IRS to Use Debt Collection Agencies to Pursue Overdue Taxes

So, does anyone remember that scam out of India where people were posing as IRS agents or debt collectors working for the IRS? Nine call centers employing as many as 700 people were where a highly organized scam was perpetrated on as many as 450,000 US taxpayers by 24-year-old mastermind Sagar Thakkar – now under arrest. In operation since 2012, at its height, the scam netted as much as $225,000 a day. So it’s hard to imagine that some member of the Bozo Brigade was able to get this idea past the Bureau of We Really Shouldn’t Do That.

 

Yet, here it is.

 

But wait! There’s more.

 

Remember when the IRS warned us about scammers using this very type of behavior? It’s still on the Dirty Dozen list of tax scams for this year. The IRS selected four agencies to do the collecting, and one of them – Pioneer Credit Recovery – was cut loose from collecting student loans by the Department of Education just last year.

 

How Much?

 

What’s not in dispute is the $138 billion in uncollected taxes that are due from 14 million accounts in arrears. The politicians in support of this move point to that figure as revenue that is missing from the books, needed to provide vital services. Opponents point to the fact that debt collectors have engaged in such shady and outright criminal behavior that the industry is regulated by the Federal Government. Furthermore, the IRS has used debt collection agencies twice before, and both times the program collected negligible amounts of money, while costing more than it brought in.

 

Scammer or Debt Collector?

 

If you are contacted by someone claiming to be an IRD agent, or someone who is claiming that they are collecting for the IRS, here are some signs of a scam.

 

  • Demand immediate payment while threatening you with arrest if you do not comply.
  • Refusing to send a bill that verifies the amount that they day you owe.
  • Telling you that there is no appeals process, or no appeal until you’ve paid – then they will refund the difference if you’ve overpaid.
  • Demanding payment with a credit or debit card over the phone.
  • Demanding you pay via bank transfer, wire, Paypal, sending a money order or certified check, or purchase gift cards and send them as payment.

Report any of the above actions immediately. Remember, caller ID is your friend, and some of the numbers showing up might show an overseas area code, or that the call is from a wireless user.

 

Call Van Horn Law Group

 

If you owe taxes, or if you don’t think you do but are being contacted about a tax debt, it can be pretty scary. However, hiding from the IRS will not make the problem go away. Taxpayers have rights, and a free consultation at our West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale office can let you know how to proceed. We can help with complicated cases and be your advocate as well. The IRS has experienced attorneys on their side, and so should you.

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Chad Van Horn

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