If you have unpaid tax bills, you may notice new advertisements promising to help you “settle your tax debt,” or “avoid tax liens and levies.”
The Department of Consumer Protection is issuing a consumer warning today about numerous companies that are making dubious claims, and is advising residents to steer clear of these businesses.
“The Department is investigating several debt relief companies for deceptive and fraudulent practices, because we are concerned about their promises and their operations,” Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan A. Harris said. “Their ads are misleading and consumers in
other states have had problems getting the companies to live up to their claims.”
One ad currently running in area newspapers and that is being investigated by the Department asks, “Do you OWE more than $10,000 in IRS DEBT?” A toll-free number is provided and consumers are informed that the company may help:
Settle your Tax Debt
Avoid Tax Liens & Levies
Stop Wage Garnishments
Additional claims in the advertisement indicate that the company is “Licensed in All 50 States” and offers “100% Legal Protection” with a 30-day money back guarantee.
Such promises are not possible to live up to, the Department says. Debt advisors have no power to order the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to settle any tax debt, and it is highly unlikely that any dispute with the IRS would be resolved in 30 days. Additionally, using the word “may” in making its claims gives the company broad permission to do less than promised, Commissioner Harris said.
“We don’t find this company holding any kind of license in Connecticut,” Harris said.
The agency suggests that anyone seeking debt relief work with a registered and licensed Connecticut attorney or accountant, and not with companies who provide only a toll-free number, email address or website as a contact point.
The Department of Consumer Protection works to ensure a fair marketplace for all Connecticut consumers through regulation and monitoring, enforcing the law, and educating and empowering consumers.
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