What you need to know about new IRS debt collection program

What you need to know about new IRS debt collection program

Taxpayers can choose to either use IRS Free File or go to a community tax-help site for free tax preparation and assistance.

The resumption of the program comes amid a wave of telephone scams in which fake government agents contact taxpayers asking for the payment. But in 2015, Congress passed a law that requires the IRS to restart the program.

"The data book and its consistency year-to-year help illustrate trends over time, ranging from the increasing size of the taxpayer population to the decreasing size of the IRS workforce, " Koskinen said. One way to tell if you're talking to a real collection agency or a scammer: All checks for back taxes are written directly to the IRS. According to the IRS, people with overdue taxes will always receive multiple contacts-letters and phone calls-from the IRS first, not private debt collectors.

The IRS said its private collection agencies will not be aggressive, will never threaten arrest and would not request a freaky form of payment. Then the designated firm will send its own letter confirming that it will handle your case.

If you know how to play the audit game, you can minimize your risk of getting slapped with extra tax charges.

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The first two weeks of April are typically the busiest for the IRS, as they take thousands of calls every hour. If you use one of these accepted payment methods, you will be provided with a confirmation number for your records.

Filing for an extension will give you until October 16 to file your tax return.

In order to avoid errors on their forms, the IRS encourages people to apply electronically, check their math and include the correct routing and account numbers, among other things. Often the dread starts with just the basics of having to deal with taxes, but it certainly increases if someone thinks they owe money to the government. Not only will liens cost you money and leave you with a headache in dealing with the IRS, liens can damage your personal and business credit scores, depending on how the lien is filed. To learn more about the new private debt collection program, visit the Private Debt Collection page on IRS.gov. If you're one of the unfortunate taxpayers in this particular situation, don't panic. "We will be watching closely for any such schemes as the private collection program gets underway". You can have the IRS split your refund across a number of accounts, perhaps some less accessible than your checking account, and thus keep that windfall from slipping through your fingers.

"The next step will be a phone call from the private firm to the taxpayer", Murphy said. In 2016, tax-related identity theft reports fell by more than 50 percent, resulting in 275,000 fewer victims of tax fraud than in the prior year.

Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed. Up till now, tax professionals have been able to reassure clients that the IRS would never harass consumers over the phone. These include the ability to postpone, extend or suspend collection activities for limited periods of time; making available flexible payment schedules; the possibility of waiving late penalties or postponing asset seizures and Offers In Compromise (OIC), an agreement between a struggling taxpayer and the agency that settles a tax debt for less than the full amount owed.

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