First official meeting of the National Association of Tax Debt Resolution Companies prioritizes regulation of companies using deceptive advertising.
Encino, CA, May 01, 2012 -- On the slate of issues to be discussed at the first official meeting of the National Association of Tax Debt Resolution Companies (NATDRC) in Washington D.C., May 20-21, is the regulation of companies utilizing deceptive advertising claims and misleading trade practices that solicit unsuspecting consumers (by advertising on the internet, radio, and TV) who believe that they are hiring an attorney, CPA, or Enrolled Agent to represent them before the IRS/State. Nothing can be further from the truth.
A lead aggregator is defined as a company that aggregates, or brings together, a variety of tax debt problem resolution firms looking to “buy” leads and affiliates looking to produce leads. The aggregator provides marketing and technology resources that the individual participants do not have the resources to afford individually, and brings these different parties together in a way that they could not without an intermediary. The problem with this model is that it promotes deceptive advertising and business practices.
Due to the bursting of this country’s financial “bubble,” in 2008, thousands of so-called credit card debt settlement companies sprung up virtually overnight, luring consumers in and promising to settle their (credit card) debts for “pennies on the dollar.” Many of these so-called companies (which were really lead aggregators/generators) simply sold consumers’ private, confidential, personal information to their affiliates, behind the consumers’ backs, to others who would attempt a settlement/resolution. Many of these affiliates, and the aggregators, simply took the money and ran. These unscrupulous operators lured clients in via large national advertising campaigns on the internet, radio and TV. These ads were deceptive and, at best, misleading.
Due to the hundreds of thousands of consumer complaints, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) amended the Telemarketing Sales Rule in August 2010, essentially making it illegal for these firms to accept up-front payments from consumers and prohibiting them from collecting a “fee” until a final, successful completion was reached with the consumers’ credit card companies. This was a much needed “death knell” that put over 80 percent of these unscrupulous companies out of business.
These companies, not to be undone by the FTC, thought it would be an easy “cross-over” into the tax debt relief industry as the targeted end consumer essentially has the same profile and demographic as the credit card debtor. Additionally, instead of doing their own marketing and controlling critical intake criteria, many unscrupulous tax debt relief firms relied on others to get them leads/prospects. Since these lead aggregators are unregulated (unlike CPAs, attorneys, or Enrolled Agents), they often can get away with making outrageous claims in order to solicit consumers who in reality do not qualify for tax relief in the first place.
Most tax debt lead aggregators’ marketing and advertising is deceptive and misleading. Generally, they don’t tell consumers that they will be “referred” or “matched” to one of their affiliate companies. These aggregators do not do the actual case work; the cases are “farmed out.” Generally, once you give them your personal information your relationship with them ends.
In the unsecured debt (credit card, medical, etc.) settlement industry anyone can proclaim expertise as long as they have a phone and a persuasive voice. There are no experience, education, licensure or registration requirements. This “work” can be done without having graduated high school, and these firms are now trolling for unsuspecting consumers in the tax problem resolution industry. Scary.
To be lawful and credible, tax problem resolution firms must employ the only three types of individuals in the world who are allowed to represent clients before the IRS. You either must be a CPA, an attorney, or an Enrolled Agent in good standing with your respective licensing/governing body.
Hundreds of these former disreputable firms are now holding themselves out as “experts” in the tax debt resolution arena. They don’t do the work, instead farming it out, for a handsome fee, to others who will. This and the much publicized demise of the other large nationally marketed firms such as Roni Lynn Deutch (“the Tax Lady”), J. K. Harris, and TaxMasters have given the credible tax problem resolution firms a huge black eye.
That’s why the National Association of Tax Debt Resolution Companies (NATDRC) is aggressively promoting federal and state legislation to make it illegal for tax debt resolution firms to affiliate and join up with a lead aggregator. It would also prohibit lead aggregators themselves to solicit/market to both tax problem resolution practitioners and the end-consumer.
Anyone or any firm offering services concerning tax problem resolution must be the responsible and qualified person to do so. This includes being able to place their own name(s) on IRS Form 2848, Power of Attorney. Only a CPA, attorney, or Enrolled Agent can sign this and be authorized as the taxpayer’s representative.
Please join us (taxproblemresolutionservicescoalition.com) May 20-21, in Washington, D.C., to register your voice in helping to eliminate these fraudsters from our industry.
Michael Rozbruch welcomes those who owe $20,000 or more to the IRS, have unfiled tax returns or are under audit to contact Tax Resolution Services via phone at 866-477-7762 or online at www.taxresolution.com for a free no obligation consultation.
Tax Resolution Services, Co., is dedicated to providing affordable solutions to businesses and individuals alike who find themselves in trouble with the IRS. Their tax attorneys, CPAs, and tax relief professionals have successfully resolved thousands of cases since 1998 and are committed to making sure our clients' experiences exceed their expectations. For more information or to receive a FREE tax relief consultation, visit www.TaxResolution.com or call 888-851-5894.
The Tax Problem Resolution Services Coalition (TPRSC) represents the efforts of a broad spectrum of the industry located throughout the United States. Its mission is to promote and ensure the protection of taxpayers from unfair and deceptive advertising claims by unscrupulous delinquent tax debt representation providers. The coalition welcomes additional members that support this mission. The coalition's work will be reported through its new web page at taxproblemresolutionservicescoalition.com and through its newsletter.
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