Washington (Oct. 15, 2003) -- The Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Trade Commission and state regulators have issued an alert for those seeking assistance from tax-exempt credit counseling organizations. An increasing number of complaints to federal and state agencies indicate that some organizations are engaging in questionable activities.

Federal and state regulators are concerned that some credit counseling organizations using questionable practices may seek tax-exempt status in order to circumvent state and federal consumer protection laws. State and federal statutes regulating credit counseling agencies often do not apply to Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. To address some of the concerns, the IRS has stepped up its enforcement efforts to ensure that existing Section 501(c)(3) organizations are complying with the applicable rules and regulations.

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