ACS – Automated Collection System
After approximately sixteen weeks in the Service Center after you file your return, your case is transferred to one of two places. Most collection accounts will be forwarded to the IRS’s automated collection system, more commonly referred to as ACS. ACS was developed in the early 1980s by the IRS as a collection tool to urge taxpayers into compliance. ACS essentially operates as a large call center in multiple cities with the ability to make and receive calls telephonically. ACS has the ability to contact taxpayers, review cases, and to issue notices and collection actions on behalf of the IRS. Calls to ACS are routed to an IRS employee in the particular department of ACS where your file is assigned. From there, taxpayers are urged to verify their information with the IRS and resolve the balance due on their account through the approved IRS methods of resolution.
ACS agents have different methods of getting in touch with taxpayers. Often times, they will receive information from third party sources, such as your employer or your bank, and will use this information to contact you. Many people do not realize that their tax return is a fruitful source of information about your life. It contains your name, social security number, mailing address, daytime telephone number, sources of income (which the IRS can target for collections), and sometimes bank routing and account numbers (those who sign up for direct deposit for their refunds or make a payment to the IRS via check or EFTPS will have this information attached to their account). ACS agents are also authorized to utilize the internet to locate other information that they can use to contact you.
There are a few pieces of information that taxpayers should be aware of when dealing with ACS. First, the number printed on the notice that you have received is usually the best way to get ahold of the proper department you are assigned to within ACS. Second, like most call centers, ACS hits their peak call volume in the middle of the day. For faster service, it is recommended that you contact them early in the morning or late at night.
It is important to realize the job function of the person that you are speaking with ACS. In contrast to other collections personnel, most ACS agents are not as well trained. Most have a limited understanding of the tax code and of the Internal Revenue Manual and some may try to assert their authority improperly. If you get an agent that is particularly aggressive, it is best to hang up and try working out a resolution with another agent. Furthermore, ACS agents have limited authority to make decisions and to work out a resolution. If your proposed solution to the balance owed does not fall within acceptable guidelines, the agent will likely not be able to work something out with you.
In addition, you should be aware that the IRS agent will ask you for your bank account information, your current employer, and your telephone number. This is to facilitate future collection activity and to minimize the effort needed to ensure compliance on behalf of the IRS. If you speak with an agent directly, it is extremely difficult to avoid providing this information. Please note that giving false statements or information to an IRS agent is a felony. You will either need to answer these questions or have a third party, such as your attorney representative, call on your behalf.
If you have any questions or if we can further assist you, please contact our San Diego office.
For more information, please see: