IRS to use private debt collectors amid huge telephone scam

Posted April 05, 2017

Attorney General T.J. Donovan wants everyone to know this ahead of the April 18 filing deadline.

The agency this week will start sending letters to a few hundred people informing them that their accounts are being transferred to private debt collection agencies. But remember that an extension gives you an extra six months to file your paperwork, but not an extra six months to pay any taxes due. "The IRS also urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for scammers who might use this program as a cover to trick people".

IRS officials say they are anxious about scammers who may try to masquerade as a legitimate IRS-approved debt collector, which is why they've added precautions, such as alerting taxpayers in writing that their past due accounts are being turned over to a PCA.

Current and prior year tax forms and instructions are available on IRS.gov. During this time, the IRS won't come after you for your missing taxes provided you keep up with the terms of your agreement.

The four companies the IRS has selected to handle collections are CBE, ConServe, Performant and Pioneer. As it progresses, the agency will assign larger, more complicated cases to the private collectors, said Bill Banowsky, who will head the program for the IRS. To protect the taxpayer's privacy and security, both the IRS letter and the collection firm's letter will contain information that will help taxpayers identify the tax amount owed and assure taxpayers that future collection agency calls they may receive are legitimate.

Only send payments directly to the IRS. If they do not file a returnwithin three years, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury.

While a payment plan will make it easier for you to pay off your tax debt, you'll still face interest charges on your unpaid balance. However, new developments in how the IRS is collecting some debt could cause some confusion. Collectors must be courteous and respect taxpayers rights.

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Taxes, Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan, and Capstone Community Action are warning Vermonters about IRS tax scams and encouraging Vermonters to report scams and access free tax preparation services.

Indeed, the agency conducted just 1.2 million examinations of tax returns in 2013, a 16 percent decline from audits the previous year.

The IRS may hold 2013 refunds if taxpayers have not filed tax returns for 2014 and 2015.

"I want people to know this is happening and what they should do in the event that this happens to them", she said.

Be prepared to lose in Tax Court if you challenge the IRS.

Speaking at the Savannah Chamber's SMART lunch Tuesday, local tax attorney Jeffrey Williamson said the IRS is sitting on more than $1 billion in unclaimed refunds for an estimated one million taxpayers who didn't file a return in 2013. If you're a salaried employee, adjust your withholdings to have enough tax taken out up front. So now, with authorized debt collectors out there trying to collect taxes on behalf of the IRS, how is the average consumer supposed to distinguish between real and phony debt collectors? Payment will always be to the United States Treasury.

"We will never use a phone call to threaten to bring in the police or have someone arrested", Murphy added. Usually, there isn't a penalty or interest associated with this error (since you've already included a check or electronic payment if you owed), so the IRS will just send a notice asking for a valid signature, but it will delay the processing of your return.

· Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.