Written by: Aaron Hall | Best Company Editorial Team
Last Updated: February 24th, 2020
Just because a company employs people with professional accreditations doesn't necessarily mean you should work with that company; however, professionally accredited employees can be a good indicator of the company's professionalism and experience.
When it comes to tax debt relief companies, there are only three professional institutions that really matter: the American Bar Association, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the National Association of Tax Professionals.
American Bar Association
The American Bar Association started in 1878 and currently boasts over 400,000 members and more than 3,500 entities. The organization includes lawyers, law students, and others interested in the legal profession. The ABA has four primary goals:
- Serve its members
- Improve their profession
- Eliminate bias and enhance diversity
- Advance the rule of law
There is a monthly fee that ABA members must pay in order to keep their ABA memberships valid. The annual fee becomes increasingly more expensive the longer the individual has been a member of the association. First-year applicants are admitted to the ABA for free if they apply.
Since a good portion of the tax debt relief process takes place in the legal system, it's helpful to have an ABA-registered attorney on staff in a tax debt relief company. The membership shows a legitimacy regarding current regulations in tax law. A customer should feel more comfortable having an ABA-registered attorney working with their tax debt relief company for this reason.
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants is the largest worldwide organization of professional accountants, boasting over 418,000 members in 143 countries. The organization was founded in 1887 and includes accountants in a plethora of different industries, including public practice, government, education, and consulting.
A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is an accountant who's accomplished approximately 150 credit hours of accounting education and has taken a rigorous certification exam known as the Uniform CPA Exam. These professionals have a working knowledge of preparing an organization's financial statement, including an organization's cost of operations, products, special projects, and more. CPAs are a valuable asset to tax debt relief companies because they can help customers assess their spending history and habits, as well as how to maintain those habits in the future.
National Association of Tax Professionals
The National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP) is an organization of over 23,000 tax professionals who believe in providing professional excellence when it comes to their customers. Every NATP member follows a strict code of ethics that is as follows:
- I will keep myself informed of State and Federal laws that apply to my field of practice
- I will to the best of my ability apply these laws for the protection of my clients
- I will recognize the individual needs of each and every client
- I will observe the client's right to privacy and confidentiality
- I will adhere to the Standards of Professional Conduct
Essentially, members of the NATP have the customer in focus when it comes to their services. If a tax debt relief company has a member of the NATP member on board, the company might have a higher focus on customer satisfaction and tax expertise than a company that doesn't.
Who Is Legit?
Best Company has organized a list of the top rated tax debt relief companies in the industry, with companies like Tax Defense Network, Optima Tax Relief, and StopIRSDebt.com ranked at the top. Companies with the above mentioned accreditations tend to receive high rankings. You can find a full list of the companies and their rankings here.