IRS Now Allows Private Debt Collectors to Dun Taxpayers

Collector-with-bat

In a move that could be confusing to seniors who are vulnerable to scams, the IRS will begin using private debt collection agencies to collect past-due taxes. The new program will begin in April 2017.

Authorized by a law Congress passed in December 2015, the IRS may now contract with private debt collectors to collect certain debts. The private collection agencies can work on accounts in which the taxpayer owes money, but the IRS is no longer actively working on the account, perhaps because the account is older or the IRS does not have resources to continue pursuing it.

Historically, scammers have posed as the IRS to target seniors and other vulnerable adults to retrieve identifying information or payment. Up till now, tax professionals have been able to reassure clients that the IRS would never harass consumers over the phone. However, under this new rule, private debt collectors may contact taxpayers by phone, which may make it more difficult to determine whether a scammer is targeting the taxpayer.

The IRS will notify taxpayers by mail if it is turning their case over to a private debt collector. In addition, the debt collector is required to send a written notice once it receives the taxpayer’s information. The collection agencies are required to abide by debt collection laws, which prevent debt collectors from harassing consumers.
The IRS has contracted with four debt collection companies:

Conserve, 200 CrossKeys Office Park, Fairport, NY 14450
Pioneer, 325 Daniel Zenker Dr, Horseheads, NY 14845
Performant, 333 N Canyons Pkwy, Livermore, CA 94551
CBE Group, 1309 Technology Pkwy, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

To avoid scams, remember that private collection agencies will only ask for payments to be made online at IRS.gov or by check. Checks should be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and sent directly to the IRS, not the private collection agency. The collection agency will not ask for payment on a prepaid debit, iTunes or gift card.
For more information about the new program, click here.

Berger Estate & Elder Law P.A. has been serving Kansas City for over 30 years providing Trusted Council with Proactive Solutions. Call us today at (913) 491-6332, visit our website berger-lawfirm.com or stop by our conveniently located offices at 11233 Nall, Suite 140 Leawood, KS 66211 for more information.

An Alternative to Long-Term Care

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A little-known insurance option can be an answer for some people who might need care but are unable to buy long-term care insurance. Short-term care insurance provides coverage for nursing home or home care for one year or less.

As long-term care premiums rise, short-term care insurance is gaining in popularity. This type of insurance is generally cheaper than its long-term care counterpart because it covers less time. Purchasers can choose the length of coverage they want, up to one year. According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance a typical premium for a 65-year-old is $105 a month.

People who can’t qualify for long-term care insurance because of health reasons may be able to qualify for short-term care coverage. This kind of insurance doesn’t usually require a medical exam and sometimes only has a few medical questions on the application. Another benefit of short-term care insurance is that there usually is not a deductible. The policies begin paying immediately, without the waiting period usually found in long-term care policies.

Short-term care policies are not the answer for everyone. They may not cover all the levels of care that a long-term care policy would cover. As with any insurance product, buyers need to make sure that they understand what coverage they are purchasing.  And these policies are not regulated to the same extent that long-term care insurance policies are, so there are fewer consumer protections.

Short-term care policies may be beneficial for individuals who waited too long to purchase long-term care insurance (short-term care can typically be purchased up to age 89). They can also help fill gaps in Medicare coverage or cover the deductible period before long-term care insurance begins paying. The policies may also be appealing to single women because there is no price difference for women and men, as there is for long-term care insurance.

For more information about these policies from Forbes, click here.

Berger Estate & Elder Law P.A. has been serving Kansas City for over 30 years providing Trusted Council with Proactive Solutions. Call us today at (913) 491-6332, visit our website berger-lawfirm.com or stop by our conveniently located offices at 11233 Nall, Suite 140 Leawood, KS 66211 for more information.