IRS Notice CP140

If you received IRS Notice CP140, the IRS is using a private collection agency to help collect your unpaid taxes.

This post is provided for general information only. Please confirm the details and circumstances of your unique situation with your tax accountant or other appropriate advisor before taking action.

Why did the IRS send my account to collections?

The IRS has contracted some of its debt collection activities to private debt collectors. Their job is to help the IRS.

The IRS only sends a limited number of debts to private collections. These typically include debts that are several years old where no IRS employee is in recent contact with the taxpayer.

How do I know a private debt collector is working with the IRS?

There are three main things you can check to make sure you’re working with someone who was actually assigned by the IRS not a scammer.

  • The IRS sends you Notice CP140 to tell you they’re working with a private debt collector.
  • You should receive a debt collection notice in the mail from the debt collector with the same identification numbers as your CP140 Notice and previous tax notices.
  • You can check your IRS transcript online to make sure the IRS actually says you owe a debt.

Will a private IRS debt collector call me?

While the IRS doesn’t usually call, private debt collectors do. They’ll typically only call you after you are notified by mail.

All phone calls by debt collectors are subject to your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

What can the debt collector do?

The IRS only contracts the private debt collectors to contact people who owe taxes and help them make payments. They don’t have other IRS authority like filing a lien or issuing a levy.

You can still face a lien, levy, or other enforcement action from the IRS if you don’t settle your debt with the debt collector.

Who do I pay?

Make all payments to the IRS not the debt collector. Any debt collector telling you to pay them is a scam. The IRS does not accept prepaid debit cards or gift cards.

You can pay on the IRS website or mail a check. If you mail a check, confirm that the address you were given is listed on the IRS website.

What do I do if I disagree with the tax debt?

Since the IRS usually only sends old debts to private collections, you may have lost the right to appeal a notice or letter saying that you owe additional tax. Contact a tax professional immediately to see if you have options.

If you already paid, the IRS may not have properly applied your payment. Find your canceled check or online payment receipt, then contact the debt collector. They can help you trace your payment.

What do I do if I can’t pay?

If you can’t pay what you owe, you generally still have your usual IRS payment options. These can include a payment plan, settling your debt, or getting declared not collectible.

Do I have to work with the private debt collector?

You have the right to inform the private debt collector in writing that you don’t want them to handle your tax debt.

You will still owe the money, and the IRS can still take action against you.

How long does the IRS have to collect a debt?

The IRS generally has ten years from when your taxes were due or when they charged you additional tax to collect a debt. This can be extended in certain situations.

If you believe the IRS took too long to contact you or you’re thinking about running out the time limit, contact a tax professional to make sure you’re doing things correctly.

What do I do if I can’t afford to hire someone to help me?

If you can’t afford to hire a tax professional, you may be eligible for assistance through a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.

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