IRS Automated Collection System

The Automated Collection System (ACS) is the collection method most often implemented by the IRS. Millions of Americans nationwide have experienced or are currently experiencing this system. Often the first notification most taxpayers have that they have developed tax debt, the ACS is a largely computerized system and sends almost all of the notices and letters regarding the individual’s progress in the resolution of their tax debt.

If you are one of the millions of Americans who are behind on your tax payments, you are probably already familiar with the Automated Collection System or ACS. This branch of the IRS is the first contact most taxpayers have with the IRS after receiving a past-due tax bill. As its name suggests, ACS is a large, computer driven system that attempts to collect on past due tax liabilities. ACS is responsible for sending out nearly all of the various collection letters and legal notices required to collect delinquent tax liabilities.

It’s argued by consumer tax advocates and enemies of privatization that ACS is much less costly. Nina Olsen, the IRS’s National Taxpayer Advocate, compared the expenses of running private outsourced collections vs. ACS. The cost to use the private collection program is about $12 million every year, including private collectors’ commissions (which can be up to 24% of the amount they collect). These collectors are projected to bring in a measly $23 million in 2008, resulting in net revenues of only $11 million.

An ACS professional can garnish wages, place bank levies and tax liens. They are more likely to use any one of these methods to collect if they believe you are being dishonest, so the individual being assessed should not attempt to lie, circumvent questions or minimize the importance of the contact.

The IRS reasons that they can’t afford to hire more revenue officers to handle debt collection, so it turns to outsourcing. They are currently handling in-house particular cases they regained from private collection firms to test the efficiency of the process. They intend to decide which process is more efficient by comparing the outcomes.

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