How many times have you seen TV spots proclaiming that Roni Deutch, a/k/a as the “Tax Lady” can intervene on your behalf with the IRS and make your tax problems a thing of the past? Touting the, currently uncollectible, injured spouse, installment agreement (IA) or that infamous Offer In Compromise (OIC) status, the client envisioned their tax liability disappearing into thin air. Didn’t happen – or at least not very often.
A news release distributed upon filing of the lawsuit in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Sacramento, contained the following quote from AG Edmund G, Brown, Jr. “Tax Lady Roni Deutch is engaged in a heartless scheme that swindled people with tax problems. She promises to significantly reduce their IRS tax debts, but instead preys on their vulnerability, taking large up-front payments but providing little or no help in lowering their tax bills.”
Brown’s lawsuit states thousands of consumers in California and around the country have fallen victim to Deutch’s unlawful scam, losing millions of dollars that could have been used to pay their IRS debts. He further stated that Deutch operates a deceptive tax resolution scheme that employs “a bevy of false promises and misrepresentations”. The news release further stated that Deutch’s firm has annual revenues of over $25 million, and spends over $3 million annually on TV advertising.
This is not Deutch’s first legal challenge. She settled a lawsuit with New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs in December 2006 that alleged her advertising misled consumers. The settlement was for $300,000 – $100,000 in fines and $200,000 to the consumers she was accused of misleading.
Brown’s case seeks civil damages in addition to the $34 million requested for the hundreds of consumers who have filed complaints stating they were defrauded.
Personal Opinion: If you seek representation to resolve or respond to a tax debt problem, be very wary of requests for large up-front payments, 20, 30, or 40 page documents to be completed by you, and very short times to provide information. You are probably going to be “taken” – money paid and no results.