ACA International, the largest association representing collection agencies, is supporting legislation that would require the Department of the Treasury to contract with private debt collection agencies to collect taxes owed to the Internal Revenue Service.
In a letter supporting the Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency (EXPIRE) Act of 2014, sent to targeted members of the U.S. Senate, ACA International CEO Pat Morris said, "We believe that a public/private partnership would be an efficient use of taxpayer resources to recover rightfully owed debts for the United States government."
The EXPIRE Act is sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). It specifically would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend certain expiring provisions.
According to ACA International, the legislation is consistent with ACAs work on behalf of the Department of Education in collecting student loans and the growing state and local government collections market.
Debt collection provides important value to the national, state and local economies, and the private and public sectors rely on the recovery of consumer debts, ACA International officials said.
Whether to pay back credit or make good on owed taxes to government, consumers have a moral and legal obligation to repay rightfully owed debts, Morris said.
The letter outlined that the credit and collection industry is rapidly changing, as there continues to be heavy scrutiny of consumer debt collection practices at all levels of government that will lead to extensive reforms from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and state and local lawmakers.
According to the 2013 Better Business Bureau report on consumer complaints, collection agencies resolve 84% of complaints received compared to 76% for all other industries combined. Further, analysis of CFPB complaint data shows that nearly all debt collection complaints are closed and responded to in a timely manner.
The reliance on inflated complaint data based on poorly worded definitions of a complaint, often mischaracterized inquiries, and almost always not investigated for validity or actual wrongdoing, is a faulty bellwether to measure industry performance, Morris said. Nor should this be a deterrent to enacting an efficient method to ensure recovery of taxpayer owed dollars.