopped working for me and my situation would have gone from bad to worse. The expression that you get what you pay for applies in my case. I paid for professional assistance in helping me resolve a tax debt that was threatening to take from me what little I had and the 4800 dollars I paid, although difficult for me to siphon from my limited resources, was well worth the investment. While reading the message board I noticed that one blogger stated that he didn't authorize any payment from his account and Taxmasters took the money anyway. That has to be patently false. Only because they only take credit cards or bank drafts ( I asked). If that blogger didn't give Taxmasters their credit card number of bank account information then it would have been impossible for them to extract any money from that blogger. Also, my credit card information was verified by a second person prior to them debiting my account. I had to essentially give them my credit card information twice before they accepted me as a client!! I also noticed that another blogger stated that Taxmasters didn't do anything for a number of months on their case and they are submitting a lawsuit to the State of Texas to get a total refund on their payment. I noticed that I spoke to my case coordinator only 3 times in 4 months but everytime I spoke to him he was professional and helpful. Look, you can't please all the people all the time. My mother would often say that you can't give Christmas turkeys to some people, but Taxmasters is the largest of its kind in the nation which means that apparently more people than not are receiving quality service and getting their issues resolved!!! The expression goes " Only 2 things definite in this life, Death and Taxes". I submit one more addition to this list... complaining unhappy people. I submit to all who read this blog to not believe everything you read on this website or any other. Use your mind. Taxmasters does wonderful work for the vast majority of their clients and they do crappy work for a select few. If more people like me would tell the stories of how they were helped instead of how they were harmed then this facet of this website wouldn't exist I gather. That's all. Do with this information what you will.

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Comments

Ch
  24th of Jun, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

I believe there is a 99.9% probability that you are a company shill. You cannot be trusted to be truthful. You sound like one of the testimonials from tax master's web site, which we all know, are lies made up by tax masters. Tax masters, among other scam companies, really should be destroyed.

These companies that advertise on TV & radio and internet are there for ONE purpose...To SCAM people out of their money and they can get away with it for a few months, then they change their name and start all over. This is true for weight loss products, get out of debt scams. The TV & radio stations & internet do NOT care if they are scamming people or not, they just want their advertising dollars.

Don't look for help from any government agency, they are NOT on your side, especially the federal government.

ANY testimonial from ANY website CANNOT & SHOULD NOT be believed.

Be
  19th of Oct, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

TAXMASTERS SKYROCKETING COMPLAINT RATE from the BBB
8/24/06 - 8/24/07 - 37 complaints filed
8/24/07 - 8/24/08 - 110 complaints filed; 300% INCREASE
8/24/08 - 8/24/09 - 237 complaints filed; 640% INCREASE
9.24.06 - 9.24.09 - 423 complaints filed
10.09.06 - 10.09.09 - 435 complaints files
10.14.09 - 446 Complaints That's 23 in 7 days!
10.16.09 - 459 (13 more in 2 days)
10.19.09 - 462 One a day

Be
  29th of Oct, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

Well the select few you say get crapie service count is up to 459 according to the BBB.

Tx
  15th of Mar, 2010
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

Hi,

If you've been a victim of TaxMasters, below is a good starting list of everyone you should send a letter to, detailing your experience. Signed and mailed letters are often still taken more seriously than an emailed or faxed one. You should also include any/all supporting documentation/evidence.

This really is needed. The sooner these agencies receive more complaints about this company, the more they will investigate.

1. Your state's Attorney General
2. All of your state's Senators and Representatives (Federal and State)
3. All of the following:

U.S. Treasury Department
ATTN: Special Agent Farwell
1919 Smith St.
Suite 2270
Houston, TX 77002

Texas State Board of Public Accountancy
333 Guadalupe, Tower 3, Suite 900
Austin, TX 78701-3900

Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
Hotline
P.O. Box 589
Ben Franklin Station
Washington, DC 20044-0589

Office of the Attorney General of Texas
PO Box 12548
Austin, TX 78711-2548

U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Attorney General
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20530

Internal Revenue Service
Office of Professional Responsibility
SE: OPR, Room 7238/IR
1111 Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20224

Better Business Bureau of Houston
http://houston.bbb.org/

Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580

Mayor Annise D. Parker
City of Houston
P.O. Box 1562
Houston, TX 77251

Tx
  4th of Jun, 2010
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

Well it finally happened -- government action against TaxMasters:

http://www.oag.state.tx.us/oagnews/release.php?print=1&id=3328

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 13, 2010
www.texasattorneygeneral.gov CONTACT
Press Office at
(512) 463-2050

Houston-based "Tax Resolution" Firm Charged With Unlawful Conduct, Misleading Customers

Texas Attorney General files enforcement action against TaxMasters, Inc.; cites nearly 1, 000 complaints about defendants’ conduct and business practices


HOUSTON – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today charged Houston-based TaxMasters, Inc., and its chief executive officer, Patrick Cox, with multiple violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and Texas Debt Collection Act.

According to the state’s enforcement action, the defendants unlawfully misled customers about their service contract terms, failed to disclose its no-refunds policy, and falsely claimed that the firm’s employees would immediately begin work on a case – despite the fact that TaxMasters did not actually start to work on a case until its customers paid in full for services, even if that delayed response meant taxpayers missed significant IRS deadlines.

“In the midst of a national economic downturn, TaxMasters used a nationwide marketing campaign to offer services for distressed taxpayers who needed help dealing with the IRS, ” Attorney General Abbott said. “A state investigation and nearly 1, 000 customer complaints indicate that the defendants routinely misled customers about the nature of their tax resolution service agreements – and worse, attempted to enforce those improper agreements through unlawful debt collection tactics. The state’s enforcement action seeks to prohibit the defendants from continuing to violate the law and seeks restitution for the financially struggling taxpayers who were harmed by the defendants’ unlawful conduct.”

The defendants advertise a tax resolution service for federal taxpayers who have received notice from the IRS of an audit, garnishment, lien, levy or tax deficiency. Citing a self-styled “national advertising campaign” and high-profile “endorsements, ” TaxMasters purports to have “one of the most effective tax relief teams in the tax representation business.” However, a state investigation – and nearly 1, 000 complaints submitted to the Office of the Attorney General and the Better Business Bureau of Houston – indicate that the defendants have unlawfully misled their customers and failed to disclose material facts about their service agreements.

TaxMasters’ advertisements encourage taxpayers to call its toll-free number for a “free consultation” with a “tax consultant.” Court documents filed by the state indicate that callers are not connected to an employee qualified to give tax advice, but rather with a TaxMasters salesperson who recommends a “solution” for between $1, 500 and $9, 000 or more.

According to court documents, many callers were offered an installment plan so that they could pay the defendants’ fee over a specified period of time. However, callers who asked to see written terms and conditions prior to making a payment were informed that a credit card or bank account number is necessary to generate a written TaxMasters service contract. As a result, TaxMasters customers were unaware – and the defendants’ personnel did not have a practice of disclosing – multiple aspects of the TaxMasters service agreement that were harmful to taxpayers.

For example, the defendants did not disclose that all customer payments submitted to TaxMasters are non-refundable. Because customers were not provided written contracts and sales personnel did not reveal the no-refunds policy, customers did not know that they would not be able to recover any installment payments they submitted to TaxMasters – even if they ultimately decide to cancel before TaxMasters actually did any work on their tax case.

The state’s enforcement action also cites TaxMasters for failing to reveal that it would not begin work on a case until all installment payments had been remitted and the entire fee was paid. Multiple complaints indicate that customers entered into an installment agreement with the understanding that TaxMasters would immediately begin work on their case – only to discover later that no action was taken. Customers often learned that there was a problem when they received a notice from the IRS indicating that an important deadline had been missed or that additional fees and penalties had accrued.

Court documents filed by the state also indicate that the defendants failed to disclose TaxMasters’ requirement that customers pay the entire service fee – even if they opt to cancel their contract. Because customers are not provided a written contract, they were not properly informed that agreeing to make a single payment over the telephone obligated them to pay the entire fee quoted by sales personnel. Further, not only did TaxMasters attempt to obligate its customers to a fee in the absence of a signed contract, the defendants used unlawful debt collection tactics to enforce the unauthorized obligation.

According to the state’s enforcement action, the defendants not only failed to disclose material terms and conditions governing its services, but also failed to properly provide the “tax resolution” services that were advertised. Customer complaints obtained by the Attorney General’s Office cite TaxMasters for failing to contact and consult with the IRS on the client’s behalf; failing to appear on the client’s behalf at an IRS audit or hearing; failing to postpone or stop a wage or bank account garnishment; and failing to stop a levy or lien against a client’s property.

When customers who were unhappy with the defendants’ services sought refunds, TaxMasters refused to return the customers’ money. Court documents indicate TaxMasters not only refused to honor refund requests, it also pursued debt collection efforts against clients who cancelled their contracts. The state’s enforcement action charges TaxMasters with unlawfully threatening to pursue customers in Harris County courts, even if those customers did not reside in the county. Under Texas law, entities seeking to enforce a consumer contract can only do so in a county where the agreement was executed or where the consumer resides.

The state's enforcement action is seeking restitution for each TaxMasters customer who was financially harmed by the defendants’ unlawful conduct. In addition, the state is seeking civil penalties of up to $20, 000 for each violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Tx
  8th of Jul, 2010
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

Two federal lawsuits have been filed against TaxMasters and Patrick Cox personally:

Wells et al v. TaxMasters, Inc et al, filed 7/2/2010 regarding Fair Labor Standards

Antkowiak v. Taxmasters et al, filed 7/7/2010 regarding Fair Debt Collection

Tx
  28th of Oct, 2010
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

there are now 4 federal lawsuits against TaxMasters, for varied reasons:

8 Taxmasters, Inc. (dft) txsdce 4:2010-cv-02373 710 07/02/2010
9 Taxmasters (dft) txsdce 4:2010-cv-02373 710 07/02/2010
10 TAXMASTERS, INC. (dft) paedce 2:2010-cv-03331 480 07/07/2010
11 TAXMASTERS (dft) paedce 2:2010-cv-03331 480 07/07/2010
14 TaxMasters Inc. (cnflck) txsdce 4:2010-cv-03055 710 08/25/2010
15 Taxmasters, Inc. (dft) txsdce 4:2010-cv-03055 710 08/25/2010
16 Taxmasters (dft) txsdce 4:2010-cv-03055 710 08/25/2010
17 Taxmasters, Inc. (dft) txsdce 4:2010-cv-03330 190 09/16/2010

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