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FAQ Collection agency fee change

Why did I get a letter about the collection agency fees?

We send the letter to taxpayers who have debt that we're collecting or that a private collection agency is collecting to tell you about our collection-fee policy change.
Even though Oregon law authorizes us to pass collection fees to taxpayers, in the past we've always paid those fees. ORS 293.231
In 2010 we paid $415,000 in collection fees.
When the Legislature looked at ways the state could save money, it identified this as one. Requiring debtors to pay collection fees is standard business practice.
Since October 1, 2011, taxpayers whose debts are collected by collection agencies have to pay these fees.
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Why do you transfer some debts to private collection agencies?

Oregon law requires us to transfer a debt when the taxpayer hasn't made a payment on it in one year. There are some exceptions.

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I’m on a payment plan; will I pay fees?

No. As long as you keep making payments on your payment plan until your debt is paid in full, you won't pay collection fees. If you miss a payment, however, we may transfer your account to a collection agency and the collection agency will add the fees to your debt balance.

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How can I avoid being sent to a collection agency & paying fees?

Pay your debt in full once it's assessed. If you can't pay it in full—and we haven't sent your debt to a collection agency—set up a payment plan with us. As long as you make all of your payments on time, we won't send your debt to a collection agency.

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How can I set up a payment plan for my personal income tax debt?

Visit "How Much Do I Owe?" If you want someone to help you set up a payment plan, call 503-945-8200.
If we already sent your debt to a collection agency, contact the agency to make payment arrangements.

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How do I know if you sent my debt to a collection agency?

A collection agency sends a notice to you within one business day from receiving your debt. Someone from the collection agency may have tried to call you. Federal law prohibits them from leaving specific information on your voice mail.

We use these collection agencies:


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Can the collection agency send my account back to you?

No. Your debt stays with the collection agency until you pay it off.

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Will the collection agency report my debt to credit bureaus?

No the collection agencies will not report your debt to credit bureaus.

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How are the fees calculated?

Collection agencies may charge up to 35.14 percent of your debt amount. Debt includes tax, penalties, and interest.

Should the collection agency issue a garnishment to collect your debt, it may charge up to 11.11 percent of your debt.

What this means is, if your unpaid debt (tax, penalties, interest) is $100, the most you would pay in collection fees is $35.14 (added to your debt).

Collection agencies began adding their fees to the full debt amount on accounts we send to them after September 30, 2011.

If a collection agency is already collecting your debt, you have fees added to your unpaid debt.

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Can these fees be reduced or removed?


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How many Oregon taxpayers have a tax debt?

We've sent approximately 39,100 accounts to private collection agencies.

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How can I get more information?

If you have questions about this change or about other kinds of payment plans, call 503-378-4988 (Salem), or 800-356-4222 (toll-free from an Oregon prefix); or e-mail questions. Don't include confidential information in your e-mail because our e-mail service isn't secure.

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