The IRS has put out a new pamphlet to explain its new policy of using private debt collection agencies to squeeze people who haven’t paid their taxes: What You Can Expect When the IRS Assigns Your Account to a Private Collection Agency. Here’s an interesting excerpt:
Private collection agencies under contract with us to collect overdue tax accounts are required to conform to the rules, regulations, and provisions of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. Specific provisions of this act prohibit private collection agencies from threatening or intimidating taxpayers. This law also provides for you to request your account be resolved by the original account holder (the IRS) rather than the assigned private collection agency.
If you do not wish to work with your assigned private collection agency to settle your overdue tax account, you must submit your request in writing to the private collection agency. Private collection agencies cannot take any type of enforcement action against you to collect this debt (such as filing a Federal Tax Lien or issuing a levy). However, the IRS does have the legal authority to take these type of enforcement actions to collect an overdue account.
Additional information on the program is found in these IRS publications and pages: