Friday, August 27, 2010


I presume that you have seen the Roni Deutch commercial on TV claiming that she can negotiate with the IRS and you will only have to pay pennies on the dollar. These ads always infuriate me because, as a tax professional, I know that she cannot do what she claims and her claims confuse the public. According to the lawsuit, the claims made in the ads are false and the people actually still owe the money. She spends over $3,000,000 per year on advertising.

The thing that upsets me the most is that the people that she is preying on are having financial problems in the first place and working with her just makes their problems worse. Look at the lawsuits. The 45 people working for her are not tax experts, but actually salespeople.

Now she gets what is coming to her. Roni Deutch, the so-called “Tax Lady” has been slapped with a $34 million law suit by California Attorney General, Jerry Brown.

According to the Attorney General’s web site, “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 office says that rather than reducing tax bills, Deutch actually increases taxpayer’s debt by putting them “in an endless loop of requests.” Brown claims the reason for the requests are to boost her bottom line at the expense of the taxpayer.

Further, Brown says that Deutch’s TV ads are “misleading” and feature fictional testimonials promising impressive results, despite the fact that Deutch’s success rate is said to be about 10% in tax cases. The claim states that “most clients never obtain a tax debt resolution” from Deutch.

In the complaint, Brown specifically cites an ad called, “It’s Your Turn” which features three clients whom Deutch claims to have “saved” from having to pay thousands of dollars to the IRS. According to Brown, those clients still owe the IRS the full amount of their taxes, plus interest and penalties.

Deutch’s practices inside her firm are called to the carpet in the complaint, as well. Brown’s office claims that Deutch’s law firm is actually a high pressure “boiler room” where she belittles her employees. “She screams at and berates sales agents who are not performing adequately,” according to the complaint. The complaint alleges that Deutch requires her employees to promise callers results that the potential clients are likely to never see.

Brown’s complaint seeks nearly $34 million in restitution for clients, including funds to refund taxpayer retainers which Brown’s office alleges were improperly retained. The complaint also seeks to prevent Deutch from engaging in unfair business practices and false advertising. The State has also asked for a preliminary injunction to force Deutch to cease her “illegal practices” prior to the resolution of the complaint.

Deutch and her office had to see this coming. In March, Brown posted an alert for California taxpayers warning them to avoid “phony tax-relief companies” that charge exorbitant fees, but provide no actual relief. At the time, Brown advised taxpayers, “Every tax season, phony tax-relief companies emerge to exploit cash-strapped Californians who owe back taxes to the IRS. Taxpayers should be on high alert, avoid paying up-front fees to these companies and never ignore notices from the IRS.”

This isn’t Deutch’s first public complaint. In 2006, she agreed to pay $300,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs for similar complaints about her misleading commercials.

I’ve heard a number of complaints from taxpayers who have worked with so-called tax debt relief companies who promise big results. I’ll just say this… If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There’s a reason that you don’t see most tax attorneys on TV promising you “pennies on the dollar.” I can’t stress enough how important it is to work with a trustworthy tax professional – one that returns phone calls and letters, one that keeps you posted about the status of your matter – to resolve your tax obligations.

Take a look at Deutch's website at: Listen to the testimonials, and then listen to what the California attorney general is saying about her:

p.s. She doesn't really look like the picture on her website.

Larry Kopsa CPA