The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that it will begin private collection of overdue federal tax debts starting in Spring 2017. The IRS will contract with four private agencies to attempt to collect on federal debts owed that the IRS is no longer actively pursuing or for which the IRS does not have sufficient resources to pursue.

Taxpayers whose outstanding federal tax debts will be collected through this new private program will receive initial written notice from the IRS that their account is being transferred to one of the four private agencies under contract. They will also receive a follow-up letter confirming when this transfer occurred.

The IRS understands that this new program could cause confusion, “particularly in light of continual phone scams where callers impersonate IRS agents.” Collectors for the private agencies will be allowed to identify themselves as part of this program for the IRS. They will be subject to the provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

To learn more about this new program, and ways to confirm that calls are being made by one of the four legitimate agencies, click here.