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After the House voted last week to shut down the private tax collection industry over privacy concerns and contractor costs, the only two companies in the field didn’t scramble for Senate votes. That’s because the Senate already shelved a similar proposal last year. Instead, lobbyists for The CBE Group and SLM Corp. subsidiary Pioneer Credit Co. were more concerned about a wave of bad tax-time PR that might stifle Internal Revenue Service enthusiasm for the tax collection outsourcing program that sends work to them. “The biggest threat to this program is not this legislation, it’s how the IRS reacts to this legislation,” says Jeffery Trinca, a Pioneer lobbyist and vice president of Van Scoyoc Associates. Trinca says he fears the IRS might give up on private tax collection if members of Congress habitually batter the agency over the initiative. Pioneer and CBE have teamed up with several other debt-collecting firms looking to land IRS business to form the Tax Fairness Coalition, which lobbies to give private tax collectors time to prove themselves. Ray Beeman, a Venable tax partner and the lobbyist for CBE, says the need to defend the program has become as predictable as tax day itself. Now that April 15 is past, he says, the furor should die down.
Jeff Horwitz can be contacted at [email protected].

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