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Are IRS-hired private debt collectors crossing the line?

What might be worse than having the Internal Revenue Service come after you over a tax debt? Having a party other than the IRS come after you over such a debt, suggests a recent letter issued by four U.S. senators.

There are certain individuals that could end up dealing with private debt collectors in connection to a federal tax debt. This is because of a program the IRS has started, in response to a provision passed by Congress back in 2015, in which the agency sends certain overdue accounts to private collectors.

Currently, there are four debt collection agencies the IRS has hired in relation to this program. The four senators issued their letter after reviewing some of the scripts these companies use in their calls with taxpayers whose accounts they have been assigned. Among the parties the senators sent the letter to are the Treasury Department and the IRS.

In the letter, the senators claim that the collection tactics of one of the companies may cross the line into being abusive and illegal. Among the criticisms leveled against this company in the letter are claims that the company, in its scripts, suggests risky financial strategies to taxpayers to try to get them to pay tax debts.

The allegations in the report echo some concerns individuals have put forward in the wake of the IRS starting to use private debt collectors again. Such concerns include worries that such collectors might push too hard in trying to collect on tax debts, possibly leading to taxpayers facing tactics that are abusive/coercive and which violate their rights.

When a person is facing tax debt collection efforts, whether these efforts are being done by the IRS or a private agency the IRS has hired, it can be vital for them to be aware of their rights. Whether their rights are respected and how they respond to any violations of their rights can have major impacts for individuals who are facing collection actions in relation to a tax debt. Tax law attorneys can advise individuals who are facing tax debt collection tactics from the IRS or a third party on what rights they have and what measures can be taken to protect such rights.

One wonders what impacts the above-mentioned letter and the accusations it contains will have regarding the IRS’s program of using private debt collectors and the discussions surrounding this program.

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