Private collection agencies working accounts placed by the Internal Revenue Service have collected $32 million in the past two months, according to data released by the agency.
For the 2018 Fiscal Year, which ended on Sept. 30, 2018, the four agencies working on behalf of the IRS recovered $82 million in payments, compared with $6.6 million during the 2017 Fiscal Year, in which the program kicked off.
The program cost the IRS $31 million, leaving a net balance of $51 million added to the agency’s coffers as a result of the efforts of the four agencies — CBE, ConServe, Performant, and Pioneer Credit. CBE led the way among the four agencies, collecting $24.3 million during the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, followed by Pioneer Credit at $20.1 million, ConServe at $19.3 million, and Performant at $17.9 million. Combined, the four agencies also entered into installment plans with more than 21,000 individuals, representing $135 million in yet-to-be-repaid back taxes.
“Letting those who shirk their tax responsibilities off the hook isn’t fair to law-abiding taxpayers who do pay their taxes. I’m glad this program is helping make the system fairer for those who fulfill their civic responsibility and follow the law,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley [R-Iowa], a member of the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation. “The IRS private debt collection program continues to prove its value. The most recent data again shows that revenue returned to the U.S. Treasury exceeds all associated program costs. That’s something we don’t often see here in Washington.”
The private collection agency program has been blasted by some for targeted lower-income individuals and not providing strong enough results to justify its continued operation. A number of Democrats have proposed legislation to end the program.