Private tax collection Feed

If you're getting calls from debt collectors, knowing your rights can help you avoid the bad ones who will say anything to get you to pay. Click image above to watch a video from the Federal Trade Commission on how to handle abusive collection calls. Full disclosure up front. I am not a fan of private bill collectors going after unpaid federal tax amounts. But a recent oversight examination found that the debt collectors hired in this latest forced outsourcing of a basic IRS responsibility apparently aren't using egregious collection methods. Still, as the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration... Read more →


The tax collection efforts of four private debt collectors are paying off, bringing in $56.6 million in previously uncollected tax revenue in the first 14 months they've been on the job. However, it cost the tax bill collectors $55.3 million to do that job, netting Uncle Sam only $1.3 million. That's the word from an Internal Revenue Service report on the most-recent iteration of the private tax debt collection program. "Contrary to critics' claims and despite its slow-roll out, the IRS private debt collection program is already demonstrating that it can more than pay for itself with revenues returned to... Read more →


Owing the Internal Revenue Service is bad. Having the IRS come after you for that money is worse. Dealing with private debt collectors who've been given your overdue tax account is worst. That's the perspective of many when it comes to the federal tax collection process. But not all. And now an online war of words has erupted between the National Taxpayer Advocate and a new group created to advocate for private collection of tax debt. Pro private tax debt collection: The Partnership for Tax Compliance (PTC) debuted on June 26. The goals of the 501(c)6 nonprofit (that's the tax... Read more →


Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kansas) and fellow Ways and Means member Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia) have offered a bill to revamp the IRS. Remember the kinder, gentler Internal Revenue Service? That was the goal of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, which sought to ease up on the tax agency's aggressive collection actions back then. Now two Ways and Means Committee members are looking to remake the IRS into a modern, more efficient agency that provides taxpayers a better experience. I'm pretty sure that modernizing and refining processes for better efficiency can eventually be accomplished. As for the improved... Read more →


National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson makes a point about private tax debt collection during a May 23 House Appropriations subcommittee hearing. (Click image to watch the official video.) National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson has long been an opponent of turning over taxpayer accounts to collection agencies. That's still the case, according to her mid-year report presented today to Congress. The latest private tax debt collection effort tops the list of 13 priorities that the Taxpayer Advocate's Service will focus on during the coming 2018 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. Specifically, Olson says she and her staff are... Read more →


Private bill collectors are, according to four U.S. Senators, making calls about overdue federal taxes that could put taxpayers in financially compromised situations that are scarier than those faced by the terrified Cindy Campbell character (played by Anna Faris, pictured above), in the "Scary Movie" films. During a recent U.S. House hearing, Internal Revenue Service watchdogs told Representatives that, less than two months on the job, private tax bill collectors were already breaking collection and consumer protection rules. Now four Democratic Senators have raised additional concerns about one of the private collection agencies' tactics, which could put owing taxpayers' homes... Read more →


Most of us suspected it would happen. We just didn't think it would happen so soon. "It" is apparent disregard by some private debt collectors of the rules established in connection with the collection agencies' latest congressionally mandated foray into federal tax collection. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George tells a House Appropriations subcommittee last week of his watchdog agency's concerns about the latest use of private collection agencies to bring in delinquent federal taxes. (Click image to watch full hearing on YouTube.) Private collection agencies are approving installment agreements with delinquent taxpayers beyond what the law... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service's third attempt to bring in overdue tax money by using private debt collectors has been in place for less than a month, but some House members are already trying to halt it. Opponents of the program question not only the collection system's costs and efficiency. They also worry that the use of private bill collectors will make it easier for crooks to create even more tax scams. Rep. John Lewis makes his opening statement at last week's Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee hearing on the 2017 tax season. During his remarks, Lewis announced the introduction of... Read more →


And so it starts. Again. As mandated by Congress, the Internal Revenue Service has turned over some delinquent tax accounts to private debt collectors. These collection agencies will begin calling affected individuals this week. Yes, private debt collectors are again calling about unpaid federal taxes. Worried much? I am. New tax scam potential: I spelled out my primary concern in a post last month about the private collection letter the IRS had finalized. "If you think this opens the door -- and windows and attic vents -- wide for tax scammers, you are probably correct. And you are not alone.... Read more →


Remember that assurance from the Internal Revenue Service that its agents never call you about an overdue tax bill. That's changing. A call from a bill collector can seem as terrifying as the one Drew Barrymore received in "Scream." Even worse? A collection agency call about an overdue IRS bill. The IRS is about to turn over some delinquent tax accounts to private debt collectors. Again. And those companies' employees, as subcontracting agents of the IRS, will be calling folks about the money they owe the U.S. Treasury. Bill collecting concerns, scams: If you think this opens the door --... Read more →


If you have an old federal tax debt, you might be getting a call from a private debt collection agency next year. Under provisions of the transportation bill enacted last year, the Internal Revenue Service is once again to turn over some delinquent tax accounts to private debt collectors. That process will begin in 2017. And today, the IRS announced the a private collection agencies, or PCAs, that it has selected to do the job. They are: CBE Group 1309 Technology Parkway Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613 Conserve 200 CrossKeys Office Park Fairport, New York 14450 Performant 333 North Canyons Parkway... Read more →


Just when you think you've heard it all, you haven't. Take, for example, a story in today's New York Times recounting how debt collection agencies are using the court system to keep people from getting relief from collectors via, you guessed it, the courts. The story caught my eye because I've had family, friends and neighbors who've been harassed by debt collectors. It's also another example of the questionable, at least ethically if not legally, tactics many in bill collection industry use. And it's a particularly disconcerting story just as the private collection agency folks are about to be forced... Read more →


Congress is still working on a compromise to put the 50+ expired tax extenders back into the tax code, some permanently. The plan is to attach the extenders to the fiscal year 2016 omnibus federal spending bill that must be OK'ed by Dec. 16. Then Representatives and Senators can head out of Washington, D.C., for holiday celebrations back home. Before that happens, though, another bill that also has tax ramifications is likely to clear Congress. The House on Friday afternoon (Dec. 11) handily passed H.R. 644, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015. Also referred to as the... Read more →


Private debt collectors are back in the tax bill business, essentially chauffeured in as part of the new highway funding bill. Click image to read how federal agencies recently shut down four debt collectors for abusive practices. Now private bill collectors will soon be back in the tax debt collection business. In addition, some U.S. passport holders will find that their international travel documents have been pulled, or they can't get or renew them, because they owe $50,000 or more to the Internal Revenue Service. These two provisions are part of H.R. 22, the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST),... Read more →


A highway funding bill is finally moving through Congress. It was stalled for months following the Senate's approval this summer of a transportation bill, but yesterday (Nov. 5) the House approved its highway measure. The two bills must be reconciled by a conference committee. But at least there's some time to smooth out policy potholes. The Highway Trust Fund has money, thanks the latest in a series of short term funding measures, through Nov. 20. One fiscal provision, however, won't have to be hammered out. Both the House and Senate versions of the bill require that the Internal Revenue Service... Read more →


Look out. Some hitchhiking private tax debt collectors could stall the Highway Trust Fund, which already is running on fumes. Claudette Colbert shows Clark Gable how to catch a ride in the classic film It Happened One Night. Their characters were much more welcome hitchhikers than are private collectors of tax debt who are hitching a ride on the Senate bill to pay for the Highway Trust Fund by July 31. Photo/movie trailer screenshot courtesy Wikipedia. The Senate late Wednesday, July 22, finally restarted its transportation funding effort thanks to a 62-36 vote that will let debate on the actual... Read more →


Have you ever owed the Internal Revenue Service money that you just couldn't pay? What about other overdue bills? If you're behind on private sector payments, chances are you'll eventually hear from a debt collector. Now the Senate Finance Committee, via a provision in its tax extenders bill approved on April 3, wants to once again sic private bill collectors on delinquent taxpayers. Near the end of S. 2260, the Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency (EXPIRE) Act -- that's the catchy, acronym-friendly name Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) gave his extenders bill -- is Sec. 304.... Read more →


When the IRS ended its controversial private tax debt collection program in 2009, Commissioner Douglas Shulman echoed the belief of consumer advocates and many members of Congress that such a job was more properly suited to federal employees, not hired hands. "I believe this work is best done by IRS employees, and I believe we have strong support from the Administration and the Congress for increased IRS enforcement resources going forward," said Shulman back then. Apparently the commish was misinformed. A statistical sample of the previous private tax debt collection cases by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA)... Read more →


Private tax debt collectors are back in the news. But this time it's because of local government, not IRS, involvement. "Homeowners on Shaky Footing Could Lose it All Over Taxes," announces the New York Times today on the front page of its national edition. Cash-strapped counties and cities, reports the Times, are selling delinquent tax bills to private firms. It sounds like a good deal. The local governments get a quick infusion of cash and don't have to be bothered with (or paying for) collection efforts. Investors in the tax collection efforts get a risky, but potentially high return, way... Read more →


The controversial private tax debt collection program ends today. But its demise didn't come from Capitol Hill lawmakers, many of whom have, since the program's inception, opposed the outsourcing of some unpaid tax bills to private debt collection agencies. Not that they weren't still trying. The most recent effort was via the comprehensive federal funding bill now awaiting approval and which includes a provision to end the program. Rather the decision came from the IRS. IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman announced yesterday afternoon that he would not renew collection agency contracts. The collection work had been conducted by CBE Group Inc.... Read more →