Federal Manager's Daily Report

The IRS says it will be able to hire 200 additional special compliance personnel by 2020 with revenue brought in by private collection agencies.

The main sponsor of the IRS program under which certain tax debt is turned over to private debt collectors to attempt to collect—and keep a portion of anything paid—Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, says the most recent assessment shows that the program is working well.

A report from an IRS component shows that the program brought in $82 million in 2018 and estimates $114 million in 2019. “As a direct result of the success of the program, the IRS will be able to hire 200 additional special compliance personnel by 2020. This is the most recent in a series of reports that have given me confidence in the program’s ability to make the system fairer for law-abiding citizens while also strengthening the effectiveness of the IRS,” Grassley said.

The current program is the latest in a series that have started and stopped over the years involving debt that the IRS has essentially written off as uncollectable because it needs to focus its available resources on higher-priority collections. It became law in 2015 largely at Grassley’s initiative, six years after a prior program was canceled.

The NTEU union, which represents most IRS employees, has consistently opposed such efforts, saying that any form of tax debt collection is an inherently governmental function and thus should be performed only by the agency’s own employees.