This spring, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is partnering with private collection agencies authorized to collect federal taxes owed. Congress enacted in 2015 a private debt collection program authorizing contractors to collect tax payments on the government’s behalf. With budget cuts and other procedural constraints the IRS has been unable to collect back taxes from taxpayers. Taxpayers will receive written notices from the IRS when their accounts are transferred over to private collection agencies. The collection agency will then send out a second letter to taxpayers confirming the transfer of account. Both letters will include the tax amount owed as well as ensure future calls from the collection agencies are valid.
- These agencies will never call you demanding payment sent immediately in the form of a gift card, prepaid debit card or wire transfer.
- They will never bring in law-enforcement threatening taxpayers of arrest for not paying their taxes.
- These collection agencies will never demand payment from taxpayers without giving them the opportunity to question or appeal amount owed.
- Taxpayers will never be asked for credit or debit card numbers over the phone to make payment by collection agents.
These collection agencies are under contract and must respect taxpayer rights including abiding by the consumer protection provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Protecting the identity of taxpayers is why the IRS and the collection agencies will be sending correspondence to taxpayers first. The collection agencies will work on older accounts and those where the IRS lacked resources to seek taxpayers out. The IRS has stated it will assist taxpayers to avoid confusion in regards to calls as they have always been told to avoid phone scams. The IRS urges taxpayers to contact their offices if they have questions as well as understand their rights and tax responsibilities.
Names of the private collection agencies hired by the IRS:
- CBE Group: 1309 Technology Pkwy, Cedar Falls, IA 50613
- Conserve: 200 Cross Keys Office Park, Fairport, NY 14450
- Performant: 333 N Canyons Pkwy, Livermore, CA 94551
- Pioneer: 325 Daniel Zenker Dr., Horseheads, NY 14845
The intent of the private debt collection program is to collect tax due on accounts the IRS has no longer enough resources to pursue. The IRS has given information on which accounts the private debt collection agencies will not pursue. These accounts include those that involve deceased taxpayers, minors or serving in designated combat zones. Accounts that are still being reviewed or resolved where taxpayers have contacted the IRS will not be transferred. For taxpayers who do not want to deal with a private collection agency can still contact the IRS to resolve their tax matter. The alternative for repayment include installment agreements, offers in compromise and other collection alternatives.