LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — People with outstanding tax debt have known for years that the IRS only communicates by mail, but starting this month, that will no longer be true.

The IRS says it will begin farming out certain outstanding federal tax debt to four private debt collection agencies this month under a program authorized under a federal law enacted by Congress in Dec. 2015.

According to the IRS, the agencies will work on collecting taxes from accounts no longer being actively worked on by IRS agents. Taxpayers will first be notified in writing by the IRS that their account is being assigned to a private collection agency, which will then follow up with a separate letter confirming the transfer.

The private collection agencies contracted by the IRS are CBE of Iowa, Conserve of New York, Performant of California and Pioneer of New York. They will be expected to be courteous, respectful of taxpayer rights and follow provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices act, the agency said.

Confusion over the change is expected, and the IRS says taxpayers still should not receive unexpected phone calls from anyone claiming to be from the IRS demanding payment.

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