Private collection agencies will work on accounts where taxpayers owe money, but the IRS is not actively working them. Several factors contribute to the IRS assigning these accounts to private collection agencies, including older, overdue tax accounts or lack of resources preventing the IRS from working the cases.
The IRS will give taxpayers and their representative written notice that the accounts are being transferred to the private collection agencies. The agencies will send a second, separate letter to the taxpayer and their representative confirming this transfer.
Private collection agencies will be able to identify themselves as contractors of the IRS collecting taxes. Employees of these collection agencies must follow provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and should be courteous and respect taxpayer rights.
The IRS will do everything it can to help taxpayers avoid confusion and understand their rights and tax responsibilities, particularly in light of continual phone scams where callers impersonate IRS agents and request immediate payment.
Private collection agencies will not ask for payment on a prepaid debit, iTunes or gift card. Taxpayers will be informed about electronic payment options for taxpayers on IRS.gov/Pay Your Tax Bill. Payment by check should be payable to the U.S. Treasury and sent directly to IRS, not the private collection agency.
The IRS will continue to keep taxpayers informed about scams and provide tips for protecting themselves. The IRS encourages taxpayers to visit the Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts page for more information.
Accounts Excluded from Collection with Private Collection Agencies
IRS will exclude accounts from collection with private collection agencies involving taxpayers who are:
- Under the age of 18
- In designated combat zones
- Victims of tax-related identity theft
- Recipients of supplemental security income (SSI) or social security disability insurance (SSDI)
- Adjusted gross income does not exceed 200% of the applicable poverty level
- Currently under examination, litigation, criminal investigation or levy
- Subject to pending or active offers in compromise
- Subject to an installment agreement
- Subject to a right of appeal
- Classified as innocent spouse cases
- In presidentially declared disaster areas and requesting relief from collection