The Private Debt Collection program where a handful of collection agencies are working accounts on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service nearly tripled the amount of money it collected during the 2019 fiscal year, compared with a year earlier, and nearly tripled its profits as well.
The data was released yesterday by the IRS. It had previously announced it was doubling the amount of staff it dedicated to the Private Debt Collection program.
The four agencies collected a total of $212 million during the 2019 fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30. That is up from $82.1 million during the 2018 fiscal year and $6.5 million during the 2017 fiscal year, when the program was re-started. After factoring out the IRS’s costs, the net profit for the 2019 fiscal year was $147.7 million, up from $51 million in 2018 and a loss of $13 million in 2017.
Of the four agencies being used by the IRS, CBE had the highest amount collected and the highest collection rate, followed by Pioneer Credit, then ConServe, and Performant. CBE collected $56 million at a rate of 1.33% of the accounts which were assigned to it. Pioneer collected $54.7 million at a rate of 1.3%. ConServe collected $52 million at a rate of 1.23% and Performant collected $49.9 million at a rate of 1.18%.
“Numbers don’t lie. With every successive quarter, the data show that the Private Debt Collection program is working for taxpayers and making our system of tax collection fairer for every American,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley [R-Iowa], the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and one of the biggest proponents of the Private Debt Collection program, in a statement. “This is the most recent in a series of reports that have given me confidence in the program’s ability to make the system better for law-abiding citizens while also strengthening the effectiveness of the IRS.”