The main sponsor of a series of initiatives to have private collection of certain tax debt has said the latest iteration of the program is working, based on findings of an internal IRS review.
The report showed that total revenue collected by the program in fiscal 2019 was nearly $213 million, more than double the total of the prior year. The net of almost $148 million, after payments to the contractors, was nearly triple that of 2018.
“This is the most recent in a series of reports that have given me confidence in the program’s ability to make the system better for law-abiding citizens while also strengthening the effectiveness of the IRS,” Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement. He also said that the program to date “has provided more than $60 million to the IRS special compliance program, which the IRS is currently using to hire 200 special compliance personnel.”
The program was created by a 2015 law, which was enacted despite problems with prior programs that ultimately were abandoned. However, reports from the inspector general’s office at the IRS have raised issues including concerns about the security of personal data on taxpayers and concerns that taxpayers are not living up to more than half of the repayment arrangements they made with the collection agencies. The IRS itself further has put out several warnings about scammers pretending to be an authorized collection agency under the program.
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.