The IRS has begun using private collection companies to collect tax debts of over two years old. This opens the door for scammers, who may claim they are the IRS and ask for a phone or money transfer via phone or email. It is important to distinguish between the actual IRS and scam artists. People acting as tax preparers who charge absorbent preparation fees, and fake tax websites are things to watch out for. The four collection agencies working for the government to collect debts are: CBE Group, ConServe, Performant, and Pioneer. Any collector claiming to work for a different company from these four agencies or the IRS is likely a scammer.
6 Ways to Tell If an IRS Contact Is Legitimate
- The debt must be at least two years old.
- You will not be asked to pay over the phone with a credit or debit card, the IRS will inform you of electronic payment options on IRS.gov.
- You will first receive a letter about your debt from the IRS, not a cold call.
- Your payment will only be sent to one collection company.
- Debt collectors can legally only call you between 9a.m. and 8p.m.
- A debt collector cannot threaten to arrest you.
If your debt collectors are legitimate, but are breaking any of these rules, please file a complaint with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. You can always make payments and check your balance on IRS.gov. Please do not make a payment to anyone else besides the IRS.
What If You Cannot Pay the Debt Immediately?
The IRS is willing to negotiate a repayment plan for debts you owe on taxes. On their website, there is information regarding online monthly installment plans and other repayment options. If your debt is extreme, contacting a bankruptcy attorney can help you figure out the most efficient way to settle your debts.
Dealing with Tax Debt Through Bankruptcy
If your tax debt is too unmanageable, declaring bankruptcy could be your best option for getting the Government off your back. In some cases, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can eliminate your tax debt. Chapter 13 bankruptcy can allow you to repay your debt over a long period of time, making payments smaller and more manageable.
Washington D.C. bankruptcy attorney Kevin D. Judd gives free case consultations to people with tax debt concerns.