IRS GETS ADDITIONAL SUPPORT

IRS Hires Private Debt Collectors

Just when you thought the IRS had finally forgotten about your old tax debt because you had not heard from it in a while... Guess what? It did not forget! The IRS was just too busy! Now the bureaucratic behemoth has help to call, trace, and find where you moved so it can continue to get your past due tax money.

Beginning next Spring, four (4) Private Collection Agencies will be helping the IRS collect outstanding, inactive accounts that owe money. Those companies are:
1. CBE Group of Cedar Falls, IA
2. Conserve of Fairport, NY
3. Performant of Livermore, CA
4. Pioneer of Horseheads, NY

These companies, as a stipulation of the contract, must respect taxpayer's rights and abide by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. No mention is made of verifying if these requirements are being met.

With all the fraud where criminals contact you acting like the IRS and demand money, proof of authenticity may be a problem. To help you feel confident that the call or letter is legitimate, the IRS has stated that before being contacted by any of these companies, the IRS will: A) send a letter stating that your account is going to be transferred to one of these companies, and B) then write a letter after the transfer stating that you account has truly been transferred. The moral of the story: read IRS letters!

These Private Collection Agencies WILL NOT take your money directly or through a debit card. If asked to pay with a debit card, that caller is a fraud. Rather, each will explain about electronic payment options, or if you want to mail a check, make it out to "US Treasury" only, never to any of these agencies, and mail it to the IRS, and again, never to these companies.

Why is the IRS doing this? Apparently the IRS has a lack of resources to physically follow up on long past due accounts, so hiring these agencies will allow it to bring in money that otherwise might go past the statute of limitations, and would then become uncollectable.

Finally, some taxpayers should NOT be given to these companies for collections because certain criterion protects them from harassment. Those who should NOT be sent to collection are taxpayers who are:
o Deceased
o Under the age of 18
o In designated combat zones
o Victims of tax-related identity theft
o Currently under examination, litigation, criminal investigation or levy
o Subject to pending or active offers in compromise
o Subject to an installment agreement
o Subject to a right of appeal
o Classified as innocent spouse cases
o In presidentially declared disaster areas and requesting relief from collection

If you are on this list and are contacted by these collection agencies, tell them to send your account back to the IRS because you have a legitimate reason for not being harassed by a collection outfit. Basically, your situation has put your account on hold pending the outcome the IRS investigation into the above stated circumstances.

If you wish to complain about the practices or ethics of one of these companies, you can make a complaint to TIGTA (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration) at 1-800-366-4484, or visit www.tigta.gov.

References:

IRS Newswire. September 26, 2016. "New Private Debt Collection Program to Begin Next Spring". Issue Number: IR-2016-125

IRS. September 26, 2016. "Private Debt Collection". IRS website: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/private-debt-collection.