In 2015, Congress enacted legislation requiring the IRS to outsource the collection of certain tax debt. The IRS began assigning tax debts to private collection agencies (PCAs) in April 2017. According to the IRS, for Fiscal Year 2017 the Private Debt Collection program generated $6.7 million of payments from taxpayers, but cost $20 million. At the same time, the IRS pays commissions to PCAs on payments from taxpayers that are attributable to IRS, rather than PCA, action. The recent returns of approximately 4,100 taxpayers who made payments to the IRS after their debts were assigned to PCAs show: Median income was about $41,000; 28 percent had incomes below $20,000; and 44 percent had incomes below 250 percent of the federal poverty level.
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