IRS Announces Contracts with Debt Collectors

Taxpayers now know the private firms that could come calling to collect tax debt after September 23, 2021. This latest announcement from the Internal Revenue Service marks the fifth year the agency has used private debt collectors for overdue taxes.

Which private collection agencies received a contract from the IRS?

The IRS says that three private collection agencies (PCAs) have been given contracts: CBE Group, Inc.; Coast Professional, Inc.; and ConServe. While these firms have authorization to collect outstanding tax debt, the IRS provides two assurances to wary taxpayers:

  1. Employees of these collection agencies must follow the provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and like IRS employees, must be courteous and must respect taxpayer rights.
  2. Private firms are not authorized to take enforcement actions against taxpayers. Only IRS employees can take these actions, such as filing a notice of Federal Tax Lien or issuing a levy.

Once taxpayers are contacted by a PCA, they can work with that firm to settle up with the IRS—from one-time payments to payment plans. That said, the agency reminds that all payments must be made to the IRS or U.S. Treasury, and no PCA is allowed to “take enforcement actions against taxpayers,” like “filing a notice of Federal Tax Lien or issuing a levy.”

How will taxpayers know they’ve been referred to a private collection agency?

Taxpayers whose tax debt has been referred to a private collection agency will receive two letters explaining the situation: one from the IRS and another from the assigned PCA.

The IRS letter includes “the name and contact information for the PCA” and “a copy of Publication 4518, What You Can Expect When the IRS Assigns Your Account to a Private Collection Agency;” both letters “will contain information that will help taxpayers identify the tax amount owed and assure taxpayers that future collection agency calls they may receive are legitimate.”

The IRS closes with the following links containing more information about the private tax debt collection program:

To read the full press release, follow the source link below.

Source: IR-2021-191

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