The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is trying to reboot efforts to outsource tax debt collection efforts.
What does this mean? This means that four different companies are now allowed to contact and demand payment from taxpayers. The companies are CBE Group, Conserve, Performant and Pioneer. Any other company claiming to act as a private agency on behalf of the IRS to collect tax debt is likely a fraud.
It is also important to note that although these companies are tasked with gathering tax debt payments, they do not directly receive the payment. Instead, any payments that are taken are instructed to be sent to the IRS either through the mail or through the IRS.gov website. Any request for payment by other means is likely a sign of fraudulent activity.
Will the practice continue? As noted in a recent piece by CBS News, this is not the first time the federal agency has tried outsourcing these efforts. Back in 2004 the IRS used private agencies to collect tax debt. The process failed. Various problems emerged, including issues with the cost and complaints from taxpayers.
It seems history is repeating itself. Complaints from taxpayers are already noted, and some of these complaints appear to show that at least one of the private firms in use is using illegal and abusive collection practices.
Even if the use of these firms is phased out, they are currently still valid. As such, if you are contacted by one of these firms it is wise to seek legal counsel. An experienced attorney can review the situation and allegations and provide guidance as to your legal options.