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The National Taxpayer Advocate Responds To Private Debt Collectors’ Contentions

Nina Olson, IRS Use Of Debt Collectors

Last week, I returned from vacation to read a press release from a newly formed organization consisting of private debt collection (PDC) agencies working IRS accounts. “Nina Olsen [sic] has consistently made false and misleading claims about the IRS and its Private Debt Collection Program to advance her own political agenda,” the organization’s spokesperson asserted.

While I don’t often take the time to respond to ad personam attacks, this one deals with a core IRS program, so I think it deserves a response – particularly given some of the questionable claims it made.

It’s no secret that I believe the collection of taxes is a core governmental function that should not be outsourced to for-profit businesses that are paid on commission. I have written about the use of private collection agencies (PCAs) repeatedly in my annual reports to Congress and elsewhere. But it is worth taking a moment to summarize the basis of my concerns. While others have investigated the practices used by private collection agencies, my focus has been on IRS policies and IRS administration of the statutory program.

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