IRS to use private debt collectors amid huge phone scam

This March 22, 2013 file photo shows the exterior of the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The IRS says it is once again using private debt collectors to go after tax delinquents. The resumption of the program comes amid a wave of telephone scams in which fake IRS agents try to con innocent taxpayers out of their money.

The IRS stopped using private debt collectors in 2009 after the agency determined that IRS employees could do the work better. But Congress passed a law in 2015 requiring the IRS to restart the program.

To start, the IRS will turn over the accounts of 100 taxpayers a week to four private debt collectors. The program will grow to 1,000 accounts a week by the end of summer.

The IRS says it is notifying taxpayers that their accounts are being turned over to private debt collectors.