The IRS has hired for-profit debt collectors to collect on long-overdue taxes that the government lacks the resources to work on. Four debt collectors were selected for the new contracts, including one whose parent company is currently being sued by the U.S. government over its student loan debt collection practices.
Pioneer Credit Recovery is a subsidiary of Navient, a student loan debt collector. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a lawsuit against both companies in January claiming that the companies “systematically misled consumers.” A few months prior, Pioneer was selected as one of the IRS debt collection contacts in September, alongside ConServe, Performant and CBE Group.
Pioneer’s parent company Navient, formerly known as Sallie Mae, holds a federal government contract to service approximately $300 billion in student loans owed by 12 million borrowers.
The IRS was mandated by Congress to hire debt collectors, in language that was inserted into a $205 billion highway funding bill in late 2015. Experts on consumer protection say the new contracts create more potential for bad behavior in debt collection.
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