The Internal Revenue Service has always wanted your money.
Now we know they’re very serious about getting it.
In a recent announcement, the IRS revealed that it is now going to be using private debt collection agencies to help retrieve what is, reportedly, an ever-increasing mountain of tax debt owed by John Q. Public.
According to an item from NBC News on the IRS’s new effort at collecting unpaid taxes, the agency will make a more gradual move toward the use of debt collectors. Initially, “merely” hundreds of taxpayers will begin hearing from collection agencies, but, as the year wears on, it’s expected that thousands of people will receive communications from debt collection companies weekly in relation to tax bills.
Although IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has said that “the IRS is taking steps throughout this effort to ensure that the private collection firms work responsibly and respect taxpayer rights,” it’s worth noting that this is the same John Koskinen who was overseeing the IRS during the period of time it was targeting conservative groups in an effort to either deny or delay the awarding of the tax-exempt statuses for which they had applied.
Koskinen also noted that “the IRS also urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for scammers who might use this program as a cover to trick people.” Some fear that the decision by the IRS to start using third-party private debt collectors will be a boon to those fraudsters who will now be unburdened of having to pretend to be actual IRS employees.
In addition to a bevy of consumer groups worried about the IRS taking this path, some IRS employees are voicing their displeasure with it, as well. Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, issued a statement in which he said, in part, that he believes this change will result in “collection agents getting paid to harass taxpayers, many of whom need assistance, not threats.”
By Robert G. Yetman, Jr.