A new law lets the IRS use contractors to collect unpaid tax debts. Here's how to tell the difference between a legitimate debt collector and a scammer.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has changed the way it deals with overdue taxes, and that means third party collection agencies may now call you on the phone.
Like the IRS, Better Business Bureau (BBB) is concerned this change might lead to scammers trying new ways to trick people. Here is what you need to know about this program that started in April 2017.
A federal law signed in 2015 lets four contractors collect unpaid tax debts for the government. According to the IRS, these are unpaid tax debts that were assessed several years ago and which the agency is no longer trying to collect directly.
All four of the companies contracted by the IRS are BBB Accredited Businesses:
1309 Technology Pkwy
Cedar Falls, IA 50613
200 CrossKeys Office park
Fairport, NY 14450
333 N Canyons Pkwy
Livermore, CA 94551
325 Daniel Zenker Dr
Horseheads, NY 14845
There are many ways to tell whether a call you receive about tax debts is legitimate. According to the IRS, people with overdue taxes will always receive multiple contacts, including letters and phone calls, from the IRS first. The IRS will also always notify taxpayers before sending their accounts to a private collection agency.
Here’s how it will work, and how you can tell the difference between a legitimate debt collector and a scammer:
The IRS adds that private collection firms will only be calling about tax debts that people have had for years and that they have been contacted about previously. Taxpayers can confirm they have an unpaid tax debt from a previous year by visiting www.irs.gov/balancedue.
BBB reminds all consumers, particularly those who have outstanding tax debts, that the IRS will explain this new process clearly and will make every attempt to work with them to set up payment plans. They will also give taxpayers the chance to question or appeal the amount owed.
For more information and updates, you can visit: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/private-debt-collection
Last Reviewed April 12, 2017