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IRS Contracts Private Debt Collection Agencies

The IRS plans to begin using private debt collectors again as early as spring 2017. The last time the IRS used private debt collectors was in 2009. The 2009 program was scrapped because it was not cost-effective. There were also concerns about taxpayer rights and privacy infringement. The private debt collectors may not have explained all the available payment options, and taxpayers worried their tax information might be shared. Congress hopes the new collection program will work better than prior efforts.

The IRS has selected 4 private collection agencies to collect from 7 million taxpayers who have outstanding tax debt. The collection agencies are: Conserve, Pioneer, Performant, and CBE Group.

The IRS says taxpayers with outstanding tax debt will receive written notice from the IRS that their case is being assigned to a private debt collector. They should receive a letter from the IRS before they receive a phone call from the collection agency.

Taxpayers should be aware that collection alternatives such as installment agreements and offers in compromise are still available through the IRS. A special “currently-not-collectible” status may also be available for taxpayers who are experiencing a severe economic hardship.

To make a complaint about a private collection agency, call the TIGTA hotline at 800-366-4484.

If you receive a tax collection letter and have questions or need assistance, call EZ Accounting at 520-318-4912.