The Forgotten Tax Accounts

Last week I blogged about Private Debt Collection (PDC) firms hired by the IRS and FTB to collect overdue taxes. This is a new development at FTB, and something that was tried for a few years and then discontinued at IRS.

The PDC firms hired by the IRS were given mostly low-yield, low-priority cases from which they were able to squeeze out $98 million in revenue between 2006 and 2009.  The IRS, however, discontinued its PDC program in 2009. And according to a TIGTA audit report, when the unresolved cases were handed back to the IRS, many of them just sat stagnant. Collection actions were not taken on 47% of the cases selected for the TIGTA audit. TIGTA recommended that the IRS develop policies and procedures for working the kinds of cases that were previously transferred to PDC firms. If the IRS does not have the resources to handle these cases, TIGTA even suggested the possibility of reinstating the PDC Program.

Before you get too upset about the statistics cited in this report (particularly the 47% figure), you should know that the sample of cases selected for audit was only 62. For whatever its worth, I have noticed that it is common for TIGTA to work with very small sample sizes in its audits, even though the agency claims it uses “generally accepted government auditing standards.”

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