The Forst City Summit, a publication of the Globe Gazette of Mason City, Iowa, published a Q&A today with U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) about the IRS private debt collection program, and his questioning of Steven Mnuchin, Trump's pick for Treasury Secretary.
Grassley was straightforward about his long-standing support for the program. He said:
According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the IRS has more than $130 billion of debt on its books. This so-called inactive debt is sitting in limbo until a 10-year window of enforcement closes the collection window for good.
Firewalls are in place to protect taxpayers. First, taxpayers would be notified by mail that their outstanding debt has been turned over to a private debt collection company. Second, all payments are required to be processed directly by the IRS, not through third parties. The private debt collection program is another tool for the IRS to collect taxes that are owed and not in dispute.
Finally, he suggested that Trump's pick for Treasury Secretary, who oversees the IRS, is on the same page:
I’m glad treasury secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin and I see eye to eye on these important tools to collect unpaid taxes.
On September 26, 2016, the IRS announced plans to begin private collection of certain overdue federal tax debts next spring and has selected four contractors to implement the new program. The complete press release can be found here. The new program, authorized under a federal law enacted by Congress in December 2015, enables designated contractors to collect, on the government’s behalf, outstanding inactive tax receivables.
As a condition of receiving a contract, the agencies selected must respect taxpayer rights including, among other things, abiding by the consumer protection provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The IRS has selected the following contractors to carry out this program: CBE Group (Cedar Falls, Iowa), ConServe (Fairport, N.Y.), Performant (Livermore, Calif.) and Pioneer (Horseheads, N.Y.).
insideARM has also written about the recent scams, and the challenges they pose to legitimate collectors for the IRS.