F.T.C. Accuses Tax Relief Company of Empty Promises Who wouldn???‚¬?„?t like to settle with the Internal Revenue Service for pennies on the dollar? In recent years, some 20,000 people have turned to American Tax Relief of Beverly Hills, Calif., to do just that after seeing the company???‚¬?„?s advertisements on television, the Internet or in print, where actors portraying clients say the company reduced their back taxes to say, $2,000 from $24,000 or $40,000 from $200,000. But the Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday that despite collecting $60 million to $100 million in upfront fees from often-desperate clients in recent years, American Tax Relief rarely, if ever, delivered on its promises. It did, however, according to the F.T.C., deliver $30 million in customers???‚¬?„? funds to the accounts of the company???‚¬?„?s owners or their relatives- money that was spent on a $3.4 million house in Beverly Hills; a garage full of cars, including a Ferrari, a Rolls Royce, a Bentley, two Porsches and two Mercedes-Benzes; and other luxuries. ???‚¬?“Everyone has seen these commercials and wondered, ???‚¬??Can I really get away with paying the I.R.S. only a fraction of what I owe?,???‚¬?„? ???‚¬?? C. Steven Baker, the director of the F.T.C.???‚¬?„?s Midwest Regional office, said in an interview. ???‚¬?“The short answer is no.???‚¬?? Of the 20,000 clients that the F.T.C. says it believes that American Tax Relief signed up, ???‚¬?“we have not been able to find a single one???‚¬?? that the company helped to reduce a tax burden, said David Vladek, the chief of the commission???‚¬?„?s division of consumer protection. While the I.R.S. does have programs of the type pitched by American Tax Relief - an ???‚¬?“offer in compromise???‚¬?? settlement and a ???‚¬?“penalty abatement???‚¬?? - the government is likely to accept less than it is owed only if the taxpayer makes an offer that is equal to or greater than the taxpayer???‚¬?„?s ability to pay, including the value of all of the taxpayer???‚¬?„?s property, cars, bank accounts and other assets. An I.R.S. Web site specifically cautions: ???‚¬?“Taxpayers should beware of promoters???‚¬?„? claims that tax debts can be settled through the offer in compromise program for ???‚¬??pennies on the dollar.???‚¬?„? ???‚¬?? Most of the clients who received any service from American Tax Relief were eligible for no I.R.S. program other than an installment agreement, which usually requires the full amount of the debt to be paid over time. Installment agreements are easily arranged by individual taxpayers and rarely require expert assistance. Mr. Vladek said that while the F.T.C. and other agencies determined that American Tax Relief took in about $60 million between January 2004 and October 2008, its continued business since then has probably pushed the total to more than $100 million. See complete article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/07/business/07relief.html?_r=1&ref=business One way to pay any back taxes that may actually be owed, is to just make more money with a home business. Clearly paying one of those groups or organizations to save on taxes is not the wise of ways to counter your financial burdens on that subject matter.