Although the program has been characterized by the Internal Revenue Service itself as potentially rampant with opportunities for scamming, and has attracted growing opposition, the agency nonetheless has moved forward with its plan to hire private debt collectors to track down delinquent taxpayers.The first phase, rolled out in September, enlisted a trio of private collection agencies to receive personal information about taxpayers with outstanding liabilities, including name and Social Security number of taxpayer (and spouse, if a joint tax liability), address, amount of tax debt and the year or years to which the debt applies.

For the initial wave of PCA outsourcing, the IRS has selected 12,500 taxpayers. The taxpayers selected for initial collection outsourcing owe the IRS $25,000 or less in back taxes and have not disputed the amount owed. According to IRS spokesperson Nancy Mathis, the outsourced debts are no more than 10 years old, since the statute of limitations for collection on federal tax debt generally expires 10 years from the date of assessment. "I would assume that these would be some of the older cases in the first batch," said Mathis.

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