IRS outsources tax collection

SCOTT JAGOW: That government agency you love to hate is stirring things up again. The Internal Revenue Service launches a new program today to go after deliquent taxpayers. The IRS is gonna use private collection agencies to track down people who owe. More now from Nancy Marshall Genzer.


NANCY MARSHALL GENZER: The IRS is always short changed, collecting almost $300 billion less than what it's owed every year.

The agency's head of collections, Brady Bennett, says the IRS turned to the private collectors, so law abiding taxpayers wouldn't feel like chumps.
BRADY BENNETT:"This is about fairness. We want to ensure that taxpayers pay the correct amount. And when the taxpayer doesn't pay that then we have an obligation to pursue that.

But Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense is worried that private collectors will harass taxpayers, or lose their records, leading to identity theft.

STEVE ELLIS:"That's gonna be a concern as well -- sort of digging into the details and the records. And this is somebody that doesn't have the same strings attached to them necessarily that a public employee would."

The IRS says the private collectors will be trained and monitored. Still, some members of Congress are threatening to hold back funding for the collectors in next year's budget.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

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