After conducting an extensive review of their use of outside private debt collectors, the IRS has decided to eliminate the program in its entirety. The program lasted for all of 30 months.
But the IRS is not standing still. This is not a downsizing mode. The IRS is beefing up collection efforts.
Significantly, the IRS will replace the private debt collectors with a hire of over 1,000 new internal collection officers. This is significant as the private debt collectors had no ability to take any enforcement action against taxpayers. They were used as what amounted to an outsourced IRS call center.
By comparison, internal IRS collection officers have access to a wide range of enforcement tools – levy, lien, seizure and the power to summons – as well as the ability to conduct detailed investigations and visit a taxpayer’s home and business.
In announcing the new collection hires, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman stated “I believe this work is best done by IRS employees, and I believe we have strong support from the Administration and the Congress for increased IRS enforcement resources going forward.” So much for kinder and gentler in a troubling economy.
As the year progresses, time will tell how these hires are disbursed – into local enforcement efforts (Revenue Officers) or centralized processing (Automated Collection Service).