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This company offers tax preparation and general tax services.
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A BBB Accredited Business since
BBB has determined that ZipTax meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.
BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.
Reason for Rating
BBB rating is based on 13 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.
Factors that lowered the rating for ZipTax include:
- Length of time business has been operating
Factors that raised the rating for ZipTax include:
- Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size
- Response to 9 complaint(s) filed against business
- Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business
Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details
|Complaint Type||Total Closed Complaints|
|Problems with Product/Service||5|
|Total Closed Complaints||9|
Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews
|Customer Experience||Total Customer Reviews|
|Total Customer Reviews||8|
Licensing, Bonding or Registration
This business is in an industry that may require professional licensing, bonding or registration. BBB encourages you to check with the appropriate agency to be certain any requirements are currently being met.
These agencies may include:
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
JFK Federal Building, P.O. Box 9112 7th Floor, Boston MA 02203
The number is PTIN – P01777252.
Type of Entity
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
Business ManagementMr. Jim Dougal, President Mr. Chris Shihadeh, Vice President
Number of Employees
Taxes - Consultants & Representatives
The following Government Agency(s) or Association(s) may be able to provide you additional information:
California Attorney General PO Box 944255, Sacramento CA 94244-2550 Phone Number: (800) 952-5225 http://www.ag.ca.gov
Federal Trade Commission 600 Pennsylvanis Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20580 http://www.ftc.gov
Industry TipsTax Preparers
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Complaint Trends - Last 3 Years
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BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating Overview
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|Customer Review Experience||Value|
|Positive Review||5 points per review|
|Neutral Review||3 points per review|
|Negative Review||1 point per review|
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Read Complaint Details
Complaint: On November 25, 2014, I engaged Zip Tax to negotiate a tax debt that I owed for a business that I am a partner in. On December 2, 2014, I cancelled the contract, asked for a refund of the $1250 that I had paid them, and an itemized billing. I received no response. Thereafter, I engaged the services of an attorney who corresponded with Zip Tax on 2/20/15 who requested a refund and an itemized billing of the services rendered on my behalf. I have received no response to either. I met with Zip Tax one time, and do not believe that they started work on anything on my behalf. I believe that they have taken the $1250 that they have been paid and not performed any work on my behalf.
Desired Settlement: I would like the $1250 paid to be refunded to me.
******* ******** has paid a total of 1700 dollars to ZipTax. Please note Mr. ******** was given a discount of 50% off our normal fee, based on the fee schedule agreement.
· 11/4/2014- Mr. ******** met with Case Manager ********* ******* for approximately 1 hour. At this time, ******** signed agreement for our Investigation services, where he executed an Agreement and Power of Attorney forms (see attached). Mr. ******** at that time provided ZipTax with copies of all notices he had from IRS and State, which we had to review. ******** also provided reports for the business entities, *** ***** **** and **** ********** These reports consisted of Liquor License statements, Quarterly wage statements and various tax forms. Our staff reviewed the documentation.
· 11/4/2014- Attorney ******** ******* contacted the IRS and spoke with ***** ********. The following results were discovered with respect to ********’s Individual Federal Taxes:
***** ********* **********
· 11/4/2014- Attorney *** ***** contacted the Franchise Tax Board on behalf of ********* The following results were discovered pertaining to ********’s Individual State (of CA) Taxes:
Agent **** #****
· 11/7/2014- Attorney *** ***** contacted the State of Hawaii for Mr. ********* The following results were discovered regarding ********’s Individual State (of Hawaii) Taxes:
· 11/25/2014- Attorney ******** ******* contacted the IRS regarding two business entities, *** ***** **** and **** *********. The following results were discovered on this 2 entities with respect to their Federal Tax liabilities:
*** ***** ****
· 11/25/2014- Being that Mr ******** was an owner referral, ownership authorized a 50% discount on all services. Our Attorney team determined the retainer fee of $28,000 based the complexity and work needed on his case. Mr. ******** executed contract for $14,000 for ZipTax to work on resolution for IRS Personal, IRS Business (** **** and **** *********), Hawaii Personal and Franchise Tax Board Personal matters. Mr. ******** also signed a conflict of Interest waiver because multiple parties were involved. He met with ********* ******* for approximately 1.5 hours and *** ******* president of ZipTax, for an additional 30 minutes. During this 2 hour consultation ******** was advised of the plan of action to get his tax issues resolved. Subsequently, ZipTax Senior Attorney, **** ******, spent an additional 30 min reviewing the case and plan of action with both ******* and ******.
· 11/26/2014- Customer service team contacted ******** to review several critical documents essential to proceed with his case.
· 12/01/2014- Client contacted ZipTax and expressed dissatisfaction with out process. He disagreed with our “team” approach and wanted to have one designated representative and placed with a higher priority. Although we do not typically change our processes in this manner, because ******** was a trusted referral and a complex case, ownership agreed to his request and designated one Customer Service rep, ** **** to his case. She called him immediately to introduce herself and explain that his request had been granted.
· 12/4/2014- ** **** called ******** for documentation, which client stated was being faxed in right away. Shortly after this conversation, ********* spoke with client who then claimed he wanted to cancel his case. ********* explained that we had met every request and put in over 10 hours of work and planning that was necessary to setting the proper foundation to his resolution. This does not account for numerous phone calls between ********* and ******** that equates to several more hours. Mr. ******** then stated he wanted us to guarantee his resolution work, which would be unethical. At client’s request, ********* closed out case. Client executed contract in the amount of $14,000, which was discounted 50% from our standard fees Services rendered well exceed the $1700 paid at time of cancelation, warranting no refund.
Problems with Product/Service
Read Complaint Details
Complaint: ZipTax is by far the WORST company I’ve ever done business with! I paid for ZipTax services in 3/2014 and it's now 2/2015 and I am still waiting to see my offer in compromise (That has supposedly been in preparation since June of 2014); I’ve received nothing but the run around from ZipTax for over 9 months. They offered a service, and have FAILED to deliver on what was promised and what was in our contract. Saying they are unorganized and inefficient would be an understatement. I’ve asked countless times (via phone and emailed requests) for IRS communications sent on my behalf, written correspondence on updates - and I get nothing. Almost a year later and over $3000 spent, I feel as though ZipTax has done nothing on my behalf, and worse when asked what they’ve done they can’t answer or provide me with copies of anything that has been done on my behalf. I've complained about the lack of service to management, and nothing still gets resolved, I’m told "You're case is in the final stages of preparation" - I’ve heard this for over 9 months!! The service that I've received is less than acceptable. I was told by a member of management that due to the delay in preparing 2013 taxes and because they HAD NOT yet been filed (because ZipTax took way to long to process/prepare anything), you guys would prepare my 2014 taxes, at no charge, and include if needed along with my 2013 return; however I spoke with our CS agent a week or so ago and she advised me (yet again) "It's in the final stages" and my offer was being prepared.... How is that possible if you haven't even requested my 2014 tax documents?
Desired Settlement: I’m asking that my offer in compromise be prepared and I want to review it within a reasonable amount of time (Keep in mind I started this process almost a year ago), or I want a full, 100% refund and all of my documents returned to me.
Business Response: I have been speaking with ****** at length in resolving this and have tried to understand why she felt the need to post such negative comments all over the internet. Her issue is that the case took longer than she had initially thought, and she just wanted it finished. I have expressed to her that I don't agree with that as a reason of complaint, but I do understand her frustrations on this process as that is a main theme when dealing with the IRS.
I went into depth with her on why Offer In Compromise takes so much time and that we were only a few weeks away from having it submitted, which is actually shorter than anticipated. Most Offer In Compromise take 12 mo+ for completion. We offered to do her 2014 tax return free of charge simply to make a happy client while we were still completing her OIC. While I am disappointed she felt the need to post negative comments all over the internet, her case is progressing as we expected and her OIC will be submitted in the next week or so and I am confident she will be happy with results.
I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that this proposed action would not resolve my complaint. For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.
My complaint is not and has never been with the time frame taken to prepare my offer in compromise; my complaint is that the staff at ZipTax are untrained in communicating what the appropriate and accurate time frames are and that ZipTax has failed to deliver the service that was paid for. I was misled into what the process would actually be. I have been told for months that my offer was in the final stages; which was not true - I was told in August that it was being finalized and would have it by November; after that did not happen, when I inquired on it, I was told that since we are so close to the end of year for 2014 that we wouldn’t have it until after the new year. In addition, every time I ask for a written update, Zip Tax fails each time to provide something; below are just some examples that I have along with the email correspondences that I have attached. I am happy to provide additional examples of Zip Tax's failure of services if needed.
Read Complaint Details
Complaint: I ***** ***** to ***** ********** about doing my taxes. I explained my problem he told me that he could do my taxes. On 12-3-13 he told me to pay $ 750.00 in full so I did . On that same day he told me to fax or mail all the receipts I had,so they could start on my taxes. About a week or so later I received a form in the mail that I didn't understand , so I tried to call ***** I couldn't get him on phone ,so I had to talk to ******* ***** , she told me I had to fill out the profit and loss for each year with the receipts. I then told her that ***** ********** told me that all I had to do is mail or fax my receipts that I had. ******* ***** said they didn't except receipts. I told her thats not what ***** told me. I than went on to tell her that I wanted my money back . She then told me that I wasn't getting my money back . I told her she would be herein from me.
Desired Settlement: I want my $ 750.00 back
Mr. ***** hired us on 12/3/2013 for 6 years of tax preparation for $750 ( $125/yr). At the time, our tax preparation cost was $250/yr (has since increased to $300 per year since then). The intake specialist agreed to such an extreme discount as Mr. ***** had relayed that his returns were a very simple W2 and we wanted to compete with another firm vying for his business. This type of discount would never be approved currently.
After he paid the $750 on 12/3/13, we sent him out tax organizers as we do with all of our clients, so he can correctly input his potential deductions. Instead of filling out the tax organizers, he mailed us boxes of receipts, which is significantly different than tax preparation. We explained to him that organizing his receipts is a bookkeeping service, not tax preparation, and although he disagreed, he stated that he understood and will fill out a proper Profit & Loss and tax organizer. This tax return is no longer a simple return, but includes a Schedule C, which ranges from $350-$600/yr. We agreed to honor the pricing we gave him initially as he stated he would get us all the information. We had been following up for over a year on the documentation he agreed to send us to get his returns completed. Now over 1 year later, he finally responds to our Customer Service team demanding a refund. His case has now cost the firm more than $750 in account maintenance and customer service work and does not merit a refund whatsoever.
Better Business Bureau:
Business Response: ***** -
While we certainly wish you were willing to compromise with us at some reasonable agreement, you have been reluctant to send us the information we need to proceed. *****, as well as all our tax advisors, explained that any receipts or expenses you have, must be entered into the tax organizer as this is how all tax preparers in the entire country operate. Tax Returns are not prepared with receipts, but with reports.
On 12/3/13 (the day you hired us), we completed an initial IRS call to obtain your transcripts, of which is a $500 value in and of itself.
Sandra R. called you to explain the results of the Compliance Check on 12/5, where you stated you had some receipts to send.
On 12/9/13 ******* S. left you a voicemail to discuss the tax organizer and how this works.
On 12/10/13 you spoke with ******* and she told you we will send you a full business tax organizer, and you said you would call with any questions.
On 12/16/13, you spoke with *******. This conversation was the first you brought up that you though you supposed to send us receipts. ******* explained that is called bookkeeping and we did not have a bookkeeping service at the time. Furthermore, she explained that you need to enter the information onto the tax organizer. Additionally, we told you, we would email your income transcripts free of charge (again a $500 value), so you did not have to go back to each employer and seek your W2's and 1099, sometimes costing hundreds of dollars. You told ******* that you understood.
Several messages were left between 12/18/13 and 2/7/14.
You then called and spoke with Stephanie and said we would do 7 years of bookkeeping and 7 years of tax preparation for $750,. You were denied a refund at that time and unfortunately you felt it necessary to slander our name online nearly a year later. The service you are asking for would cost over $7,000 to have done properly.. While we try to help our clients as much as we can, this is completely unrealistic.
At this point, you still have not given us proper documentation to get your returns completed. We have since started an in-house bookkeeping service, and in an attempt to satisfy your case with the BBB, I would be willing to offer you 2 free years of bookkeeping and rather than our typical price of $79/mo for bookkeeping. I would honor an extremely discounted rate of $250 per year for past years. In addition, i will offer 2015 bookkeeping at 50% discount and waive the $250 set up fee.
If you would like to take advantage of the offer to maintain your books, we would love the opportunity to earn your trust again and show you why we are an industry leader in tax resolution.
Read Complaint Details
Complaint: ***** *********, Sr. Tax Spec. for Ziptax, llc. offered by way of over the phone to file tax years 2009 thru 2013, which would have been very simple, (disable, no property), offered over the phone, due to my being on permanent disability, fixed income, that I would quality for a program that would reduce fees and interest down to original debts for older owed taxes all for $500. He fully understood that this was not extra funds I had in savings, but money I would sacrifice if his company could accomplish all that he said. He even agreed to allow me to pay in 3 installments. He said they would do the work in 3 steps, as payments were made. I gave him approximate amounts of what I owed and the yrs. I needed to file. Once the company received the money, he called gave me exact amounts owed, told me the same years I told him that needed to be filed. If I wanted anything else done, it would cost $4 to 5,000.00. Not once was any additional fees ever mentioned. Mr. ***** insisted that he go thru the documents with me on the phone and electronically sign them immediately. I was told the documents were necessary to give them permission to act in my behalf. I have never received one piece of paper from any work done in my behalf. I paid $500.00 for a phone call, if that. I doubt that Tax zip even placed one call to the IRS or the state. Ziptax made promises they didn't even pretend to complete. They just robbed a senior citizen with full knowledge that I didn't even have the 500.00, let alone 5,000.00.
Desired Settlement: Refund
At ZipTax, we pride ourselves on excellent customer service and providing the best experience possible in the difficult circumstance of owing money to the IRS. Our 2-phase process ensures we have accurate information directly from the IRS prior to having clients retain us for resolution work. This gives our staff an understanding of what needs to be done on each specific situation.
Ms. ******* contracted with ZipTax for our Phase 1 Investigation on March 25, 2014. (see the investigative Agreement, clearly stating exactly what is included). We charge $795 for this service, but in an effort to help this client resolve her tax problem, we discounted our fee to $500. Additionally, we offered to split up her retainer in 3 payments to fit within her budget, which she defaulted on the first 2.
Prior to collecting any fees, we conducted a Welcome Call on March 25th at 4:45pm to welcome the client on board and explain the investigation service, including additional fees should she decide to hire us for resolution work, which she understood. After she paid the $500 retainer in full on May 14th, we conducted our investigation with the IRS, which includes having one of our licensed tax attorneys file Form 2848 and obtain accurate information directly from the IRS. On our initial call with the IRS on May 16th, 2014, Ms. *** (IRS Agent) informed us that our client needed 5 years of tax preparation and had a tax liability of $11,958. Our attorney staff put together a comprehensive plan of action on how we can resolve this debt completely. Given her financial situation, we determined that she would be a good candidate for Offer In Compromise, which could potentially reduce her liability to the IRS significantly. However, this program is extremely complex and most firms charge upwards of $4,000+ for this service, NOT including tax returns. Understanding Ms. ********* financial situation, we gave her an extreme discount as she had such a strong case. We offered to do all 5 years of tax returns (typically $1500) AND an Offer In Compromise for only $3,000, and agreed to split up the retainer in low monthly payments. She then said she expected us to resolve everything for only $500. We tried to be helpful by offering our services at an extremely affordable cost, but she was adamant in thinking that she deserved all the work to be completed for $500. While I certainly wish Ms. ******* would have been able to complete the resolution phase and allow us resolve her debt completely, unfortunately we are unable to meet her requests. Our contract has been fulfilled and we are not willing to offer a refund.
|11/24/2014||Problems with Product/Service | Complaint Details Unavailable|
Problems with Product/Service
Read Complaint Details
Complaint: My name is ******* ******. I received a notice in the mail stating that I would be audited by the IRS and to call them and schedule a time. I contacted the IRS and was informed that the date of my audit would be September 24, 2014 at 12:00 pm. I heard a radio advertisement about Ziptax and contacted this company on August 15, 2014 regarding representing me during this audit. Zip Tax said they would be able to represent me. After speaking with them, I learned that they are located in California. When I presented this concern to Zip Tax, they said they have representatives throughout various states and still would be able to represent me in Georgia on my audit date. Zip Tax also informed me that they would attend my audit meeting on September 24, 2014 and I would not have to attend. Zip Tax said they would complete the audit process for me from beginning to the end and would work with the IRS to get me a fair settlement in the event I had to pay monies to them. Zip Tax began sending me paperwork on August 15, 2014 to be signed. August 29, 2014 I received the Zip Tax agreement/contract detailing that they would represent me during this tax audit. September 4, 2014, Zip Tax began requesting that I send information to them that was requested by the audit. September 8, 2014, I received a Welcome to Zip Tax email giving an overview of the process and requested documents that needed to be completed. On September 18, 2014, Zip Tax requested additional documents from me regarding the audit. I sent in all the documents they requested within the timeframe they said the documents needed to be received by. I paid Zip Tax a $500.00 deposit for them to review my case and determine if they would be able to assist me with my audit. They called me back and said they would, but it would cost an additional $1,000.00 . After working out a payment plan with Zip Tax, they agreed to take my case. On October 2, 2014, I called Zip Tax to receive an update on my case because at this point, I had not heard anything from them. I was informed that they needed $1,500 more dollars to do an amendment of taxes. I informed them that I wanted to wait until next week before I make a decision. On October 7, 2014 I called the IRS and was informed that Zip Tax did not represent me on my audit date (they did not show up or send my representation), nor have they returned any of their (IRS) calls. The tax auditor said Zip Tax was requesting to complete the audit via correspondence and she explained to them that because I lived in the state of Georgia, someone would have to attend the audit in person. The IRS agent said Zip Tax informed her that they would contact me and try to reschedule the audit date. I never received this correspondence/phone call requesting a change in the audit date and was not informed that the audit had been missed. After speaking with the IRS, I called Zip Tax and spoke with **** ******, who said she was the manager and there was no one else I could speak with. Mr. ****** said I had not retained them to represent me for my tax audit and I had not been their client for a few weeks at this point (despite the contract/agreement signed). Mr. ****** also said I would have to pay at least $6,000.00 for them to represent me during the audit and told me I needed to read my contract with them. After reviewing the contract (which I did initially, but reviewed it after our conversation). Mr. ****** also informed me that I would not receive a refund because they took time to complete “work done” on my case. When I requested the “work done” on my case, Mr. ****** said he would send me a summary detailing what they did and the time spend preparing the paperwork. He said because they have not been my representation for a couple of weeks now. I told him I was not informed of this and just last week, they requested additional monies from me. I asked Mr. ****** if the phone calls were recorded with his company, he said they are recorded. I requested him to go back and listen to the recorded phone calls between myself and the company. I also informed Mr. ****** I wanted to speak with the attorney I had hired. He said they were busy and could not speak with me, but he would call me back by the end of the day with a 10 minute session that would be convenient for their schedule. I agreed to this. Mr. ****** did not call me back at all on this day (October 7, 2014). Initially, Zip Tax agreed to represent me from beginning to end for my tax audit. Then after the audit date, they completely resented their decision to represent me, requested additional monies and failed to inform me that they missed my tax audit date. This is completely unethical. I am requesting that an investigation be completed on this company for false advertisement and a breach of contract. I have enclosed the documents and email correspondence exchanged between myself and Zip Tax for your convenience. I implore you to please look into this matter, so no one else is a victim of this company’s fraudulent practices.
Desired Settlement: I would like for Zip Tax to honor their written contract or advise customers that they are not able to assist with the matter. For my personal case, I would like a refund since failed to represent me (as outlined in my contract) or assist with my tax matters. I believe this business has a responsibility to conduct business on an ethical basis, upholding their end of the agreement that they present to customers.
Business Response: I have been speaking at great lengths with Ms ****** via phone and email in getting this issue resolved, and while I had anticipated we would come to a conclusion prior to the response deadline, I have not been able to reach her for the last several days so i will update you with our progress so far.
As the BBB knows, we utilize a 2 phase process that ensures we have accurate information directly from the IRS prior to having clients retain us for resolution work (phase 2). After completing the first phase of our process, it was determined that Ms ****** needed representation in her upcoming audit. This is the only service we bill hourly at $299/hr, as audits can differ greatly in the amount of time it takes to review and complete.
We offered an initial package to start her audit, which was 6 hours for $1000. Our lead attorney who handles our audit cases bills a timesheet for work completed, and when the billable hours nears completion, we inform the client where we stand, and if they wish to proceed with further representation, are required to purchase additional hours at that time. Although 6 hours of work was completed, Ms ****** felt the case should have been further along that it was at the time.
At this point she filed complaints, which is when I stepped in to resolve, as i had no idea there was even a problem. I followed up with her immediately after I received the complaint on 10/11
Ms ****** had an issue with an audit appointment that had passed without her knowledge. We accepted responsibility as this was a miscommunication error on our part, and after speaking with her, I explained that we could reset the hearing without a problem. I offered to reset the hearing and provide her with a full package she would need to defend herself at the audit at no cost to her. This would take approximately 10 additional hours, or roughly $3000. She said she would think about and call me first thing Monday morning.
I had not heard from her so I called her back Tuesday afternoon, She was busy and requested a call back.. After I reached her (Wednesday or Thursday), she explained that while she appreciated the offer, she did not want us to handle the audit work at this point. I explained that i wanted to come to a resolution and make her feel like she received satisfactory service.
I had offered to give her refund of $750, which although we completed the billable hours, I felt was reasonable to give Mr ****** the piece of mind in understanding ZipTax is here to do the right thing. We were in agreement and she was going to call me Monday 10/27 to get everything completed. I have sent her an email and left her a voicemail this week and have yet to hear back.
We have had several good conversations, and I am certain we will come to an amicable result. I certainly wish their was a process with the BBB that could inform me of a potential complaint prior to being posted all over the internet.
- ***** ********
Better Business Bureau:
I had to call my IRS agent and rescheduled an appointment for this audit. Zip Tax informed me that they do not have paperwork I need in response to the preparation (which is what I was told I was originally paying for). I am wiling for forfeit $500.00 because I was told that some time was spent on my case (although there is no proof of this). So at this time, I cannot accept a $750.00 refund against Zip Tax.
Business Response: I have reviewed Ms ******'s response and was shocked to see she went against our verbal agreement of a $750 refund that was already one-sided to her benefit. I have attached her activity report of work completed and it clearly shows all the uploaded documents our attorney reviewed and the corresponding memo that the attorney sent to Ms ****** to assist in her audit defense. We explained to Ms ****** that her billable hours had been fulfilled and if she would like to retain us for more hours, we would spend more time with the audit defense. She declined retaining us for additional hours, and instead claimed the hours she paid for should have covered the whole audit. That is clearly not how hourly audit defense works. Ms ****** has not been inconvenienced at all, she was able to reschedule her audit hearing in one phone call, which we offered to do but she insisted that we do not. Additionally, she now has an exact blueprint of what her Auditor wants, as detailed in the activity report, which she has acknowledged was received.
We completed the work and I have made numerous efforts to go over and above in resolving her complaint; she continues to ask for more refunds and at this point we are only wiling to refund our original offer amount of $500.
Better Business Bureau:
My initial audit with the Internal Revenue was scheduled for 9/24/2014. According to the timeline provided by Chris Shihadeh with Zip Tax, no calls or attempts were made to contact the Internal Revenue regarding my audit on the date of my audit. I called and inquired about the status of the audit on 9/25/2014 and was informed someone would follow up with me. I was not informed at this time that Zip Tax did not represent me for my tax audit, nor did they contact the Internal Revenue to inform them that they would not be able to attend/reschedule the audit.
I called the IRS on 10/11/2014, at which time I was informed by the Internal Revenue agent (Ms. Wang) that Zip Tax did not represent me on the date of my audit and the last time she spoke with them was on 9/16/2014 requesting a correspondence audit. Ms. Wang said she informed Zip Tax that representation for the audit would have to occur in person. The tax audit was scheduled for 9/24/2014, and Ms. Wang said she had not heard from them since 9/16/2014.
I called Zip Tax on 9/25/2014, at which time, I was not informed that they had missed the audit, instead, they said they would give me an update. When I called Zip Tax on 10/2/2014 and 10/8/2014, Zip Tax only requested additional money, but still had not informed me that they missed my audit date.
According to Zip Tax's time sheet, 2.9 hours were spent reviewing and summarizing information document request and related documents in preparation for drafting outline and memo to client. The outline they emailed me to request documentation was almost verbatim to the Internal Revenue document of requested information (which I attached for your review). I find it difficult to understand why it took 2.9 hours to draft this document since it is verbatim to the IRS letter.
It was unethical/unprofessional on Zip Tax's behalf to deceive me like they were working on preparing for my tax audit when that was not the case. Zip Tax requested that I send them documents requested by the Internal Revenue, they failed to organize/assemble a packet for the audit, instead Zip Tax said they are not responsible for organizing the documents. This is contradictory to their request for the documents. My contract clearly states that they would represent me for this tax audit ( Please note Section 2).
Due to their lack of professionalism and unethical practices, I had to reschedule the audit myself (after the original audit date) to avoid additional fees, penalties, and possible jail time. This has inconvenienced me because I have paid for services I did not receive and I am now responsible for preparing a packet to represent myself during the audit. I have attached a copy of the original date of the IRS audit date, which I also provided to Zip Tax. I am also attaching a copy of the outline of requested documents requested by the IRS for the audit. Therefore, I am requesting a $1,000.00 refund because they did not uphold their end of the contract.
Problems with Product/Service
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Complaint: I called Ziptax after hearing a Radio Ad. I told the salesperson what my problem was. I was congratulated and said I was approved for there help. It was going to cost me $995.00. Which I did not really have given my current tax problem. I was able to come up with it and paid them. Ok I thinking my tax problems may start to be part of the past. NO not it at all. A few days later I was called again telling me congratulations again. I have been accepted, once again. But this time it was going to cost me $15,000. I don't have anywhere near that kind of money. I told them this. There advise was to sell stuff, borrow, whatever I could do to get it. First of all I think I was lied to about the first $995.00. I would like my money back and I will sign what ever they want to keep me quite.
Desired Settlement: I want my $995.00 back that I didn't have in the first place.
Please allow me to explain how our process works. At Ziptax, LLC we utilize a 2-phase process that ensures we have accurate information directly from the Tax Agencies (IRS/State) prior to having clients retain us for tax negotiation work (phase 2). I like to use the analogy of an auto mechanic as it is very similar. When folks take their car to an auto mechanic because something is wrong, they have to get a diagnostic first. If the mechanic said “we need to replace the engine” before they even opened the hood, every person would respond “how do you know this if you don’t even know what the problem is.” We are essentially “going under the hood” to complete the diagnostic of their tax problem, so we can do a better job on the clients behalf and not speculate.
Mr. ****** contracted with ZipTax, LLC for the Phase 1 of our process (see the Investigative Agreement), which also includes a Do-It-Yourself Kit if the client decides not to proceed with our tax negotiation services (Phase 2). Mr ****** had an expected liability over $100,000, so our Phase 1 investigation fee $995.
At ZipTax we have several layers of compliance to ensure our clients fully understand our process on EVERY case. First, our intake department relays the process of Phase 1 and Phase 2, being closely monitored by a sales manager to make sure it is being explained properly. The intake representative reviews the process and terms thoroughly with the prospective client.
Then, after verbal agreement from the client, the case goes to Document Prep to prepare and review the necessary documentation, including powers of attorney and service agreements. On all Phase 1 cases, our Document Prep department reviews the phase 1 agreement very clearly, making sure every client understands the payment terms/fee. At this point, the Document Prep representative reiterates once again how this stage is strictly an investigation (diagnostic) into their tax liabilities. Additionally The client is explained again here that after Phase 1 is complete, we contact them with a comprehensive plan of action along with the additional proposal to fully resolve the liability, after we know what the true problem is. Mr. ****** agreed, now for the 2nd time with 2 separate representatives, that he understood and wished to proceed.
As such, Mr. ****** reviewed the agreement and terms with the rep and then executed the Agreement. The case was then submitted for approval. At this stage, before any payment was drafted, a representative from our Customer Service team conducted a Welcome Call to Mr. ****** within 24 hrs. Now, a 3rd representative from our office reviewed the entire terms and process, for which ****** agreed again to proceed.
From here, we then drafted client’s payment and the case was queued to our Negotiations team to begin our Phase 1 service.
On 10/15/14, one of our Tax Attorneys, K. *******, contacted the IRS to inform them of our representation. She also obtained detailed transcripts from the IRS of the clients’ situation. We found out the client’s liability was $251,929 with 2 tax years unfiled.
At this stage, our Senior Tax Attorney, J.******, along with Case Manager, S. *******, met to review the case details. They came up with a Plan of Action on how we can best proceed with our Phase 2 resolution services. It was determined that based on our client’s financial status we would be able to achieve an extremely favorable Offer In Compromise with a substantial reduction in total liability. This is the coveted tax relief program that all default taxpayers want to qualify for, and Mr ****** was a great candidate. However, this program is very complex and time consuming. Our legal staff determined that for a case of this complexity, the total retainer fee would be $15,000.
Our office then contacted Mr. ****** to provide an update and offer our proposed Plan of Action, for which he would need to retain us for the Phase 2 resolution services. At this point, ****** said he wanted to move forward but needed to review funds with his family. A few days later, he contacted us to inform us he would be unable to come up with funds for the Phase 2 retainer. We attempted to work with him and offered to extend him credit with our office with very reasonable payment terms. He rejected the offer to proceed with Phase 2. As such, the Do-it-yourself Kit was sent to Mr. ****** which concluded our services and representation.
Not once at this stage or anytime before, did he state he was unhappy with our office, any representative, or our process. He never mentioned he was confused or did not understand how the two phases work.
While I certainly wish Mr ****** was able to retain us and see how successful we could have been, I understand his financial decision as well. At this time, ZipTax has fulfilled its obligation and I am deeply disappointed that Mr ****** feels compelled to say he did not understand the two phases, when he made absolutely no inclination of misunderstanding at any point. We had 3 levels of “quality control” to ensure he understood before any payment was drafted. Only after which, we proceed to provide legal representation. We completed our services and provided the Kit, as agreed to in the executed contract.
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Complaint: I contacted Zip Tax from a radio advertisement, I was sold by a used car salesman type who promised me irs immunity during the process, and assured me that if I used their services I would still receive my 2013 tax returns and I could use these to pay for my services with ZipTax. I mentioned to him that my income would be increasing and that i would have sufficient tax returns in 2013 and 2014 to cover my liability, however he promised me that by using the ziptax services I would be able to keep one of those tax returns. I signed up with their service solely on this promise. As I began my process, I was told I would need to file 2013 prior to them beginning their offer in compromise on my behalf. This was conflicting with the information I was provided prior to agreeing to sign up with this firm. Once I became aware of this situation I questioned the promises made and began getting the run around. The sales man that I originally talked to, who told me he had been there for years and would be there through my process, all of a sudden was not an employee any longer. So it became my word against theirs. I was then informed that not only would I for fit my 2013 tax returns, but I also would be forfiting my 2014 tax returns as well. I found this very disturbing and requested to cancel my services due to misrepresentation and a misleading sales team. I feel they sold me a bill of goods they could not deliver on. A classic bait and switch. I requested a refund of my money and they counter offered with a 50% refund and sign a release of not holding them liable. I was mislead and know i needed to pay $450 because of it. I asked to speak with a manger, which took almost 1 month. Once speaking with a manager i was told there would be nothing else he could do. I feel consumers need to know about these malicious practices. I currently am out $900 dollars because i was sold a lie and the company would not stand by the word of their employees. I want my full refund of $900.
Desired Settlement: I would like a full refund of $900. I would be willing to sign a release at this point for a full refund of my $900. I should not have to pay for services that were misrepresented.
Mr. * states matters that are simply untrue. ZipTax has a very stringent hiring process and our employees are held to an extremely high standard of integrity. We have never employed any “used car salesman” as he describes, nor have we advised him that he would get a refund check while he is a default taxpayer to the IRS. In our agreement, signed on 11/6/2013, Mr. * retained our services for representation with the IRS for a total of retainer of $2,700. At ZipTax, we always make it clear, both verbally and in contract, there is no guarantee as to the outcome of each case. Mr. * claims that promises were made that he would receive a check from the IRS, while he in fact OWES the IRS, is just incorrect. After we had already completed the first Phase of IRS work, Mr. * said he would like to cancel service as he thought he was mislead. He stated that we should “roll out the red carpet for him” and simply do whatever he says. In a heavily regulated industry with significant licenses at stake, we have strict protocol and cannot make up our own rules as client wishes. While speaking with our customer service manager, we offered to VOID his last FOUR payments, which would put his total retainer to $900. At this point, we had already done enough work to justify the $900, but we believe in truly helping our clients and felt this was the right thing to do. Mr. * initially turned down this offer and then began going back and forth on whether this would be acceptable to him. Finally, he came to the conclusion that he wanted the full $900 refunded and after reviewing his case, it was determined that we did over $1000 in billable work. Despite work completed, we decided to then offer him a 50% refund of $450 because we believe in maintaining a positive reputation and stand by our work. Mr. * proceeded with verbal threats that he would stop at nothing to slander our company’s reputation that we have spent years to build. Despite our many efforts to appease Mr. K, he declined any reasonable solution. We did abide by our contract and stand by the efforts of ZipTax.
Better Business Bureau:
Please see the email below of the offers I was given.
The BBB has required that we remove names that could represent such individual, so out of respect for his wishes to not be abbreviated, he will now be referred to as "client." In Option 2 presented to client, it stated ‘No refund, and we set you up on an Installment Agreement with IRS, satisfying your balance paid to us.’ This includes VOIDING his remaining four payments to us as courtesy to client, although he legally owes the retainer balance in fault, as stated in our Client Service Agreement. Any alleged ‘misrepresentation’ that client states is simply a matter of his own misunderstanding.
Typically, the services described in option 2 would run $1,500, so we had attempted to give client benefit of the doubt on the notion that he “felt misrepresented” and give him discounted service. ZipTax, nor its employees misrepresented any statements. The case manager spoke with client and explained the entire process of how IRS resolution works. At no time did she say client was not a good candidate for the Offer in Compromise; we have told him he is an excellent candidate for this program. However, client stated he wanted a refund from the IRS. The case manager explained that he would not get a refund because he OWES the IRS, and they do not give money to people that owe them. This is not a “decision” made by ZipTax to decline client his tax refund, it is just part of the IRS rules. Client even thanked the case manager for her honesty and told her that he needed a couple days because he was thinking about continuing in the settlement route (Offer In Compromise). Case Manager then sent him a list of options as previously stated.
ZipTax resolves tax debt and puts clients in a better situation than when they first retain us. Client was not interested in resolving his past due tax debt, he just feels he is entitled to tax refunds before resolving previous debts. We do not lie to our clients even if the truth is not what they want to hear. We have fully abided by our contract and have gone over and above in trying to appease this client.
Better Business Bureau:
"While speaking with our customer service manager, we offered to VOID his last FOUR payments, which would put his total retainer to $900. At this point, we had already done enough work to justify the $900, but we believe in truly helping our clients and felt this was the right thing to do."
Here again is another example of what ziptax has done to me.... in the intial response they state that they offered me to reduce my retainer to $900 .... and move forward. This is a great resolution and I would have accepted it. but in the options they gave me it was reducing my retainer to $900 for a whole different program than what i signed up for. I am willing to move forward with the offer in compromise for $900....I am not willing to take a discount in services. I contacted you for the offer in compromise. I have already been into my local IRS office and have all the information i need to get into an installment plan. I would not need ZIPTAX services for this.
I would have accepted this offer. if this offer had been presented to me.
However, in the options I was presented, this also included a reduction of services. I am not ok with a reduction of services. I was sold one thing and given another. My outrage is because i was mislead from the start and now given an option which doesnt allow me to be removed from this situation without damages, or with out having to pay for services i do not need . I signed up for an offer in compromise , i was told I would be able to file my taxes under their protective blanket and use my current tax returns to pay for the program. This was not the case. After signing up and speaking with a representative from ZIPTAX, i was told i would be loosing not only this years tax return, but also the following years tax return as well. This is what caused my outrage.
I am what i would consider an educated person, Having done my background research and having a solid understanding of the tax laws, i knew enough to know i needed help. I reached out to ZIP TAX for that help. I was misinformed and mislead , once i was under contract, i was transferred to a different representative and that is when i found out i was sold false hope. I do understand i need to pay my tax debt, why else would i contact zip tax?
I dont appreciate the condescending attitude of the responses. I do not expect anything more or less than what i was promised at the point of sale. If this can not be done I would like to continue with my offer in compromise through zip tax at the $900 option.
But just so I am clear.... Please give me my options again.... so i can clearly understand them.
I thanked the case manager because it was not her fault this situation occurred. It was just her job to have to deal with the aftermath.
I would like to either continue with the offer in compromise at the outlined $900 with the last 4 payments waived or I would like a full refund.
In my understanding, if you waive the last 4 payments that brings us to the $2500 which is the cost for the offer in compromise. I do not understand how you could waive my last four payments and place me into a different program. This would not be considered waiving the last 4 payments. It would be considered changing my program and waiving 2 payments and giving me a service i do not need.
Please clarify this if I am incorrect? Or if I misunderstood something.......
Business Response: We understand dealing with a tax problem is a very serious issue and ZipTax holds itself and our employees to the highest standard of integrity. That said, ***** has unjustly stated that he was misrepresented by a used car salesman. First, we have no used car salesman, or ex-used car salesman that have ever worked here. Secondly, it clearly states in our contract everything that we do. In addition, everything is reiterated for a third time by our customer service representatives to ensure our clients have a a realistic expectation of how their case will progress. So for ***** to say he was misrepresented is simply untrue and given the present situation, appears to be a means to get free service. He was going back and forth deciding if he wanted to proceed, and then asked for a full refund after we had already begun a significant amount of work. Despite doing over $900 of billable work, we had decided to offer ***** a partial refund (among other options) because we understand the importance of keeping a good reputation with various agencies. ***** proceeded with an ultimatum saying if we do not pay him $900, he will attempt to ruin our company. After receiving his verbal threats, we still were willing to put this aside if we could agree to his partial refund. Instead he decided to "copy and paste" the same issue outlining what he perceived to be misrepresentation on various websites to tarnish our good name.
***** states that he was told he can file his taxes under the protective blanket of ZipTax, and this is absolutely correct! This, however, does not mean he will get refunds from the IRS. This is common knowledge among most of our clients and typically our representatives do not go into detail discussing the fact that when you owe money to the IRS, you shouldn't expect to receive check from them until your balance is satisfied. Unlke *****, most of our clients have absolutely no understanding of tax laws, and fully realize this fact. The protective blanket' he is referring to is what we instate to prevent collection activities such as wage garnishments, bank levies, asset seizures, etc.
In response to his questions regarding the options we offered, unfortunately he misunderstood. The options we made available back in January were:
1) 50% refund ($450) - no further work
2) Void remaining payments, set up installment agreement
3) continue established payplan and have ZipTax complete a full resolution.
At no point did we say we were going to void all payments and do an Offer In Compromise for $900. This was made clear throughout the process. Furthermore, we cannot in good conscience offer a refund at this point given he has caused irreparable damage to our reputation by smearing untrue comments all over the internet.
|12/13/2013||Problems with Product/Service|