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The IRS encourages taxpayers to take extra time to complete their tax return if needed.

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 resumption of the program comes amid a wave of telephone scams in which fake government agents contact taxpayers asking for the payment. If you lived in more than one state previous year, you can file your federal tax return through Credit Karma Tax, but you'll have to go elsewhere to file your state tax returns.

"The new program, authorized under a federal law enacted by Congress last December, enables these designated contractors to collect, on the government's behalf, outstanding inactive tax receivables".

Checks - Payment by check should be payable to the U.S. Treasury and sent directly to the IRS, not the private collection agency. This may appeal to taxpayers who would rather owe money to Visa or American Express than the IRS, especially if they have rewards cards.

If you get a call from one of these agencies without receiving written notice from the IRS, that should be a red flag that something is not right. You can file it via the IRS website or by mailing a paper form, or have your tax preparer file a Form 4868.

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It can be easy to think that you only have to report income to the IRS that you get documentation for in the mail - such as via a W-2 form or a 1099 form. Economists suggest that providing for more of a long-term benefit is better than the often temporary feeling of satisfaction found when splurging on something you have wanted but perhaps not needed. Use links to income tax forms and instructions or find answers to common questions about preparing your tax return, tax credits and much more. A tax refund is essentially an interest-free loan you extended to the IRS that is now being returned to you. And if you're the target of an unscrupulous collector, you can report the company to the IRS and demand in writing to have direct contact with the agency.

The writer is the president of Chapter 60 of the National Treasury Employees Union. If you're one of the unfortunate taxpayers in this particular situation, don't panic.

Pioneer also was part of the IRS' last experiment with outsourcing collection of back taxes under a program that was viewed critically by consumer advocates and some lawmakers. For instance, did you have credit card debt that wasn't paid off each month, resulting in you having to pay interest?

If you didn't have the required health coverage previous year, you could be in violation of the law if you choose not to pay the penalty and take the chance that the IRS won't enforce it. But the companies won't be taking payments.

The IRS tax scam is so successful it reportedly scams hundreds of thousands of people per day. You must request an extension from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by April 18 to avoid late filing penalties. If you switch to a new program or use one for the first time, you'll need to check your 2015 tax form in order to e-file. Before granting this, the IRS will assess your ability to pay. Many of those accounts belong to low-income families. But these mistakes can mean the difference between you thinking you're getting a refund and the reality that you actually owe taxes, so be sure to check your calculations carefully.


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