This month, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will begin having private collection agencies work to collect overdue federal taxes for a small group of taxpayers who have had multiple contacts from the IRS in previous years and still have an unpaid tax bill. The IRS will send letters to these taxpayers first, followed by phone calls. The designated firm will also send a letter to the taxpayer confirming the collection account has been transferred to them from the IRS.
Taxpayers should be aware of the potential risk of scams related to this new program. Authorized collectors will only be calling about old tax debts the IRS has previously been in contact with the taxpayer to resolve. They will not be able to take direct payments; tax payments are always payable to the IRS or the U.S. Treasury only. Private firms will be able to assist with the establishment of payment plans, but will not be authorized to take enforcement actions (such as filing liens) against the taxpayer.
"The IRS is taking steps throughout this effort to ensure that the private collection firms work responsibly and respect taxpayer rights," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "The IRS also urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for scammers who might use this program as a cover to trick people. In reality, those taxpayers whose accounts are assigned as part of the private collection effort know they have a tax debt."
For more information about the IRS' private debt collection program, click here.
To read the full IRS press release, click here.