Christian Private Debt Collection
Christian private debt collection is a program that the Internal Revenue Service uses in the effort to collect unpaid accounts on individuals who owe income tax. This program allows private companies to locate taxpayers who owe the IRS money. Those whose accounts have been assigned to private debt collection will receive a letter stating who the agency is that will be collecting on their obligation. Taxpayers do have the option to not deal with the private companies but they have to write a letter requesting to deal only with the IRS. Private collection agencies (PCA) do have some specific guidelines they have to follow when trying to collect money. Each time the taxpayer is contacted the PCA has to authenticate the identity of the taxpayer. Authentication is usually done by asking the person's name, address, four digits of the social security number, and date of birth. A PCA can not accept payments made out to them but must direct the taxpayer to pay the IRS.
Remittance of payments should be sent to the IRS and not to the PCA. Taxpayers should never send cash but should send a check or money order. Other options for remittance with private debt collection include electronic transfer by using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System online. A person can use a credit card by calling in the payment to the IRS. When mailing in a payment the taxpayer should consider sending it return receipt requested or certified mail so that he or she knows it was received by the IRS. A person should keep the receipt for proof that the payment was received by the IRS. The receipt could help to remove any late charges or interest that has been added to what is due.
Every taxpayer is allowed access to the publication for private debt collection that spells out the policies and procedures for a PCA by accessing it on the IRS website under publications. Normally collection agencies are under the guidelines of the Fair Debt Collection Act. This Act protects consumers from harassment. This would include making false statements or threats, calling them before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m., or using profanity. The agency can not make threats of law suits or garnishment of wages and can not contact a person at his or her job unless the employer has allowed them to do so. The taxpayer must send a letter requesting that they discontinue harassment proceedings before anything can be done. If this does not stop them from harassment then there needs to be complaints given to the proper authorities.
Some of the unfair practices that may happen with agencies include depositing a post-dated check before the actual date on the check, trying to get the debtor to pay more money than what is actually owed, and threatening to take security such as property for the amount owed. Private debt collection should never include threats, deception, or abusive language. Any agency that conducts business in an unprofessional manner should be turned in to the Federal Trade Commission and the Attorney General's office. In addition, the Better Business Bureau should be notified as well. This helps to keep other individuals from suffering with the same types of problems.
Anytime a taxpayer owes money to the IRS for back taxes there is interest charged on top of what is owed. Taxpayers are allowed to file an extension in April that gives them until August to pay their taxes. A private debt collection agency will collect on the entire amount owed which will probably include interest. The amount of interest will depend upon how late the taxes are. A taxpayer that owes taxes can make payment arrangements with the IRS to pay so much each month until the amount is completely paid off. This can be done through automatic bank draft through the person's checking account. Then she came and told the man of God. "And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest" (2 Kings 4:7).
Private organizations that work for the IRS with private debt collection should be trained according to Federal policies and procedures including the importance of confidentiality and privacy of taxpayers. The PCA must comply with all the rules about taxpayer documentations to prevent anyone else from accessing the information. Part of doing this includes not sharing the information with anyone else even when they are trying to locate the debtor. If a PCA does not comply or breaches polices and procedures the taxpayer should notify the IRS immediately. The PCA is not only subject to the policies of the IRS they must comply with the Fair Debt Collection Act.
The best way to avoid having to deal with collection agencies is by paying obligations in a timely manner or making arrangements with the creditor or IRS to do so. Private debt collection companies work with the IRS and work with other creditors to recover money owed to them. The process can be accomplished without unlawful practices. The longer the debtor waits to pay the amount the more interest and late fees will apply. If a taxpayer sees that he or she can not pay taxes then the best thing to do is contact the IRS to make payments each month until the amount is paid in full. Waiting will result in more money owed and will eventually lead to collection proceedings.
Christian Medical Debt CollectionFor many individuals, medical debt collection becomes an economic nightmare. According to some research, debts related to medical treatment are a major reason for bankruptcy filings. Even those with health insurance may find themselves owing large bills due to an ongoing illness or health emergency. Consumers seem to have many misconceptions regarding the financial aspects of health-related issues. For example, many people may be surprised to learn that health facilities are not required to send invoices to a patient's insurance company. Of course, many facilities do so as a courtesy to their patients and to help streamline the entire billing process. But consumers are responsible for paying health-related bills, whether or not they have insurance. If the insurance company rejects a bill, the consumer is responsible for paying it to avoid being subject to medical debt collection.
Just as consumers need to be educated to correct any misconceptions, they should also educate themselves about their rights and responsibilities. Whether or not a patient has insurance, she should scrutinize the medical bills she receives. If the patient is too ill to stay on top of the bills and insurance payments, then another family member or close friend should take on this responsibility on behalf of the patient. Statements from the insurance company also need to be reviewed and matched with the appropriate bills. To avoid getting caught up in a medical debt collection process, the patient needs to pay any bills not reimbursed by the insurance company. However, the patient or advocate should understand the reasons behind an insurance company's refusal to pay certain health-related costs. Though the health bills need to be paid, the patient can dispute the insurance company's decision to reject some bills. Patients can also negotiate with hospitals to set up payment plans.
Healthcare is a volatile, political issue with some people claiming that total access to healthcare is a right and others fearing the consequences of government programs that will most likely limit access and increase costs. No simple answers exist to all the questions and concerns raised by consumer advocate groups. However, these are not new issues. The physician and historian Luke tells of Jesus' encounter with a very sick woman: "And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched " (Luke 8:43-44). This poor woman had spent all her money trying to find treatment for her illness. Centuries later, people are sharply divided in how much the government should be involved in healthcare issues. The recent move by hospitals to auction overdue accounts to medical debt collection companies has raised a hue and cry by consumers. But some of their objections are based on faulty premises and ideas. The bottom line is that hospitals, even non-profit ones, still must bring in enough income to provide quality medical service. If hospitals don't receive revenue, then the doors will close and that will cause even greater disruption for local citizens.
Consumers who are struggling with health-related bills should know that medical debt collection companies must operate under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Under the rules of this legislation, collection companies must follow certain rules about contacting debtors. For example, there are limitations on what times of the day a collector can call and restrictions on who the collector can contact about an overdue debt. Anyone who is being contacted by a creditor should research the restrictions in the FDCPA legislation. If a creditor breaks one of the rules, the debtor can file a complaint with the appropriate government agency. Several online resources include information on how best to handle creditor calls under the FDCPA and these can very useful to anyone who is being unduly bothered by collections agencies.
Under the privacy restrictions of HIPAA, only certain information can be passed along to a medical debt collection company by the creditor. This includes such basics as the individual's name and address, identifying data such as the patient's date of birth and social security number, the payment history, and the account number. Creditors can also submit payment information to the three major credit reporting agencies, namely, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. However, the agencies may mask the name of the creditor on an individual's credit report if the type of treatment can be deduced from the creditor's name. For example, if a person is receiving treatment at a facility with the words "muscular dystrophy" in its name, the name might not appear on the patient's credit report. This way, other companies accessing the report would not know the individual's private health issues.
A Christian medical debt collection agency may contact someone who has not received medical treatment. Instead, this person may be a victim of identity theft. Though identity theft itself is a mushrooming problem, few people are aware of the growing problem of medical identity theft. In these fraudulent cases, an unscrupulous person manages to obtain an innocent individual's name and other identifying information, including health insurance. When the identity thief seeks medical treatment, he does so under the name of the victim and provides that person's health insurance coverage. The innocent person may not even realize he is a victim of identity theft until he is contacted by a medical debt collection agency. Resolving this problem can be difficult and time-consuming. But knowing that this can happen just provides more reason for carefully reviewing all medical bills and insurance statements for accuracy. Anything that doesn't look right should be questioned.