House Appropriators to Pull the Plug on Outsourcing Tax Collection

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The House Appropriations Committee approved the "Financial Services" spending bill last week, which includes funding for the IRS and other agencies within the Treasury, as well as for the District of Columbia and several other agencies. Notably, the bill includes language that limits funding of tax debt collection by private collection agencies to $1 million, effectively killing the IRS's practice of outsourcing tax collection.

The IRS's private debt collection program pays private contractors a commission of 21 to 24 cents for every dollar of tax debt that they recover, while it's estimated that IRS employees can do the job for about 3 cents for every dollar collected. The private contractors are paid on a commission unlike IRS employees, so there is a concern among many that they have an incentive to be overly aggressive and less respectful of taxpayers' privacy rights, a concern echoed by Nina Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate.

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