According to a complaint (Part 1 Part 2) filed by the California Attorney General against a well known tax attorney Roni Deutch, she has violated numerous state consumer protection laws, along with the rules of professional conduct governing the conduct of all California attorneys, tax attorneys included. Roni Deutch is well known to viewers of her TV commercials promising to solve tax debt problems through offers in compromise, levy releases, and installment agreements.
The complaint makes many allegations including that:
* Roni Deutch advised clients that they may suspend their installment payments to the IRS once they have engaged her tax attorneys for tax debt resolution services. Deutch tells clients that once they retain Roni Deutch A P.C., the clients are not legally obligated to continue making installment payments to the IRS.
* Roni Deutch’s tax attorneys each regularly carry caseloads as high as 600 to 700 clients at one time, but during especially busy periods can service as many as 1,200 clients at one time.
* Roni Deutch tell clients that their success rate in resolving clients' back tax liability with the IRS is as high as 99%. In fact, her success rate is dramatically lower. In a majority of their clients' cases, Deutch never actually submits a request for tax debt relief. According to Deutch’s own figures, of those clients who retain her tax problem resolution law firm for the offer in compromise service, only 10% successfully receive an offer in compromise from the IRS.
* Roni Deutch solicits clients for her tax debt resolution services in a number of ways, including a television and radio advertising campaign. In these advertisements, Roni Deutch gives clients specific and non-representative examples of clients who have purportedly reduced their tax liability by as much as $150,000 by hiring Roni Deutch A P.C. At least some of these representations are false and misleading.
* The advertisements list a toll-free telephone number for consumers to call to receive a free "tax analysis." When consumers dial the telephone number listed, the "tax analysis" they receive is a sales pitch for Ronni Deutch’s tax problem resolution services from her sales agents, who are hired solely for their ability to sell. Their sales agents are not required to have any background, experience, or familiarity with federal tax law or the IRS.
Of course these are only allegations, and not proven facts, and Roni Deutch has released a statement saying she will fight the suit. If the allegations are true, however, it will probably mean the end of Ronni Deutch’s tax problem resolution service business, and probably her career as a tax attorney as well. The complaint is a cautionary tale for those taxpayers with tax problems. As in all areas of life if the promises sound too good to be true then it’s time to take a closer look.