Rochester, N.Y. – The letter on pink paper came in an official-looking envelope referencing “U.S. Code” and a picture of an eagle. It informed Pat Mannix that her husband has a $30,000 tax lien that’s under “investigation.”
“What alarmed me is it stated we had a $30,000 tax lien,” Mannix said.
The letter said by calling a toll-free number, the Mannix may be eligible for a special program and the amount of money owed may be reduced. The fine print at the bottom of the letter discloses the letter is not from the Internal Revenue Service, but a California company called Ideal Tax Solution.
“I think they want me to call their number and they want convince me that I need them,” Mannix said. “Maybe they want my credit information. Maybe they want more information about me.”
The Better Business Bureau has gotten complaints about the letter. The BBB hasn’t determined if Ideal Tax Solution is a legitimate business or what it’s selling. But the marketing materials are suspicious.
“Investigation status, pending verification, tax liens, $30,000, that’s not right,” said Pat Coakley of the BBB she read the letter. “We would warn (recipients) not to be scared, not to immediately agree to something with this company. If it’s an outright falsehood, we want folks to file a complaint.”
A woman who identified herself as a receptionist at Ideal Tax Solution said she would answer our questions when we called. Kaleigh Fisher said it’s a legitimate business with tax attorneys who resolve back taxes. She said letters went out in error.
“We have a printing error here. We are aware of it,” she said. “We are apologizing if we’re scaring people. Our intention is to offer service. We are very sorry.”
Coakley said people can call the IRS to find out if they have tax liens. She recommended dealing with a local accountant. Coakley said if you do call Ideal Tax, make sure you need the service and don’t readily give out personal information.
“I’m certainly not going to call the number,” Mannix said. “I know we don’t have any tax liens.”