Uncle Sam Contracts Private Collectors to Collect Unpaid Taxes
A recent NBC News article reported that the federal government has contracted out the collection of unpaid income tax with four private debt collection agencies. These agencies are CBE Group, ConServe, Performant, and Pioneer Credit Recovery.
Beginning April 2017, the private collection firms will contact taxpayers with overdue federal tax bills. At first, collection letters will be sent, stating the account was transferred by the IRS to the collector. Then calls will follow.
Beware of Aggressive Collectors
The collectors have an incentive to collect. They’ll receive 25% of every dollar collected.
Although the collectors are still required to follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and respect taxpayer rights, vulnerable taxpayers could be pressured by aggressive collectors to pay more than they can afford.
The IRS also offers various taxpayer programs to eligible taxpayers. Be sure to inquire about your eligibility for these programs.
Where to Send Payments
The government’s collectors will target taxpayers owing less than $50,000 and move up from there. They may discuss payment options with taxpayers, but all payments are to be sent, either electronically or by check, to the IRS or U.S. Treasury. Do NOT send any payments to the private debt collection agency.
If you feel that you are being harassed, or that the claimed debt isn’t accurate, file a complaint with:
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: 1-855-411-2372
U.S. Treasury, Inspector General for Tax Administration: 1-800-366-4484