The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses a three-phase strategy for collecting unpaid tax liabilities until they are either full paid, determined to be uncollectible, or otherwise resolved. Each phase is worked by different program offices and IRS employees with increasingly higher technical skills.

Notice Stream Phase

The Notice Stream Phase uses a preset number of automatically generated IRS balance due notices that are sent to taxpayers to prompt replies or payments. The notice stream begins with the issuance of the statutory notice, followed by up to three reminder notices if the liability remains unpaid.

Automated Collection System (ACS) Phase

The Automated Collection System (ACS) Phase uses IRS contact representatives to collect unpaid taxes and secure tax returns from delinquent taxpayers who have not complied with previous notices. Contact representatives take enforcement actions on taxpayers to prompt replies or payments from them. Enforcement actions may include levying financial assets or filing liens against property. Contact representatives also answer telephone calls from taxpayers.

Collection Field Function (CFF) Phase

Collection Field Function (CFF) Phase uses IRS revenue officers to contact taxpayers in person to collect unpaid taxes and secure tax returns from delinquent taxpayers who have not complied with previous notices or contacts by the ACS. Revenue officers take enforcement actions, including levies, liens, and seizures of property.

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