IRS offers Saturday hotline assistance as tax deadline approaches

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The IRS said that taxpayers should be on the lookout for scammers pretending to be private debt collectors and that they will only be contacted by legitimate firms if they have had an unpaid debt for years that the IRS has already contacted them about. Also, use the bar-coded envelopes and labels provided by the IRS.

You might wonder how anyone could forget to sign their tax form, but this simple process is one of the most common tax mistakes, according to the IRS. The program will continue to ramp up over the spring and summer.

Private collection agencies will be able to identify themselves as contractors of the IRS collecting taxes.

Once the IRS letter is sent, the designated private firm will send its own letter to the taxpayer and their representative confirming the account transfer. The IRS has warned about such scams, calling them a "major threat" to taxpayers.

If you can't get the auditor to agree to an acceptable deal, say something like, "I really don't want to go through the hassle of an appeal if I don't have to". Luckily, there are several ways to increase your chance for a refund (or at least reduce the amount you'll owe) and you don't have to be a tax whiz or accountant to take advantage.

To date, more than 10,000 of them were duped into paying $55 million. Checks should only be made payable to the United States Treasury.

Callers worked off scripts posing as agents for the IRS or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Even if you're not convicted at a criminal level, you could face a civil penalty of up to 75% of the amount of tax you underpay (on top of what you originally owe).

Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

"We will never use a phone call to threaten to bring in the police or have someone arrested", Murphy added.

Navient, Pioneer's parent company, gave $4,000 in campaign contributions to Schumer previous year, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) has long opposed the use of private collection agencies (PCAs) to chase delinquent taxpayers because it has proven to be inefficient, unfair to lower-income taxpayers, and it opens doors for fraud and abuse. They were joined by some Democrats in Congress.

She said by requesting an extension in a timely manner and paying at least 90 percent of the taxes owed with the request, it's likely the taxpayer will not face a failure-to-pay penalty. Phone assistors can not provide taxpayers with their AGI. As IRS officials have noted, no new money was appropriated by Congress to operate the PCA program.

In many cases, no. Once you learn how to maximize your Social Security benefits, we think you could retire confidently with the peace of mind we're all after. "We also learned it's important for us to share enough information with the private collection agency so they can work the case to completion".

The law requiring the new program was enacted in December 2015.

The agency had stopped using private debt collectors in 2009 after it decided that IRS employees could do the work better.

The four companies the IRS has selected to handle collections are CBE, ConServe, Performant and Pioneer.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, a former chair of the Senate Finance Committee, has disputed the Taxpayer Advocate's analysis, arguing that it was not a fair accounting.