The IRS says it will soon start turning over the accounts of 100 taxpayers a week to four private debt collectors. Complaints about debt collection practices can be made to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
The program will begin this week with a few hundred taxpayers receiving mailings and subsequent phone calls, with the program growing to thousands a week later in the spring and summer. The IRS will not call or email a taxpayer without prior written communication, officials said.
If you have a good reason for needing more time and can demonstrate personal hardship, call the IRS.
Taxpayers would only be assigned to one of these agencies, never all four.
NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 31 federal agencies and departments, including the IRS.
"Subjecting taxpayers who are struggling to make ends meet and can't afford legal representation to private contractors whose sole motivation is to maximize their own profits at the taxpayers' expense is a recipe for disaster", Reardon said.
Donovan says that if people suspect they've gotten a call from an IRS scammer, they should report it to his office by calling 800 649-2424, or by calling the IRS directly at 800 829-1040.
The use of private debt collectors has sparked a political and ideological debate over the value of public employees and government privatization.
You should never be asked to send payment to the firm or to anyone other than the IRS or U.S. Treasury. The U.S. Treasury will apply the refund to any federal or state tax owed. It may take some time, but the IRS will eventually catch up with you. The IRS said officials spent the past year or so designing the program and going through the federal process of selecting the private debt collectors.
"And by far the most prevalent telephone scam in the state of Vermont is the IRS tax scam", Donovan says.
Of course, whenever debt collection is outsourced to the private sector by a government agency, that can provide a boon to scammers posing as federal agents or as the approved debt collection firms.
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"Here's a simple rule to keep in mind".
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in a statement Tuesday that taxpayers should be on the lookout for scammers who might try to trick people. In Rhode Island, it's about 2,900 people with $2,906,000 waiting for them. "If you get a call from someone saying they're from one of these groups and you've paid your taxes, that's a sure sign of a scam". See www.irs.gov/balancedue.
"Well I knew it was a scam, but having a little bit of a background having worked in a prior life as a part-time law enforcement agent, my curiosity got the better of me", says Stephen Trenholm. "We don't collect taxes on iTunes cards or gift cards, and we don't do it with aggressive, threatening phone calls".
The callers are most likely from outside of Vermont, and quite possibly outside the United States, he said.
"We will never use a phone call to threaten to bring in the police or have someone arrested", Murphy added.
· Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
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.
Depending on how much you owe, you may be required to make minimum monthly payments under your installment plan, though if your unpaid balance is $10,000 or below, the IRS may not impose a minimum.
One million taxpayers nationwide are entitled to more than $1 billion in unclaimed 2013 refunds.
Only send payments directly to the IRS. Some of the early cases will involve less than $50,000 owed. Taxpayers can choose this option even if they have not yet received a bill or notice from the IRS.