From 2006 through 2009, the IRS contracted with a number of private debt collection companies with very limited success. In fact the IRS argued that it could be more efficient handling the work internally.
In the recently passed Federal Highway Funding bill, Congress has restarted the use of private debt collection companies. The private firms will pursue tax debt that is not in the IRS’s active collection inventory, has not been assigned to an IRS employee or for which a year has passed since the IRS interacted with the taxpayer.
I am all in favor of everyone paying their fair share of the federal tax burden and on the surface it seems like a great idea to track down those who owe the government money and have them pony up.
BUT this practice also opens the door for scammers. The IRS already receives numerous complaints of people falsely attempting to collect tax debt. These thieves contact taxpayers and demand immediate payment in the face of stiff fines and confiscation of personal assets.
If you receive a letter or call from the IRS, or a debt collection representing that it works for the IRS or even someone who purports to have authority to approach you concerning tax debt, do not engage them. Rather get professional help for a reputable tax CPA or tax attorney. This is not a time to go it alone, professionals understand the tax law, what can and cannot be negotiated and can save you money and aggravation.