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TaxMasters to Stand by Telemarketing Sales Rule

November 12, 2010
By Anil Sharma - Telemarketing Software Contributor

TaxMasters, Inc., the IRS tax representation company and a provider of tax compliance and repayment services, said that it will stand by its new, consumer-oriented business model, regardless of the Federal Trade Commission's decision to suspend full enforcement of the new Telemarketing Sales Rule.

In a statement issued the day the new Telemarketing Sales Rule went into full effect, the FTC (News - Alert) said that while most companies that sell debt relief services over the telephone are now prohibited from charging fees before reducing a consumer's unsecured debt, it does not plan to enforce the rule for tax debt resolution firms.

The FTC issued this statement to clarify the new rule in spite of the fact that it had consistently repeated that the new Telemarketing Sales Rule applies to "unsecured debts." Many in the tax debt relief industry mistakenly assumed the new FTC rule would apply to IRS tax debts.

"What we are seeing now is some of the unethical debt settlement firms switching gears to offer tax debt relief, even though they have none of the skills, certifications or experience they need to perform the necessary tax services," said Alex Clamon, vice president of sales for TaxMasters, in a statement.

Clamon said that consumers need to make sure whoever they hire for tax help stresses compliance first and repayment second.

“Anyone who tells you they can settle your tax debt without knowing you are in compliance and you have filed all tax returns might as well be offering you ocean-front property in Amarillo," he added.

While the FTC has suspended enforcement of the Telemarketing Sales Rule for companies offering secured tax debt relief services, tax practitioners still fall under the jurisdiction of the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS continues to step up its efforts to more closely certify and monitor tax preparers and enrolled agents.

"Our new business model offers our clients the same consumer protections for settling their tax debt that the FTC is demanding in the world of unsecured debt," said Clamon.

"We think it's just the right thing to do. We're surprised more tax representation firms didn't follow suit on adopting a set of best practices that support consumer protections. For years, we have invited people to contact us for assistance with tax problems like unfiled tax returns, audits, and wage garnishments,” he said.

“We simply do not offer tax settlements without knowing some facts first, and have adopted that rule as a way of doing business," said Clamon.

Anil Sharma is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Juliana Kenny