What is the Automated Collection System of the IRS?

If you owe a balance to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or have not filed a tax return for one or more prior years, you have likely received a series of phone calls and letters from the IRS to follow up on the taxes due.  While initial follow up from the IRS may be performed by a person, the majority of follow up with the taxpayer is handed off to a computer system within the IRS known as the Automated Collection System, or ACS.

The ACS, which is often misnomered the Automated Collection Service, is a computer system that tracks the balance due of taxpayers and the status of all delinquency investigations.  The ACS also maintains information the IRS has on the taxpayer that may be useful in obtaining a balance due or delinquent amount.  This information can include but may not be limited to the taxpayer’s name, address, Social Security Number, employer information, bank account information, real estate information, automobiles owned, and any monthly income and expenses.  In short, the ACS provides a system whereby the IRS can track all your assets and income sources to gain a better picture as to how readily you can pay any tax due.

The ACS uses the known information about the taxpayer to prioritize the file for follow up by mail or phone call (transferring the phone call to a live agent if contact is made) and for issuing letters indicating collection steps are being initiated or have been taken, such as the issuing of a levy.  In addition, the ACS fields incoming phone calls and transfers them live agents, again with the goal of gathering information to move the taxpayer’s file toward collection.

What if I receive a notice from the Automated Collection System?

If you owe back taxes to the IRS or have not filed one or more prior returns, the IRS through use of the Automated Collection System can be notoriously diligent at continuing to follow up with you and escalating the matter to receive a resolution.  This resolution can include the placement of lines on your property and the garnishment of your wages.

The rules under which the IRS operates can be difficult to understand and any information you provide to the IRS can be used to build the file the ACS maintains to assist with collection of amounts due.  Therefore, you would be wise to seek the advice of a tax attorney.  A tax attorney understands federal tax laws, can answer your questions about past due federal tax returns, and can advise you of your rights.

Complete the short evaluation form below and a tax lawyer will review your situation free of charge.  The review is 100% confidential and there is no obligation.  If you owe delinquent tax, with the help of a tax attorney, it is not unusual to negotiate a settlement plan in which you pay less than the full amount owed.  So please seek help today.

by Mark Johnston

Mark has been a contributor to legal web sites related to bankruptcy, tax, and criminal law since 2011. He has an Accounting degree from Texas A&M University.