The law requires the IRS to use private agencies to collect certain outstanding inactive tax debts. Before you’re contacted by a private collection agency, or PCA, you’ll receive two letters:

  • Notice CP40 and Publication 4518 to let you know that your overdue tax account was assigned to a private collection contractor.
  • An initial contact letter from the PCA with information on how to resolve your overdue taxes.

Both letters will contain a Taxpayer Authentication Number to confirm your identity and to verify that the agency is legitimate. No agency representing the IRS will call, email or text you to make first contact.

If your tax debt has been transferred to a private collection contractor, you will be contacted by one of these four PCAs on the government’s behalf:

  • CBE of Waterloo, Iowa.
  • ConServe of Fairport, New York.
  • Performant of Pleasanton, California.
  • Pioneer of Horseheads, New York.

Once you receive a notice, verify that the agent is one of the PCAs listed above. The agent will ask you a series of questions to make sure he or she is talking to the correct person. You’ll be asked to repeat portions of your Taxpayer Authentication Number.

You can expect courtesy, professionalism and respect of your taxpayer rights as the PCA works with you to resolve your overdue taxes. The IRS expects its representatives to collect back taxes without threatening citizens. But if you feel that the PCA acted inappropriately, here’s how to report it:

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration or TIGTA Hotline Complaints Unit:

By phone:
Call toll-free: 1-800-366-4484

By fax:

By mail:
Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration Complaints Unit Hotline
P.O. Box 589
Ben Franklin Station
Washington, DC 20044-0589

The TIGTA provides independent oversight of IRS activities.

If you have questions, contact an MCB Tax Advisor at 703-218-3600 or click here. To learn more about MCB’s tax practice and our tax experts, click here.

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