In a recent announcement, the IRS notified all taxpayers that outside collection of past-due tax bills is now beginning in mid-April 2017. This is a direct result of Congressional action in late 2015 requiring the IRS to turn over to outside companies billions in uncollected taxes it is no longer pursuing. This will impact all of us. Here is what you need to know.
Turn up your scam alert. Rest assured the tax-related identity theft epidemic is going to hit a new high as scam artists now will try to impersonate collection agencies. Never pay a collection agency directly for any tax owed. If you do not think you owe money to the IRS, ask for help.
Only four agencies have been authorized. Only four collection agencies have been authorized to collect unpaid taxes for the IRS. They are:
- ConServe, of Fairport, New York
- Pioneer, of Horseheads, New York
- Performant, of Pleasanton, California
- CBE Group, of Cedar Falls, Iowa
You will receive written notice...twice. Before an outside agency calls you, the IRS will send two written notices to you and your representative about the transfer of the bill to an outside collection agency. Without these notices, you must assume any contact with a collection agency saying they represent the IRS is a scam.
No payment to the agency. These collection agencies may not receive direct payment. You will be asked to use the IRS online payment system or to send your payment into the IRS. Payment is to be made to the U.S. Treasury and not to the collection agency.
The IRS has announced collection activity will now be starting, so be prepared and ask for help if you are impacted by this change within the IRS.