We’ve emphasized before the power the Internal Revenue Service has in collecting tax debt. For this reason, a visit from an IRS revenue officer is going to be an extremely intimidating experience. Now, in response to an order from Congress, the IRS announced its intention to allow private contractors to collect on certain back taxes.
While hoping to make such a measure operational by spring, such a proposal is controversial. It seems Congress ordered this measure while providing the IRS little discretion regarding the collection practices. It’s important to note that two prior efforts by the federal government to use private collectors in tax collection matters were unsuccessful.
From the perspective of the IRS, this will allow for more efficient collection of tax debt. However, from the perspective of one consumer lawyer, this opens the door for fraud and abuse. This includes the possibility of unscrupulous individuals posing as tax collectors. “Now they [the tax payers] don’t know if it’s a real private contractor or a scam,” the attorney stated. So it appears such an idea can only be successful so long as there are protections for taxpayers. There needs to be in place safeguards ensuring that those performing collection tasks are performing legitimate work for the IRS.
We always stress that it is best not to deal with revenue officers alone. It’s important to have someone on your side to advise you regarding your rights and your best course of action. The IRS may use any statements or information you volunteer against you.
The same thing applies when dealing with private collectors. Even when engaged in a legitimate tax collection effort, the tax collector will be working for the IRS and not for you. If you have questions or concerns regarding collection practices, consider having an experienced tax attorney advise you as to the best course of action.