Miami, Florida
1.7K views 53 comments
Not resolved

I was looking for help with my back taxes. I started searching the internet and compiled a list of tax firms I wanted to check out. One of the first that I called was Tax Defense Network. I really liked the way they handled themselves over the phone and took a lot of notes on their company. After we concluded the call, the tax specialist they put me on with told me to check out the competition, of which he sent me links to many of his competitors. He told me that I should do my due diligence and really check out the firms out there, and see how treacherous many of these firms are.

That's when I really started my search. Ironically, the salesman didn't realize that I cover all bases, and would look into his company a bit deeper also. My first stop was to review their Better Business Bureau rating, which they spoke so fondly of in our extensive phone calls. They claim an "A+" rating, which they stated no one else in the industry had. Well, I can tell you two lies right there – They are "A" rated, not "A+"

and there are, in fact, other "A" rated tax firms out there. First off, why lie about the "+"? As if an "A" is bad in anything. That made want to look a little more into their company.

I then looked up their company with the department of state in Florida, as they were a Florida state company. Tax Defense Network started as a debt settlement company in Jacksonville, Florida. If you look up their officers, Joseph and Franklin Valinho, in Google you will find lawsuits they were charged with as a debt settlement company. Attorney General Charlie Crist attacked them personally for taking advantage of their customers, who received no debt relief whatsoever. The settlement was somewhere in the region of $250,000 and was reached in 2006. I immediately got a bad taste in my mouth, but the search continued.

I then come to find out that their "A" rating BBB file started in 2007, meaning their current rating doesn't reflect this little transgression Tax Defense committed against their customers in years prior. Also, the BBB file doesn't even show the Valinhos as officers of the company, while the record stands with the state of Florida that they are. More lies. Lastly, and most disturbingly, is that they use this rating for separate websites that seem to be different companies but are really Tax Defense Network with a different face (i.e. www.irs-tax-settlement-hq.com). At first I thought they just bought a different domain and linked it to their main site, but it seems that these are meant to look and seem different, even though it leads you to the same corrupt people.

The moral of the story – DO YOUR RESEARCH! These guys aren't who they say they are. I am still searching for help with the irs, so if anyone has worked with someone or a firm that isn't completely full of it, please get back to me with a referral. I am in dire need, but don't want to just give my money away to any liars or crooks.

Review about: Tax Help.

Review #187684 is a subjective opinion of a user.

Reason of Review / Monetary Loss Not specified / Not specified
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Winston
Miami, Florida, United States #743925

I really appreciate the hard work and commitment to my challenge from TDN. They not only had a deep understanding, but asked all the right questions.

Thank you so much TDN!

I highly recommend :) :grin

Pissed2013_13
#614742

This company is a scam! Contact the attorney general office in Florida!

TDNRepresentative
to ***ed2013_13 Jacksonville, Florida, United States #616104

Please contact our Client Care Director at 877-856-5118 with your situation so that we can resolve any issue you have.

Antonio
New York City, New York, United States #612465

Wow - after reading all of these postings, I'll just go directly. I made the mistake with Ronni Duetch (spelling) and the company folded before they submitted my stuff to the IRS, including the taxes they were supposed to have filed for me. so i was out about $4,000 - fees they charge for the work and the tax returns.

TDNRepresentative
to Antonio Jacksonville, Florida, United States #616105

@Antonio Please contact our Client Care Director at 877-856-5118 with the concerns you have, so that we can address them, as well as verify the tax advice you have received is accurate.

TDNRepresentative
#574671

@Tu Tough We apologize that you didn't receive a prompt response from our tax professionals regarding your case. We make every effort to make sure all of our clients are kept up-to-date on the specifics of their case in a timely manner. Please contact our Director of Client Relations at 904-309-8156 to discuss how we can rectify this situation as this is not the level of service our company strives for.

Tu Tough
#572080

While they were "working my case" the IRS began to send certified letters.Several calls and emails to my representative yielded no response.

When I finally did receive a response I was told how overwhelmed she was as she was handling over 200 cases?! I called the IRS myself and they advised me that virtually all matters are better handled directly with them and that they have received a great deal of complaints regarding this company. I contacted their "gold star customer service" for a refund but again received no response. I stopped further payments to them and received a letter advising me they were going to place my case on hold unless I contacted them for payment arrangements.

I did finally speak with someone after almost a month of leaving messages regarding my case and they stated they had contacted the IRS on my behalf. I advised them that I had handled the matter to avoid IRS action as I was not getting a prompt response and the IRS had never heard from them except when they filed a power of attorney (which I revoked). I did not receive a refund and they did not receive any more of my money. Had I known the owners names prior to hiring them I would never have followed through with the process.

Almost everything they told me was a lie. It hurts me to think of all of the individuals on fixed incomes (LIKE OUR SOLDIERS)who they are ripping off.

Save yourself the time and money and deal with the IRS directly.I have since handled a few...

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TDNRepresentative
#526902

@Ginny If you have any concerns or reservations about our company, please feel free to contact our Client Care Department at 1-877-856-5118. Also, check out our company's Better Business Bureau profile and our legal staff's bios on our website. We encourage you to do your own research and to speak with us before coming to a final decision.

Ginny, VA
#524771

I just spoke with TDN this morning.While conversating with them I came acorss this blog.

So happy I did. I currently have an agreement with IRS.

So I think I will just stick it out until they are paid off.Thanks for sharing your experiences with TDN you have truly kept me from making a hugh mistake.

david
#497489

On May 27th, 2011 the former Vice President of Marketing for Tax Defense Network was charged with $1.7 Million in Internet fraud and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Harmon was accused of stealing and selling the personal information of hundreds of Tax Defense Networks’ clients, putting their safety in jeopardy . In most cases, individuals who are capable of committing such heinous crimes come with a spotted past.

In Harmon’s case, his criminal record includes automobile theft, drug charges, over half a dozen check fraud charges, assault on a police officer, human endangerment, and criminal forgery to name just a few (Source: Link to PDF?). This begs the question as to what kind of screening procedures Tax Defense Network uses in their hiring practices.

Harmon spent the past 20 years of his life in and out of jail, his first arrest taking place in 1994. Harmon is actually still quoted on a link from the IRS Hitman website, a marketing tool employed by Tax Defense Network as saying:

“When the economy is going well, people don’t want to pay taxes, but when the economy dives, people just don’t have the money” (Source).

Sadly, the fact that Tax Defense Network employed this type of criminal is not surprising. Upon further research of this company one can discover a slew of deceptive practices, claims of racism in the workplace and complaints from former employees.

Joseph and Franklin Valinho, owners of Tax Defense...

In 2006, the suit was settled for $230,000; money that was disbursed to the victims of Emergency Debt Reliefs fraudulent practices. They were also fined an additional $60,000 in civil penalties. Crist responded to the settlement by stating that "Those who are deep in debt need a helping hand, not a shovel to dig deeper.” (Source).

In 2007, one year after the suit was settled, the Valinho’s purchased Tax Defense Network, formerly known as “New Start Credit Services”. They boast of having an “A-“ rating with the Better Business Bureau, but that too is misleading. Despite the fact that they’ve had 31 complaints with the BBB in the past three years, in 2010 their website claimed that have been accredited with the Bureau since 1997 (Source).

If the company was trying to turn over a new leaf, why start with misleading consumers as to when your business was actually accredited? New Start Credit Services was established in 1997, and Tax Defense Network simply piggybacked off of another companies start date. They have since changed their accreditation date to 2008 after numerous complaints and widespread consumer awareness.

There are also a number of discrimination complaints on the Internet that revolve around Tax Defense Network. Last year, an undisclosed law firm posted this ad:

“Our firm is interested in hearing from anyone who is Black, a Minority, Female, or Over 50 years old that applied for a job at Tax Defense Network from April 28, 2008 through current. You may be entitled to compensation if you interacted with them in their hiring process. You would have most likely talked with or interviewed with Steve (Recruiter for TDN in beginning), Erin Bailey, Joe Valinho, Frank Valinho or Rod DeMontmorency.

If you have submitted your resume in the time frame listed above, you may be a claimant in any potential settlement that is won or negotiated. Also, have you ever heard the term while working at Tax Defense Network referring to anyone as a "Canadian"? This is the code word they used for a minority. There have been hundreds fired in the past four years. Our firm wants to hear from you”

The replies on the forum the ad was placed on were disturbing to say the least. Commenters based out of Jacksonville, FL- where Tax Defense Network is located- responded with uncouth remarks and justification for racist hiring practices. Although the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is not allowed to reveal information on current investigations, it has been rumored that Tax Defense Network will soon be facing legal action on behalf of the organization

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