The Internal Revenue Service says it needs help trying to collect $280 billion in unpaid taxes.
The agency, in a reversal, told a congressional subcommittee that it wants to hire private companies to chase down at least $18 billion worth of tax debt and let them keep some of the money they collect.
The agency’s request for assistance in collecting the outstanding debts -- about $80 billion is considered collectible -- represents a change from seven years ago when it fought efforts in Congress to mandate a similar program. Critics of the agency’s proposal say past experiments with private collection have failed, and they questioned how the companies will behave when they are paid on a contingency basis.
From Bloomberg News