Massachusetts uses private collection agencies to go after delinquent taxpayers. And the secretary of state said more needs to be done to make residents aware of the practice.
Secretary Bill Galvin said that until recently, he didn't even know about the use of debt collectors by the Department of Revenue. He said it's very easy for a taxpayer to mistake a scam as a legitimate effort to collect back taxes.
"I think the DOR has to step up and provide very specific information as to when they're referring a matter to a private collection agency and what the agency will be doing, who the agency is and who might be contacting them," Galvin said.
An official with the Department of Revenue said they've been using private agencies for about 15 years and only taxpayers who flat-out don't respond to multiple bills are turned over to an outside company. The official said the process is spelled out clearly on delinquency notices.
Meanwhile, the IRS announced earlier this month that it will also use private debt collectors.