• Report: #406195
Complaint Review:

Taxmasters; Aka TMIRS Enterprises; Aka Patrick Cox; Aka Cox And Associates

  • Submitted: Tue, December 30, 2008
  • Updated: Fri, May 13, 2011

  • Reported By:San Diego California
Taxmasters; Aka TMIRS Enterprises; Aka Patrick Cox; Aka Cox And Associates
900 Town & Country Ln. Suite 400 Houston, Texas U.S.A.

Taxmasters; Aka TMIRS Enterprises; Aka Patrick Cox; Aka Cox And Associates Buyer Beware! Taxmasters of Houston. How to beat the scam Houston Texas

*Author of original report: Taxmasters Tried To Seize Taxmasters.com URL. Claimed "bad faith". DENIED!!!

*Author of original report: State of Texas Lawsuit Documents

*Author of original report: Florida Investigates TaxMasters Malfeasance

*Author of original report: Minnesota Atty General Files Lawsuit Against Fat Cox and Company

*Author of original report: Update: TX State Atty General Files Charges Against Taxmapsters!!

*Consumer Comment: Thank you for the advice!



*Author of original report: TAXMASTERS; TMIRS Enterprises; PATRICK COX; Houston Texas

*Author of original report: TaxMasters Misleading Advertising

*Author of original report: Aftermath: They don't go quietly into the night

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I hired Taxmasters to help deal with a minor tax issue. During the initial consult, they told me one thing. After taking my money (it was A LARGE sum of money, many thousands of dollars), their story changed completely. When confronted about the changes, Taxmasters associates began to lie. The first obvious lie came a couple days after the initial phone consult. I found out later that I was lied to during my initial phone consultation as well.

After the first couple lies, I realized that I had been victimized by what is commonly known as the old "bait and switch", wherein you are told one thing to get you to part with your money, and then you are told something else once they have your money. I terminated the contract within days of the initial phone consult, which set into motion many weeks of ordeal, in which Taxmasters fabricated outrageous, defamatory lies about me, in attempts to keep my money, amongst other tactics.

During my ordeal, here are a few things I have noted:
- Taxmasters associates APPEAR to operate from a script; a process designed to ensure that, no matter what, Taxmasters prevails. Examples: Taxmasters might make every attempt to get your payment BEFORE giving you a contract for review. Next, they might only speak in general terms, avoiding specifics of your finances during the initial phone consult, and later might claim that you withheld information from them; information which they did not ask for. Next, Taxmasters appears to have an orchestrated "third-party review" process (which does not appear to me to be a REAL third-party, meaning a non-Taxmasters employee) to verify your INTENT to pay, which they then later use against you, should you attempt dispute the charges. There are many more indicators I could list, which appear to support the theory that Taxmasters associates operate in a scripted, coordinated, and/or orchestrated fashion.

- Taxmasters associates seem to prefer to do business via telephone, where there are NO RECORDS of what is said. Taxmasters might then attempt to use this AGAINST you, should you end up in a dispute. Shortly after I had terminated phone call access, Taxmasters became unresponsive to direct emails sent to them. Why? Because emails generate a paper-trail; evidence which could be used against Taxmasters in any dispute.

- Taxmasters contract contains many clauses which favor ONLY Taxmasters. One example, there is an "abuse" clause which allows Taxmasters to terminate the contract and keep the funds, should Taxmasters decide to utilize it. Taxmasters COULD claim that you were abusive in a phone call, which of course is subjective because the call is not recorded, and abuse could be quantified as just about ANYTHING, including things which may not have even transpired, since phone calls are not recorded; another good reason to cease telephone contact immediately and insist all communications be in writing.

- Demagoguery is truly the "last bastion of a scoundrel". People who resort to this type of rhetoric generally do so because they are on the wrong side on an argument. Taxmasters appears to utilize demagoguery, to distract from the REAL ISSUES at hand. If Taxmasters can create a "straw man", an argument about your character or some other such nonsense which has no basis in fact but is highly prejudicial, they can at best case hope to prejudice objective mediators and others who might take interest in a case, and in worst case, distract them. That is, after all, the purpose of demagoguery.

- Taxmasters, over a period of years, has developed quite a history, which explains itself and needs no characterization from me. Go the the BBB website (google "BBB"), and research Taxmasters of Houston. I suggest you review the RATING and rating justification in detail, currently listed as "unsatisfactory". In addition, review the "detailed view" of the Consumer Complaint History", which will show you statistics for the last 3 years. Pay particular attention to the last 12 months, and the differences between the last 12 months, and the 24 months that preceded them. Also, compare the BBB rating justification to the posts contained here on ripoffreportdotcom. You might see striking similarities. Use all of this data in any dispute you might have with Taxmasters. More data can be found through a "google" search on Taxmasters, and the names of the prinicpals, Patrick Cox, Alex Clamon and Fred Hackett. An amusing side note, the Taxmasters website has a "D&B Listed" logo on it; an official looking bit of fluff. Why is this there? What does it have to do with Taxmasters representing clients to the IRS? With the quality of Taxmasters as a service business? Nothing. "Dun and Bradstreet" ratings are FINANCIAL ratings (like for investors), not quality of service ratings as issued by the BBB. Yet, it DOES look official on their website, doesn't it? D&B... BBB... see any similarities? I guess with 143 BBB complaints in the last 12 months at last count, it wouldn't pay to have a BBB link on the Taxmasters site, now would it? Taxmasters is not a BBB Accredited Business, according to the BBB website.

In the end, I prevailed. I had all of my funds returned to me (not by Taxmasters, who in their last communication still maintained a right to it).

Based on my own personal knowledge, from dealing with Taxmasters, I would not recommend Taxmasters to my worst enemy. If you are considering whether to hire Taxmasters, I suggest you give great weight to the BBB report, and to the reports of consumers here at ripoffreport. Also, I suggest you contact the Harris County District Attorney's Office, and speak to someone in their Consumer Fraud division, to get more knowledge. Knowledge IS power.

If you already find yourself in a dispute with Taxmasters, while I cannot resolve your issue for you, here are a few friendly words (not to be taken as legal advice; consult an attorney for that):
- You might want to cut off ALL telephone communications IMMEDIATELY with Taxmasters. Written communications forces honesty, and documents lies. If you wish to cut off telehone communications, do this in writing. Send copies of the notification via email, certified mail AND fax, to ensure delivery (save delivery confirmations on file). Insist that all future communications be in writing. This will force Taxmasters to take positions, and to make statements which YOU can then use against THEM.

- Start a journal. Document each and every event (no matter how insignificant it might seem at the time) related remotely to your dispute, by date and time. Your journal can be used as evidence. Use it faithfully.

- Open a file, and keep every scrap of paper you write or receive. Also, keep copies of whatever you find on the internet. Use all of this data as references in your dispute, and make copies to send to all the different agencies (your bank, the BBB, etc.). When you receive an email, letter or other document, annotate it with the date and time received before filing it. SAVE THE ENVELOPES! They have datestamps on them. Compare the datestamps on the envelopes you receive, to the letters inside of the envelopes, to see if letters have been pre-dated in efforts to make it appear as if they were written long ago. When you respond to communications, place a copy of your response, annotated with the date, time, and method(s) sent, into your file.

- Time is critical. Do not delay in filing your disputes. Delays can and probably will be portrayed as YOUR FAULT; evidence that you approved of the direction and work of Taxmasters. Once you have reviewed your options in detail, decide which direction to go, and go there full speed ahead.

- Be VERY CLEAR in your demands. Ambiguity will probably be used against you. If you wish Taxmasters to cease doing something, be specific and tell them to cease and desist.

- Power of Attorney MUST be revoked in writing, should you desire to limit Taxmasters ability to continue working on your case, in contravention of your stated demands to not work. If you have previously granted them Power of Attorney, and if you wish them to stop working on your case as a result of your dispute, send them a notice revoking their Power of Attorney effective immediately, and send it via email, registered mail and fax keeping confirmations from all on file (send ALL documents or communications to Taxmasters in this manner).

- File complaints with each and every agency that you can file with. Send them a full written statement, and copies of all of your collected documents on file, and reference these documents in your statement, if you are able to. Maybe write up one detailed statement with all the attachments, that you can send to each agency that you file a complaint with. Tell the whole story, from start to end. Be accurate. Be detailed. Be truthful. Be complete. Explain in detail how this has affected you personally. If you paid by credit card, file a complaint with your bank (dispute the charge). It is important to file with your bank QUICKLY. File complaints with the Harris County District Attorney and the Texas State Attorney General (contact information can be found online, and even some of the forms). File a BBB complaint online, or via phone if need be. Online is better. File a complaint at ripoffreportdotcom, to help other consumers who might have comparable issues. Try the US Attonrey General's office as well, since Taxmasters IS conducting their business across state lines. Also, if you are doing business with Taxmasters through the US Mail, you can also file complaints with the US Postal Service Postmaster General.

- Be professional in ALL communications. Sarcasm is okay at times, and does serve to make points occasionally. Don't get angry however, and make statements which might hurt you later.

- Carbon-copy (cc:) all of your responses to Taxmasters to every agency that you have filed complaints with, by listing them next to "cc:" at the bottom of your email or letter. Let these people know that you are forwarding all of this to the appropriate agencies. Periodically or as need requires, send out the copies to the agencies.

- Don't give up the fight. SOME companies make their money off of quantity versus quality. The more people who get discouraged and quit, the more profit is realized. SOME businesses understand this, and take this into account in their business plan; they expect to lose a few accounts, and are willing to do so in order to win in the cases that people just give up fighting. If you give up, they immediately profit. In other words, SOME companies will do no work, yet keep the money paid. It is pure profit, since they do not have to pay labor or overhead to deal with your case.

San Diego, California

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/30/2008 10:51 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/taxmasters-aka-tmirs-enterprises-aka-patrick-cox-aka-cox-and-associates/houston-texas-77024/taxmasters-aka-tmirs-enterprises-aka-patrick-cox-aka-cox-and-associates-buyer-beware-t-406195. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Author of original report

Taxmasters Tried To Seize Taxmasters.com URL. Claimed "bad faith". DENIED!!!

AUTHOR: Freedomfighter - (USA)

I meant to post this a few years ago but I forgot about it. The stuff posted below is from an arbitration hearing in which Taxmasters (Fat Cox and company represented by Alex Clamon) sought to take the URL "taxmasters.com" from the gentleman who owned and used the name in his business for TWELVE YEARS... six of those years occurred before Taxmasters of Houston (Fat Cox and company) even existed!! I say again... this poor guy had this url and used the url for his business for six years before Taxmasters was even an evil thought in the fat man's empty noggin. The owner of the URL continued to use the name for ANOTHER 6 years (12 total) before the fat man and his evil minions set their sights on it. Twelve years of ownership and usage. What was the fat man's justification for dragging this poor small business owner into arbitration over the owndership rights to the URL that had been owned and used for 12 years? What was the main argument from Fat Cox and company? Their main argument was that they (Fat Cox and company) had spent much money advertising for Taxmasters. Millions of dollars. Coast to coast advertising. So, this should entitle them to seize the URL?? No. I am not joking. Read it. See it for yourself.

Hmmm. What do you call a person (company) that simply seeks to take something that doesn't belong to them? Is there any difference between a person/company who outright tries to claim ownership of something they have never owned, and a person/company that pulls "bait and switch" and other such tactics in order to take money that they haven't earned? NO. Not in my book. Now.. what was it that you call a person/company who takes what they haven't earned? Who attempts to take what they have never owned? The word escapes me right now. WHAT IS IT???

Enjoy the read.

Found at:
http://www.udrp.com/Cases/ (Search for taxmasters)

Case Details for 1217398 Case Number 1217398 Domain('s) taxmasters.com
Complainant TMIRS Enterprises, LTD D/B/A TaxMasters
Respondent Rhodes & Company
Decision Date 9/29/2008 Decision Claim Denied (View Decision)

National Arbitration Forum
TMIRS Enterprises, LTD d/b/a TaxMasters v. Rhodes & Company
Claim Number: FA0807001217398
Complainant is TMIRS Enterprises LTD d/b/a TaxMasters (Complainant), represented by Alex Clamon, Texas, USA. Respondent is Rhodes & Company (Respondent), represented by John Rhodes, Pennsylvania, USA.
The domain name at issue is <taxmasters.com>, registered with Network Solutions, Inc.
The undersigned certifies that he has acted independently and impartially and, to the best of his knowledge, has no known conflict in serving as Panelist in this proceeding.
The Honorable Charles K. McCotter, Jr. (Ret.) as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on July 25, 2008; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on July 29, 2008.
On July 25, 2008, Network Solutions, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <taxmasters.com> domain name is registered with Network Solutions, Inc. and that the Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Network Solutions, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the Network Solutions, Inc. registration agreement and has thereby agreed to resolve domain-name disputes brought by third parties in accordance with ICANNs Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the Policy).
On August 12, 2008, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the Commencement Notification), setting a deadline of September 2, 2008 by which Respondent could file a Response to the Complaint, was transmitted to Respondent via e-mail, post and fax, to all entities and persons listed on Respondents registration as technical, administrative and billing contacts, and to postmaster@taxmasters.com by e-mail.
A timely Response was received and determined to be complete on September 2, 2008.
An Additional Submission was received from Complainant on September 4, 2008 and determined to be timely and complete pursuant to Supplemental Rule 7.
An Additional Submission was received from Respondent on September 9, 2008 and determined to be timely and complete pursuant to Supplemental Rule 7.
On September 15, 2008, pursuant to Complainants request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed the Honorable Charles K. McCotter, Jr. (Ret.) as Panelist.
Complainant requests that the domain name be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.

A. Complainant
Complainant, TMIRS Enterprises, LTD D/B/A Taxmasters, contends that it has been offering tax resolution services under the TAXMASTERS mark since 2003. The disputed domain name <taxmasters.com> should be considered as having been registered to Complainant because it is the Complainants name. Complainant says that it has been using the TAXMASTERS name in its national advertising campaign on which it has spent millions of dollars. Complainant contends that it has a pending trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Complainant contends that Respondent should not have any rights or legitimate interest with respect to the [disputed] domain name because [Respondent] is not using [the disputed domain name] and has no other purpose for having it other than to sell it to [Complainant] for an extremely high price. At numerous times in the Complaint, Complainant states that Respondent is only holding onto the disputed domain name for the purpose of extorting an exorbitant amount of money from Complainant.

B. Respondent
The Response was filed by John F. Rhodes, who is shown as the administrative contact for Respondent, Rhodes & Company. Mr. Rhodes says that he is a certified public accountant and sole proprietor specializing in income tax preparation and advice. Mr. Rhodes contends that the disputed domain name <taxmasters.com> is being utilized in connection with the tax services he provides his clients.
Arguing that Complainant does not have exclusive rights to or use of TAXMASTERS, Mr. Rhodes states that there are at least 44 different businesses, including 5 in Pennsylvania, doing business as TaxMasters. Mr. Rhodes also points out that Complainant provides no documentation as to its assertions regarding its rights other than a trademark application addressed to the State of Texas. Furthermore, Complainants name is not registered in Pennsylvania, the state where Respondent does business.
Respondent has been using <taxmasters.com> since August 24, 1996, the date of registration, which is more than 6 years before Complainant was formed and began using the TAXMASTERS mark.
Respondent did not acquire the disputed domain name for the sole purpose of selling it to Complainant. With no web site, Respondent is not disrupting the business of any competitor.

C. Additional Submissions
In its Additional Submission, labeled 1st Amended Complaint, Complainant repeats many of its previous allegations. Complainant argues that This complaint is based on the fact that Respondent has reserved the domain name TaxMasters which is the assumed name of Complainant. Complainants advertisements are seen all over the world. Complainant alleges that it has acquired equitable rights to [the] domain name and common law prior use rights because Complainant has been doing business as TaxMasters since 2003 and spent millions on advertising. Complainant contends that [t]he domain name should be considered as having been registered to Complainant because it is the Complainants name . . . .

Mr. Rhodes contends that his registration and use of the disputed domain name clearly predates Complainants use of the TAXMASTERS mark.

Complainant has been offering tax resolution services under the TAXMASTERS mark since 2003. The domain name <taxmasters.com> was registered on August 24, 1996, to Respondent, Rhodes & Company. The Response was filed by John F. Rhodes, who is shown as the administrative contact for Rhodes & Company. Mr. Rhodes has not operated a website at the domain name because [h]e was never able to design and maintain a web site commensurate with the quality of his services, and decided not having a web site was preferable to having a bad one. However, Mr. Rhodes provides evidence that the disputed domain name is used extensively for electronic messaging and appears on his letterhead, business cards, and signage.

Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the Rules) instructs this Panel to decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that the Complainant must prove each of the following three elements to obtain an order that a domain name should be cancelled or transferred:
(1) the domain name registered by the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(2) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(3) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Panel finds that Complainant has failed to show bad faith registration. Since Complainant has failed to satisfy the third element under Policy 4(a)(iii), there is no need to address the first and second elements.

Registration and Use in Bad Faith
The Panel finds that Complainant failed to meet the burden of proof of bad faith registration and use under Policy 4(a)(iii). See Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. v. Samjo CellTech.Ltd, FA 406512 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 9, 2005) (finding that the complainant failed to establish that the respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith because mere assertions of bad faith are insufficient for a complainant to establish Policy 4(a)(iii); see also Graman USA Inc. v. Shenzhen Graman Indus. Co., FA 133676 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 16, 2003) (finding that general allegations of bad faith without supporting facts or specific examples do not supply a sufficient basis upon which the panel may conclude that the respondent acted in bad faith).
Respondents use of the disputed domain name has been for over twelve years, roughly six years earlier than when Complainant began to use the disputed domain name. In order to show bad faith under Policy 4(a)(iii), Complainant must demonstrate bad faith registration and use. See Sanitech Corp. v. Paton, FA 935273 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 30, 2007) (holding that Policy 4(a)(iii) requires bad faith registration and use, so where a respondent initially registered the disputed domain name in good faith, the panel should deny the transfer of the disputed domain name to the complainant). The Panel finds that Respondents registration of the <taxmasters.com> domain name prior to Complainants use of the TAXMASTERS mark demonstrates that Respondent lacked the requisite bad faith needed at the time of registration. Therefore, the Panel finds that Respondent did not register the disputed domain name in bad faith pursuant Policy 4(a)(iii). See Interep Nat'l Radio Sales, Inc. v. Internet Domain Names, Inc., D2000-0174 (WIPO May 26, 2000) (finding no bad faith where the respondent registered the domain prior to the complainants use of the mark); see also Aspen Grove, Inc. v. Aspen Grove, D2001-0798 (WIPO Oct. 5, 2001) (finding that it is impossible for the respondent to register disputed domain name in bad faith if the complainant's company did not exist at the time of registration); see also Open Sys. Computing AS v. degli Alessandri, D2000-1393 (WIPO Dec. 11, 2000) (finding no bad faith where the respondent registered the domain name in question before application and commencement of use of the trademark by the complainant).
Therefore, Complainant has failed to satisfy the third element under Policy 4(a)(iii).

Having failed to establish the third element required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be DENIED.

Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <taxmasters.com> domain name NOT BE TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
The Honorable Charles K. McCotter, Jr. (Ret.), Panelist
Dated: September 29, 2008

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#2 Author of original report

State of Texas Lawsuit Documents

AUTHOR: Freedomfighter - (USA)

To the victims of the fat ginger dwarf:
You can find the court filings for the current lawsuit brought by the Atty General for the State of Texas against Taxmasters at the link below. Don't be surprised if the cited complaints against Taxmasters sound familiar.

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#3 Author of original report

Florida Investigates TaxMasters Malfeasance

AUTHOR: Freedomfighter - (USA)

GREAT NEWS! First Texas went after the fat man and his minions of evil. Then Michigan saw the crime and filed charges too. Now, Florida has opened an investigation into Fat b*****d. Expect yet another state-sponsered lawsuit to be filed. It probably will be. The more, the merrier! It is just a matter of time before States and the Federal government start looking at criminal charges. Hear that, Fat? You are one step closer to wearing an orange jumpsuit (tent), and doing the perp-walk (waddle) into your undersized prison cell. I will visit often. I promise!

From BBB website:

"Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi Initiates Investigation of TaxmastersThe following describes a pending government action that has been formally brought by a government agency but has not yet been resolved. We are providing a summary of the government's allegations, which have not yet been proven.Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has initiated a civil inquiry into Texas based Tax Masters following the receipt of 26 complaints. The company solicits clients nationwide promising to reduce anxiety and debt to the IRS.

Tax Masters is being investigated for allegations of unfair competition and deceptive trade. Consumer complaints allege violations consisting of: failing to provide service as initially contracted, misrepresentation of the breath of services to clients, charging for unnecessary services, unauthorized credit card transactions, as well as failing to provide refunds.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, three professionals are authorized to represent taxpayers before them - attorneys, certified public accountants and enrolled agents, all whom must pass an IRS test and take refresher courses.
In the absence of representation, consumers can negotiate back taxes and penalties directly with the Internal Revenue Service.

Regulators and consumer advocates warn against using companies guaranteeing what the Internal Revenue Service calls an "offer in compromise" a settlement for reduced tax payment. Although increasing, IRS statistics show that only 25 percent of compromise applications are granted.
Taxpayers seeking relief from IRS debt should also be aware that companies claiming to be tax specialists may simply be advertising the services of a third-party. Unlike the debt settlement and loan modification industry, tax resolution services are unregulated in Florida.

In addition to filing a complaint with the BBB, Floridians may also file a complaint with the Florida Attorney General at www.myfloridalegal.com or (866) 9-NO-SCAM (866-966-7226)."
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#4 Author of original report

Minnesota Atty General Files Lawsuit Against Fat Cox and Company

AUTHOR: Freedomfighter - (USA)

Good News!

Minnesota Atty General Lori Swanson has seen enough. She has now joined TX in filing lawsuits against our "friend", Patrick Cox... and his merry band of cretins at TaxMasters. I quote the MN Atty General website:

Attorney General Warns Citizens About Firms That Exaggerate The Tax Help They Will Provide

Citizens Who Pay Thousands of Dollars In Advance Fees Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson today filed a lawsuit against TaxMasters, Inc.-a Houston-based "tax relief' company that advertises heavily on television, radio, and the Internet-for overstating the tax help it will provide to citizens who pay the company advance fees of up to $8,000.

"The company gets worried people to pay thousands of dollars by overstating the help it will provide with their tax bills," said Attorney General Swanson. "This is the latest type of company we have seen target the misfortunes of people who are facing tough sledding in the bad economy."

The lawsuit alleges that the company got consumers to pay advance fees of $2,000 to $8,000 by misstating the help it would provide people with unpaid tax bills. In some cases, the company claimed it could substantially reduce people's tax bills by up to 90 percent, but then delivered little or no help. In other cases, the company falsely promised that it could stop IRS collection efforts against consumers who hired it.

Contrary to TaxMasters' promises, most citizens do not qualify for special IRS programs that reduce a person's tax debt. Attorney General Swanson said that while the IRS won't reduce most people's tax bills, it will work with them on repayment plans-something people can do on their own without paying a tax relief company thousands of dollars.

TaxMasters heavily advertises on late-night television. In 2009 the company spent nearly $14 million on its television, radio and Internet advertising campaigns. Consumers who call TaxMasters talk to a "tax consultant," who is actually a salesperson. A job ad for this position states: "Previous tax knowledge is not required, but a firm understanding of the sales process and of selling services ... is a strong plus." Salespeople often make unrealistic promises of the company's ability to help in order to dupe consumers into paying thousands of dollars in advance fees. The company also falsely told some consumers it could put an immediate stop to collection efforts, such as wage garnishments, levies, or liens. The lawsuit alleges that TaxMasters sometimes left people in worse financial shape after paying the company's advance fees, failing to respond to important deadlines or requests of tax authorities.

The lawsuit alleges that TaxMasters salespeople told consumers things like:

  • "... based upon our success rate and our experience, on average, our clients see a savings of anywhere between 80 and 90% of what the IRS claims they owe."

  • "We're highly successful; we are the most successful tax resolution company. We're 97% successful."

  • "We'll save you anywhere from 65 to 90% is our goal on ... savings off the total tax debt. 97% of the time we reach that goal, the other 3% are the people who just flat out lie to us."

Overstated its ability to reduce or settle peoples' tax obligations.

  • Charged consumers thousands of dollars in advance fees for help in reducing tax bills that the company knew or should have known would not be negotiated by the IRS.

  • Failed to deliver on its promises and sometimes even failed to meaningfully contact the IRS.

  • Failed to make refunds to consumers who complained that the company did not take the promised action.
Attorney General Swanson said that "tax relief' companies are the latest type hat target citizens who are facing tough times in the bad economy. In recent months, the

Attorney General's Office has filed lawsuits against mortgage assistance companies that charge thousands of dollars in advance fees to modify peoples' home mortgage but don't; debt negotiation companies that charge thousands of dollars in advance fees then fail to negotiate with creditors; and health discount companies that offer people struggling with high premiums affordable health insurance coverage that fails to provide financial protection.

According to the IRS Data Book, the number of taxpayers with delinquent accounts grew
from 7,074,000 in 2006 to 9,667,000 in 2009. During the same time period, the amount of
unpaid taxes, penalties, and interest owed to the IRS went from $69 billion to $103 billion.

Tax Masters is a Nevada corporation with its headquarters in Texas. The lawsuit was
filed in Hennepin County District Court and alleges that the company engaged in consumer fraud and deceptive trade practices. It seeks restitution for consumers, injunctive relief, and civil penalties.

This lawsuit is the latest in a series of nationwide enforcement efforts in recent months
against tax relief companies that charge consumers thousands of dollars in advance fees based on inflated promises. In May, 2010 the Texas Attorney General filed a lawsuit against TaxMasters, which is pending. In October, 2010 the Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit against another tax relief company, American Tax Relief, LLC. In August, 2010 the California Attorney General filed a lawsuit against another large tax relief company, Roni Deutch.

Last April, the Minnesota Attorney General's Office distributed a Consumer Alert entitled "Beware of Tax Relief Scams." Attorney General Swanson offers this advice to consumers:

  • If you have tax problems and need outside help, consider hiring a local certified public accountant, tax specialist, or tax attorney.

  • If you owe money to the tax authorities, consider entering into an installment payment plan. The IRS enters into about 3 million payment plans each year with taxpayers. A taxpayer who owes $25,000 or less in taxes, penalties, and interest may generally request an installment agreement online at the IRS website. You don't need a tax professional to help you obtain a routine installment payment plan.

  • Remember, the IRS generally only reduces a tax debt for a limited number of citizens who face current and continuous dire circumstances and whose tax debt significantly exceeds their assets and their future earning potential. There are no tricks or secret strategies that tax relief companies possess that change the IRS eligibility requirements. As a general matter, if you have enough money to pay a tax relief company, the IRS probably will not reduce your tax debt.

  • Some tax relief companies charge thousands of dollars in advance fees based on inflated promises of their ability to help. By hiring these companies, you may be squandering money that could be used to pay down your tax debt.

For more information or to file a complaint, call the Minnesota Attorney General's Office at (651) 296-3353 or (800) 657-3787, or visit the office's website at www.ag.state.rnn.us. "

This assessment is accurate. FEW PEOPLE ever qualify for negotiated settlements through the IRS. So few, it is hardly worth mentioning. Yet, this is the major selling point of the TaxMaster scam. In my situation as well as many others with whom I have spoken to, TaxMasters indicated that the IRS negotiated settlements frequently. Frequently enough to justify the existence and massive advertisement campaigns of a company like TaxMasters. Clearly, this is false. Yet, most do not know otherwise until they find themselves in the system, and victimized by vultures like Fat Cox. We learn at that point.

Congrats, Pat... er, Fat. You earned this NEW lawsuit. I hope more states follow... and that TaxMasters is eventually raided by the Feds. Do let me know what prison you end up in. I'd like to visit. Seriously. I have a few cartons of smokes to give to your cellie, if'n you get my drift.

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#5 Author of original report

Update: TX State Atty General Files Charges Against Taxmapsters!!

AUTHOR: Freedomfighter - (USA)

I have been offline with a broken PC for awhile, but am now back. I checked into Taxmasters and VIOLA! Like magic, the Texas State Attorney General's office has finally acted on the thousand or more complaints it has received against Taxmasters and it's gluttonous founder and spokesman. I quote from the BBB website:

"The following describes a pending government action that has been formally brought by a government agency but has not yet been resolved. We are providing a summary of the government's allegations, which have not yet been proven.

On May 13, 2010 Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott charged Houston-based TaxMasters, Inc., and its chief executive officer, Patrick Cox, with multiple violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and Texas Debt Collection Act.

According to the states enforcement action, the defendants unlawfully misled customers about their service contract terms, failed to disclose its no-refunds policy, and falsely claimed that the firms employees would immediately begin work on a case despite the fact that TaxMasters did not actually start to work on a case until its customers paid in full for services, even if that delayed response meant taxpayers missed significant IRS deadlines.

In the midst of a national economic downturn, TaxMasters used a nationwide marketing campaign to offer services for distressed taxpayers who needed help dealing with the IRS, Attorney General Abbott said. A state investigation and nearly 1,000 customer complaints indicate that the defendants routinely misled customers about the nature of their tax resolution service agreements and worse, attempted to enforce those improper agreements through unlawful debt collection tactics. The states enforcement action seeks to prohibit the defendants from continuing to violate the law and seeks restitution for the financially struggling taxpayers who were harmed by the defendants unlawful conduct.

The defendants advertise a tax resolution service for federal taxpayers who have received notice from the IRS of an audit, garnishment, lien, levy or tax deficiency. Citing a self-styled national advertising campaign and high-profile endorsements, TaxMasters purports to have one of the most effective tax relief teams in the tax representation business. However, a state investigation and nearly 1,000 complaints submitted to the Office of the Attorney General and the Better Business Bureau of Houston indicate that the defendants have unlawfully misled their customers and failed to disclose material facts about their service agreements.

TaxMasters advertisements encourage taxpayers to call its toll-free number for a free consultation with a tax consultant. Court documents filed by the state indicate that callers are not connected to an employee qualified to give tax advice, but rather with a TaxMasters salesperson who recommends a solution for between $1,500 and $9,000 or more.

According to court documents, many callers were offered an installment plan so that they could pay the defendants fee over a specified period of time. However, callers who asked to see written terms and conditions prior to making a payment were informed that a credit card or bank account number is necessary to generate a written TaxMasters service contract. As a result, TaxMasters customers were unaware and the defendants personnel did not have a practice of disclosing multiple aspects of the TaxMasters service agreement that were harmful to taxpayers.

For example, the defendants did not disclose that all customer payments submitted to TaxMasters are non-refundable. Because customers were not provided written contracts and sales personnel did not reveal the no-refunds policy, customers did not know that they would not be able to recover any installment payments they submitted to TaxMasters even if they ultimately decide to cancel before TaxMasters actually did any work on their tax case.

The states enforcement action also cites TaxMasters for failing to reveal that it would not begin work on a case until all installment payments had been remitted and the entire fee was paid. Multiple complaints indicate that customers entered into an installment agreement with the understanding that TaxMasters would immediately begin work on their case only to discover later that no action was taken. Customers often learned that there was a problem when they received a notice from the IRS indicating that an important deadline had been missed or that additional fees and penalties had accrued.

Court documents filed by the state also indicate that the defendants failed to disclose TaxMasters requirement that customers pay the entire service fee even if they opt to cancel their contract. Because customers are not provided a written contract, they were not properly informed that agreeing to make a single payment over the telephone obligated them to pay the entire fee quoted by sales personnel. Further, not only did TaxMasters attempt to obligate its customers to a fee in the absence of a signed contract, the defendants used unlawful debt collection tactics to enforce the unauthorized obligation.

According to the states enforcement action, the defendants not only failed to disclose material terms and conditions governing its services, but also failed to properly provide the tax resolution services that were advertised. Customer complaints obtained by the Attorney Generals Office cite TaxMasters for failing to contact and consult with the IRS on the clients behalf; failing to appear on the clients behalf at an IRS audit or hearing; failing to postpone or stop a wage or bank account garnishment; and failing to stop a levy or lien against a clients property.

When customers who were unhappy with the defendants services sought refunds, TaxMasters refused to return the customers money. Court documents indicate TaxMasters not only refused to honor refund requests, it also pursued debt collection efforts against clients who cancelled their contracts. The states enforcement action charges TaxMasters with unlawfully threatening to pursue customers in Harris County courts, even if those customers did not reside in the county. Under Texas law, entities seeking to enforce a consumer contract can only do so in a county where the agreement was executed or where the consumer resides.

The state's enforcement action is seeking restitution for each TaxMasters customer who was financially harmed by the defendants unlawful conduct. In addition, the state is seeking civil penalties of up to $20,000 for each violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. "

NICE!!! The complaints against these crooks are working. Keep the complaints coming. Once these civil charges are proven out in a court... expect criminal charges to follow. That is usually how it works. I told that fat man I would see him doing the perp walk (well, waddle in his case) in an orange jumpsuit and shackles. Now Fat Cox is one waddle closer to this being a reality.

Also... the BBB has updated their site on Taxmasters. While they could not downgrade them any further since Taxmasters is already at an "F" rating... the BBB did more thoroughly describe why they have the lowest rating possible. I quote:

"Based on BBB files, this business has a BBB Rating of F on a scale from A+ to F. Reasons for this F rating include:

  • 764 complaints filed against business
  • 256 complaints filed against business that were not resolved
  • Overall complaint history with BBB
  • Government action(s) against business
  • Business has failed to resolve underlying cause(s) of a pattern of complaints

This company has 62 pending complaints.  Pending complaints are not reported in the total number of complaints listed below.  Please check back with us in 30 days to find out the outcome of these pending complaints.

This company has an unsatisfactory report for a pattern of complaint activity regarding refunds and service. Taxmasters has a very specific refund policy. Company officials have stated in replies to complaints that they do not issue refunds because the company provides immediate advice and information on how to address the client's tax issues.

BBB complaints allege consumers are required to pay for the company's service before the company releases a copy of the contract and their policies for the consumer to review and sign. Once the consumer's account is charged they are then sent documents to review and are asked to sign the contract. According to the company, the $500 fee is for an IRS consultation. According to Taxmasters, the initial fee is not refunded unless company officials feel they "drop the ball". Consumers have stated that they were not advised that the fees are nonrefundable in the initial call to the company. As a general rule, the BBB recommends consumers ask any company they are doing business with about their refund, return, and/or exchange policy in advance of authorizing payment. The company has stated that their refund policy is clearly outlined on the documents that are faxed to the consumers."

SEVEN HUNDRED SIXTY FOUR complaints. 764. Good Christ. Taxmasters is not a business. It is a racket.

Keep fighting these crooks. Keep lodging complaints with Texas State, the IRS, the USDOJ (Atty General), the BBB, and any/all other State and Federal agencies you can find, not to mention filing written complaints at RipoffReport and other such consumer advocacy websites. We got the pig on the run...

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#6 Consumer Comment

Thank you for the advice!

AUTHOR: jeff - (United States of America)

I would like to thank you for your helpful information. I have been victimized by Taxmasters to the tune of $4500.00. So far they have filed a power of attorney and sent me one form for listing my assets. The only thing they did in a timely manner is debit my bank account for the money each month. They have not stopped the IRS from filing tax leins and tax levies. I will now begin the tedious process of recovering my money. Too bad I did not use a credit card.
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#7 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Freedomfighter - (U.S.A.)

TaxMasters has apparently felt the pinch of our complaints to ripoffreportdotcom, (((ROR REDACTED))), and to the BBB.

Instead of just addressing the complaints, and perhaps modifying their business ethics and processes, thhey have decided to hire a "marketing" consultant(s) to deal with these complaints. They are not assaulting the internet with bogus websites, containing a page filled with propaganda about how they (TaxMasters) are victims of tax evaders who like to complain. I have also seen them try to explain away their low BBB rating on some of these pages. The goal here is to submit SO MANY pages to the search engines, using search terms like "taxmasters +fraud" and other such combinations, in order to limit how many consumers see the REAL complaint sites, like ripoffreport and (((Redacted))).

Honest companies do not need to flood the internet. Honest businesses just do business honestly. They have no problems. Business has been carried out in this manner for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Businesses that resort to the these types of tactics do so for a reason. They aren't honest brokers. They NEED an advantage, since word of mouth is bad.

Beware of FAT MEN bearing gifts.

CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.
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#8 Author of original report


AUTHOR: Freedomfighter - (U.S.A.)

Just since I had my issue with TaxMasters at the end of last year to the early part of this year, TAXMASTERS BBB complaints have gone through the roof! TaxMasters is now rated as an F by the BBB. This is the LOWEST SCORE POSSIBLE! You can view the report here:

Use the BBB reports on TAXMASTERS in your credit card disputes. This score in indicative of a company which simply doesn't care about how the world views its questionable operating practices. Remember, file your credit card disputes promptly... as soon as possible after you realize you have been ripped off. You can file, in most cases, via telephone, and later send in a complete dispute in writing. Filing quickly is very important in order to get the fraudulent charges reversed.
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#9 Author of original report

TAXMASTERS; TMIRS Enterprises; PATRICK COX; Houston Texas

AUTHOR: Freedomfighter - (U.S.A.)

UPDATE: I received a letter from the Harris County Texas District Attorney. They have reviewed my complaint, and many many of others just like it, filed by people who have been scammed. I quote the letter:

"Due to the volume of complainants, we preferred not simply to close the case. As a result, we have contacted the US Treasury Department regarding Taxmasters. They had also received reports regarding Taxmasters and being a Federal agency, they are better equipped to review and possibly investigate this matter."

Obviously, the complaints pass the smell test, otherwise, the matter would have been closed. It isn't closed. It is being escalated to the proper authorities. So much for Taxmasters transparent attempt at discounting these complaint sites, that they have recently posted in a supposed blog area of their site, that only lists "happy customer" type letters.

Keep the complaints flowing people! The squeaky wheel gets the grease. The lying fat man will eventually get his "grease" too. Think men in prison. You'll get the reference.
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#10 Author of original report

TaxMasters Misleading Advertising

AUTHOR: Freedomfighter - (U.S.A.)

Watch the national television ad for TaxMasters, being run on MSNBC and FOX. Read and listen to it carefully. You will see text from a supposed "happy TaxMasters customer" named Greg.

The text of Greg's subjective comments state that he owed "NOTHING", after TaxMasters intervened on his behalf. "NOTHING" is written is large, capitalized font, in a different color than all the other text in order to stand out and catch the eye of the viewer. While this text is being displayed, you will hear Patrick Cox of TaxMasters paraphrasing Greg's subjective letter, stating that Greg owed "no additional taxes". "No additional taxes". That's right, folks. "No additional taxes". This means that Greg, the supposed happy TaxMasters customer, owed "no additional taxes" from what he already owed. No kidding.

This is another example of the TaxMssters "bait and switch" scam, with carefully coordinated differences between the spoken text and writen text in order to provide TaxMasters a defense. They bait you with "NOTHING!!!", and once you sign up, it switches to "no additional". This happened to me. Prior to payment, I asked worse case what the total cost to me, including taxes and TaxMasters fees would be. I was told, worst case, the total amount would be only the TaxMasters fee; that Taxmasters would ensure that I would pay "nothing" as far as the tax balance. After receipt of payment, TaxMasters story changed completely.

Advertisements such as this are not made on the spur of the moment, containing off-the-cuff remarks. They are carefully constructed to serve a purpose: to get as many clients as possible, limit TaxMasters' exposure to lawsuit, and provide defense to claims.

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.
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#11 Author of original report

Aftermath: They don't go quietly into the night

AUTHOR: Freedomfighter - (U.S.A.)

After shortly after winning this dispute, I found out just how far people will go to get revenge.

With a month of winning and before I could hire new honest representation, the state seized assets. No biggie. I was attempting to pay it off anyway. I just needed representation to help me. Yet, it does illustrate the negative impacts one innocent phonecall can result in to a company that you think is honest.

I called the IRS myself. They were very nice and quite helpful. They clarified the truth for me, and proved to me that much of what I had been told by Taxmasters were just not true, including (but not limited to) the claim that you must file every year regardless of whether your income falls below the requirements. This is complete tripe. It is a scam to get you to agree to unnecessary work, for big money. I argued this point during my phonecalls to Taxmasters and I was right about it, just as I was right about the other issues.

Call the IRS on your own. You will find out exactly what I did. They will help you willingly to deal with the problems, free of charge, without deceitful practices, or demands for ridiculous fees. believe me, you will save yourself alot of money, many headaches, possible bad reports to TRW, and a host of other things that you don't need!
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