May 21,2007

Grassley Releases New Findings Showing Success of IRS’ Private Debt Collection Program

Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Committee on Finance, was instrumental in creating the IRS’ private debt collection program and ensuring proper oversight to protect taxpayers’ rights. Today, Grassley released new findings from the IRS on the effectiveness of and taxpayer satisfaction with the program. He also wrote to the Treasury secretary, citing the new findings and urging the program’s continued operation. Grassley made the following comment on today’s developments.

“Opposition to this program isn’t fact-based, as far as I can tell. I’d be the first to step in if I thought anyone was trampling taxpayer rights. That goes for the IRS or a contractor acting on the IRS’ behalf. But no one has any concrete complaints from taxpayers suggesting anything other than that the private debt collection program is respecting taxpayers’ rights at a level equal to if not better than IRS employees’ level. Another claim is that the program is sending out thugs to shake down innocent taxpayers at the government’s direction.

That’s not the case. The private debt collection program mostly involves phone calls from firms with extensive customer service experience to negotiate payment plans with taxpayers, and doing so in a way that respects taxpayers’ rights. The calls go to taxpayers who owe taxes and whose debt is not in dispute. It’s a matter of fairness for taxpayers to pay what they owe, not a penny more, not a penny less. And maybe the weakest argument of all from opponents is that the IRS can perform debt collection for ‘pennies on the dollar,’ compared to contractors. By the IRS’ own analysis, the contractors are on track to bring in rates of return on investment equal to or greater than the IRS’ own average rates. That’s very good for a brand new program.”

Attached in the Printer-Friendly Version is the text of Grassley’s letter to the Treasury secretary. Attached is the IRS’ latest analysis.