Q&A with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue

Do outside collection agencies employed by PA have detailed information on balances they are trying to collect beyond taxpayer name, ID number, and single amount due?

Jun 30, 2010
The Department of Revenue works closely with the Office of Attorney General in support and administration of that Office’s collection agency contracts. Specifically, the contracts between the Office of Attorney and the private collection agencies direct that a dunning letter be sent to each taxpayer within 48 hours of the Department of Revenue’s referral of the account.

This general letter is intended to encourage the taxpayer to contact the agency. The notice along with a telephone call from the agency within a week of referral puts the debtor and his/her practitioner on notice that the Commonwealth has referred the tax debt to a private agency for action. With this approach, a collection agency contact can immediately address and more efficiently resolve a delinquent tax account. Of course, additional contacts from that agency can occur if there is no response from the taxpayer.

Upon receiving a call back, the agency has access to view the Department of Revenue’s Combined Liability System. This system was built to convey a detailed description of the tax debt. Additionally, the agency is prepared to issue a written statement of account that details the tax type and the amount of tax, interest, penalties, legal fees and the agency’s collection fees.

Because the collection agencies are contracted to focus on collection of known tax liabilities, the detailed information they will have at their disposal will be directed to “how much” a taxpayer owes. The collection agencies will have an awareness of special conditions regarding the source of the liability such as estimated assessments for corporation taxes. However, the collection agencies will not have background information for why the taxpayer was assessed.

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These documents provide a summary of the answers provided by the Department of Revenue to the PICPA Committee on State Taxation at its annual question and answer session. These documents are classified as revenue information issued for informational purposes only for the convenience of PICPA members. Pursuant to 61 Pa. Code Section 3.4, these documents should not be relied upon for any purpose or used in tax appeals. Taxpayers requiring a binding opinion on their specific fact situation may request a written letter ruling under 61 Pa. Code Section 3.3.