Posts Tagged ‘private collection’

Because you can’t trust private agencies to collect taxes

Thursday, November 10th, 2011 by Joe Kristan

The IRS shut down its pilot program to use private collection agencies to pursue some tax delinquents in 2009. We were told the IRS was more effective at collecting the taxes. Now the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has a report showing how that’s worked out:

When the PDC Program was discontinued in March 2009, the IRS recalled cases with a total assessed balance of $848.5 million from the remaining contractors. TIGTA reviewed the effectiveness of collection actions taken by the IRS on taxpayer accounts returned by the PDC Program.
The IRS did not always pursue collection actions on cases returned to the IRS or analyze the best practices of the private debt collection agencies in the PDC Program for possible improvement of IRS collection practices, TIGTA found.

TIGTA reviewed a statistical sample of 62 cases returned in Fiscal Year 2009 and found that collection actions were not taken for 29 (47 percent) of the 62 cases. These cases were not selected for collection action due to collection policies and inventory assignment practices. TIGTA estimates that potentially $30.7 million in collections will remain as outstanding liabilities. In addition, TIGTA estimates that the IRS may not collect an additional $103.2 million per year, or $516 million over the next five years, from similar cases in its inventory that would have otherwise been assigned to the PDC Program.

While I hate to ever agree with politicians, I agree with Senator Grassley’s take, as reported by Tax Analysts ($link):

“The IRS assured us all that the agency could do a better job with these tax cases than outside firms and didn’t need any help. It turns out that the IRS isn’t doing a better job and in many cases, isn’t doing the job at all,” Grassley said in a statement. “The IRS and Treasury Department went out of their way to stop a means of collecting tax debt that the IRS otherwise will never collect. They bowed to union pressure and terminated an alternative collection program before it had a chance to reach its full potential. It’s a shame the IRS continues to let tax debt slide while honest taxpayers pay what they owe. The agency should explain why that’s the case. And the Administration should be focused on collecting existing taxes owed before trying to impose new taxes, as is being suggested in deficit reduction proposals.”

But the lost revenues collections jobs don’t count, because they weren’t Treasury Employee Union jobs anyway.
UPDATE 11/14: Kay Bell has more.


We can’t use private contractors to do tax work because they might misuse the data

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010 by Joe Kristan

The AP reports that Farrah Jones has pleaded guilty to preparing a false return, using data she illicitly acquired while processing taxpayer information to claim refunds on behalf of others. That would pretty much seal the case against allowing her employer to handle confidential information, because obviously there is an inherent flaw in their procedures or culture. It’s a good thing they shut down the pilot program for private collection of tax debts.
Except Ms. Jones worked for the IRS.
While this is only one IRS employee, it’s one more abuse of private information than was ever linked to the private collection program.
Related: Good thing Congress banned the outsourcing of federal tax collections


Let’s make a deal

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 by Joe Kristan

Though doubts sometimes arise about this, IRS agents are human, too. That means they are subject to normal human vices. Peter Pappas passes on on WebCPA report of an agent accused of going bad in Minnesota:

Roger Anthony Coombs, 40, of Circle Pines, Minn., was charged with one count of corruptly soliciting and agreeing to receive and accept anything of value personally in return for being influenced in the performance of an official act.
The criminal complaint was unsealed upon Coombs


Good thing private collection agencies no longer menace taxpayer confidentiality

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010 by Joe Kristan

From the Taxprof:

TIGTA: IRS Releases Confidential Information to Callers Without Proper Authentication in 16% of Cases, Subjecting Taxpayers to Risk of Identity Theft

Peter Pappas has more.
Background: Treasury to shut down private collection


Two Taxpayer Advocates in one!

Thursday, January 7th, 2010 by Joe Kristan

Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson came out with her annual report yesterday. She says of the IRS, “This level of service is unacceptable.”
Funny. Not long ago she led the charge to shut down the pilot program to have private collection agencies collect some overdue federal taxes. Based on her criticisms of private collection, you’d have thought IRS was the gold standard of customer service.


Only trust official Treasury employees to steal your mail

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 by Joe Kristan

Earlier this year the pilot program to collect some federal income taxes using private collection agencies was killed. That’s because you can only trust federal employees to do this sort of work, as outlined in a Justice Department press release:

Latrice Antionette Murray, 38, of Kansas City, Mo., was charged in a five-count indictment that was returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City on Sept. 8, 2009. That indictment was unsealed and made public upon Murray’s arrest this morning and initial court appearance.
Murray is employed at the IRS facility at 333 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City, Mo., where her duties include mail processing.
As a batch of incoming mail is sorted for delivery to various individuals at the Pershing Road facility, some mail is identified as misdirected or misdelivered mail and is placed in a mail bucket so it can be returned to the Postal Service for delivery to the intended addressee. Based on reports that misdelivered mail was being opened rather than being returned to the Postal Service, a hidden video surveillance camera was installed in the administrative mail room. According to the indictment, the video taken by the hidden surveillance camera confirmed that Murray rifled through the misdelivered mail, opened it, and took contents from the mail.
The federal indictment charges Murray with five counts of stealing mail between Feb. 9 and April 9, 2009.

Who knows what chaos would ensue if you let private contractors do your mail-stealing.
More from WebCPA
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Make sure your crimes are committed by unionized Treasury employees.

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 by Joe Kristan

Congress this year ended the pilot program to outsource collection of delinquent taxes to private collections. Opponents of the program insisted that private collectors just couldn’t be trusted to deal with taxpayers fairly, honestly and confidentially. Only official government employees, ideally members of the Treasury Employees union, can be trusted with such delicate and important work.
Like this:

A revenue officer for the Internal Revenue Service has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that he urged people who owed taxes to refinance with a mortgage company for which he worked.
Mark Claybrooks, 41, of Brentwood worked as an IRS revenue officer in Walnut Creek, contacting people who were delinquent with their taxes. From 2003 to 2005, he also worked for Faith Mortgage Group in Antioch, refinancing personal-residence loans.
From 2002 to 2008, Claybrooks recommended to at least two people that they “pay off delinquent federal income tax obligations by refinancing with Faith Mortgage Group,” according to an indictment handed up Wednesday by a grand jury in Oakland.

Good thing the poor taxpayers were protected from the scourge of private collection agencies.
Related Coverage:
Tax Prof
Kay Bell
Tax Rascal
Monica Lawver, with additional examples of the importance of unionized government tax employees.


Good thing Congress banned the outsourcing of federal tax collections

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 by Joe Kristan

Now that the IRS private collection program has been closed, all collection action is undertaken by IRS agents, who invariably perform at the highest level of professionalism. For example:

IRS agent Albert Bront, 49, of Valencia, California, screamed


Private tax collection zapped in spending bill

Friday, February 27th, 2009 by Joe Kristan

In a victory for the Treasury Employees union, the House of Representatives voted to kill the pilot private debt collection program for tax debts. While opposition is cloaked in concerns about taxpayer privacy, it’s really about protecting the union’s turf. Unless, of course, you believe the IRS is the gold standard of protecting taxpayer information.
Kay Bell has more