IRS to use private collection agencies to contact taxpayers who owe money

IRS to use private collection agencies to contact taxpayers who owe money
iStock / peanut8481
Click here to read more about The Heritage Foundation report. Click here for this year's White House Taxpayer Receipt, which breaks down your tax contributions according to your income level.

The Internal Revenue Service is beginning the collection of overdue taxes through a new program, using four private contractors to contact people who owe taxes.

Starting this month, the private firms will start contacting people who have unpaid tax bills after years of failed attempts to contact from the IRS.

The IRS will first send a letter informing the person they are transferring their collection to an agency. The agency will also send you a letter.

The Better Business Bureau said this is big news because they have always told people the IRS won’t contact you through a third party, but now they will.

“These are debts that people have had for several years so if you are getting this letter, you shouldn’t be surprised because you’ve already been contacted in previous years by the IRS,” said Anna Bruggeman with the Better Business Bureau.

Bruggeman said there are red flags you should watch out for as scammers try to use this information to trick people.

“Any time somebody is on the phone threatening and wanting payment, demanding it right there and then, it’s not coming from one of the collection agencies collaborating with the IRS,” said Bruggeman.

She said even if a third-party collector contacts you on behalf of the IRS, you will still pay the IRS directly, either through their website or by sending a check to the U.S. Treasury.

There are four collection agencies involved in the new program. Their names are CBE in Waterloo, IA, ConServe in Fairport, NY, Performant in Pleasanton, CA, and Pioneer in Horseheads, NY.

The BBB said you should only trust letters and calls from these agencies, although scammers will try to use similar names.