IRS Using Private Debt Collection Agencies to Chase Down Debts

Scam? Maybe not IRS hires four private collection agencies

This month, the Internal Revenue Service will contract with one of four third-party debt collection companies, and the Better Business Bureau is urging the public to take precautions to ensure a collection call is legitimate. To protect the taxpayer's privacy and security, both the IRS letter and the collection firm's letter will contain information that will help taxpayers identify the tax amount owed and assure taxpayers that future collection agency calls they may receive are legitimate.

Phil Liberatore, CPA provides his insight into the IRS' new plan to hire private collections firms in severely delinquent cases. But consumer groups and the National Treasury Employees Union are anxious about harassment and other forms of abuse. The IRS will notify taxpayers of a past due balance and the pending collection activity with two letters.

The contracting companies, all members of the Better Business Bureau, are CBE Group of Cedar Falls, Iowa; Conserve of Fairport, New York; Performant of Livermore, California; and Pioneer of Horseheads, New York.

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According to Liberatore, "this looks like another instance in which the IRS needs to count the cost of their policies towards taxpayers, with reductions to their operating budget, the IRS has been cutting back on services to taxpayers". To find out more about available payment options, visit IRS.gov/Payments.

Second, the BBB states, debt collectors are prohibited by federal law from harassing citizens. Payments will not be made over the phone by credit card or any other means, such as direct wiring or credit card purchases.

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