Updated: Bounty Hunters Are No Longer Coming After You For Back Taxes

The IRS had been placing bounties on the heads of deadbeat taxpayers for the past few years, giving debt collection agencies a 25 percent cut of delinquent debts they rounded up. But since March, the IRS is no longer supporting the program. Thanks to Samuel for pointing out the announcement.

Examiner spotlighted the now defunct policy:

Unfortunately, according to the Center for American Progress, the structure of the IRS program encourages abuse. Under the program, collectors are awarded as much as 25 cents of every dollar they collect, in addition to a $100 bonus for every account they close. To the Center, there is no difference between these collectors and bounty hunters who hunt for fugitives.

It’s good to see the IRS no longer partakes in such shenanigans.

Consumer protection group: “Bounty Hunters” collecting back taxes troubling [Examiner]


Edit Your Comment

  1. lannister80 says:

    Way to stay classy IRS! /gag

  2. 2DaysTillTheState_GitEmSteveDave says:

    OK Dog, this is a PSA for you. There are people who are stereotypical for being cheap and thrifty. Try not to bring up any slurs about them should someone call you and/or you are leaving a voicemail when doing a recovery for back taxes. Just an FYI.

    GitEmSteveDave; helping mulleted bounty hunters avoid having to go on Larry King to apologize since 2007. *ting*

  3. hi says:

    show me the law… oh yeh… there isn’t one.

    /enter people who haven’t researched and name calling.. and still can’t produce a law.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:


      Show you which law?

      • NeverLetMeDown says:


        You mean “where’s the law that allows the Feds to collect income tax”?

        That would be the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, both of which were passed by Congress and signed by the President.


        • hi says:

          I’m refering to the Constituion. Unconstitutional laws are not real laws in my opinion as they break the law.

          • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

            @hi: [www.irs.gov]

            But since anyone who turns you in as a tax cheat gets a portion of what you end up owing, you probably shouldn’t admit to being a tax cheat on the internet.

            I’m so bored of people who make grandiose Constitutional claims without, apparently, being familiar with the document.

            • chiieddy says:

              @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): The Supreme Court ruled years ago that income tax is not unconstitutional, but people still believe that crap.

              • Munchie says:

                @chiieddy: I’v always wondered about that. If it was unconstitutional that would mean the Judges would be out of work. Wonder if it would be possible to argue a conflict of interest.

            • hi says:

              @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): I never said I was a tax cheat. I pay my taxes, and I think everyone should (because if you don’t the irs will take take all your things and throw you in jail). I’m also very familiar with the document. You should read it sometime.

              I’m tired of people who post remarks about other people posts assuming they know them, calling them names, and making up lies about them, not even reading their post.

              • hi says:

                @hi: Thats a very un-patriotic outlook. You do know the Constitution is there to protect your freedoms? You should be happy that someone is looking out for your well-being by challenging un-constituional laws instead of name calling and saying how bored you are with it.

                • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

                  @hi: “You should be happy that someone is looking out for your well-being by challenging un-constituional laws instead of name calling and saying how bored you are with it.”

                  I haven’t named-called, but I”m about to:

                  You’re NOT looking out for my freedoms. You’re an idiot who is wasting judicial time and taxpayer money by relitigating an issue that has been settled, and settled, and settled, and settled, over and over and over again. And you’re inviting gullible people to make stupid decisions that will result in tax dollars being spent on enforcement chasing down tax cheats who believe your nonsense about taxes being “unconstitutional.”

                  @hi: As for ratification. If you had researched this, as you claim, you’d know it was ABSOLUTE BULLSHIT.

                  Thirty-six of forty-eight states were required for ratification. Delaware ratified on February 3, 1913, as the 36th state. EVEN IF Ohio wasn’t a state at the time (which the Supreme Court has ruled it was), New Mexico ratified on February 3, 1913, as the thirty-SEVENth state to ratify — giving us, again, the 36 necessary ratifications of the 48 (or 47) then-existing states ON THE SAME DAY SO THE AMENDMENT STILL WENT INTO EFFECT.

                  By March 7, 1913, 42 of 48 states ratified the amendment, above and beyond the necessary 36 and putting the ratification status of the 16th amendment beyond the shadow of a doubt. For anyone who’s bothered to do a little research, anyway.

                  • hi says:

                    @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): I’m an idiot, but you live in Peoria. k

                    • NeverLetMeDown says:


                      And now who’s name calling?

                      So, we’ve clearly established:

                      1. There are laws on the books allowing for the collection of an income tax.
                      2. Those laws are Constitutional.
                      3. The Amendment that makes those laws Constitutional is valid.

                      Not much else to discuss, huh?

                    • WraithSama says:

                      Ah, name-calling. The second-to-last line of defense for someone who knows they’ve lost an argument. Swearing comes last. Go ahead, keep up with your ad hominem attacks; its simply a concession of defeat.

                    • trujunglist says:


                      You’re an ass. At least refute the argument and then call her an idiot. You lost the argument and don’t have that option though. Better to just keep your big mouth shut.

                    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

                      @trujunglist: And here I thought he was complimenting my excellent taste in living situations. ;)

                    • hi says:

                      @WraithSama: Is this opposite day? You all say one thing but do another. I haven’t called anyone a name. They did that to me. Or are you agreeing with me, I can’t tell.

                    • hi says:

                      Thanks for attacking me on the internet, all of you. I hope you all feel better about yourselves. And there still is no law. You done nothing but show your ignorance.

                    • Prole says:

                      @hi: I think the overwhelming evidence is that there is a law.
                      Save some face and just admit that perhaps you could be incorrect in this instance. However, you have reservations about the law’s legitimacy in light of the Consitution’s original stance on taxes.

                    • NeverLetMeDown says:


                      If we’re ignorant, educate us. Explain why Public Law 83-591, 68A Stat. 3 and Public Law 99-514 100 Stat. 2085 aren’t laws.

                    • hi says:

                      @trujunglist: I never called her an idiot, she called me one. Get your facts straight.

              • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

                @hi: If you think income taxes are unconstitutional, you’re obviously not particularly familiar.

                What, you think Ohio wasn’t a state at the time so ratification wasn’t legitimate? Is that your preferred argument?

              • Prole says:

                @hi: I read your post. Nobody has called you any names or made up anything about you specifically. I would recommend not taking these things too personally.

                To summarize what I’ve read, you say that the Constitution does not support the income tax and that tax law is unconstitutional.

                Others have stated that the Consitution was amended to allow this and that the courts have held up this move.

                I think that’s pretty much game, set and match. The Constitution was made to be changeable by our lawmakers and has been.

                Of course, there will always be those who say differently *I’m not necessarily talking about you hi* and choose to barricade themselves in the hills of New Hampshire. Live free or die!

                • hi says:

                  @Prole: The 16th amendment was never ratified. I suggest you don’t believe me and research that for yourself. I’d start by seeing what is needed for an amendment to be ratified, and then look up the 16th admendment and see if it meets that requirement. You will find that it does not, but like I said: research it yourself.

                  Besides that I was called a troll: “Or were you just trolling?”

                  And then the lies that I’m a tax cheat: “you probably shouldn’t admit to being a tax cheat on the internet”

                  So the tennis match continues…

          • NeverLetMeDown says:


            16th Amendment: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

          • 2DaysTillTheState_GitEmSteveDave says:


      • MostlyHarmless says:

        @NeverLetMeDown: Hey thats a very effective way of winning an argument, you know. Just make sure that the other person does not know what we are arguing about, thus eliminating the possibility of him winning the argument :D

    • esd2020 says:

      @hi: 26 U.S.C. § 1, among others. [docs.law.gwu.edu]

      Or were you just trolling?

      • hi says:

        @esd2020: Thanks for the name calling. Those are tax codes written by the IRS. I’m refering to the law of the land the Constitution. Sorry I didn’t specify.

        • NeverLetMeDown says:


          Actually, they’re LAWS passed by Congress: Public Law 83-591, 68A Stat. 3 and Public Law 99-514 100 Stat. 2085.

    • esd2020 says:

      @hi: Hey dude, even if you believe what you’re saying, it’s still trolling.

  4. maruawe42 says:

    This is stupid. But this is the IRS we are speaking of.
    When someone that I don’t invite into my home comes in
    forcefully I will shoot them full of holes. nuff said

  5. esd2020 says:

    This program exists purely for political reasons. It lets the IRS claim to be “cutting costs” by hiring contractors who work for “free” (on commission).

    Never mind that these debt collectors often break the law to collect debts and that even so they do a worse job than real IRS employees. Most people send a check when they get a call from the IRS. Sleazy debt collector? Not so much.

  6. Corporate_guy says:

    How do these people collect debts? Do they just harass you at home and at work until you pay? Or do they have a legal right to steal from you?

  7. YouInTheBack says:

    I agree that this is terrible, but there is one simple solution to make sure you don’t suffer from this injustice…

    Pay your freakin’ taxes like the rest of us.

    And yes, I’m aware that due to situations out of one’s control, medical bills probably being the most common, not all tax non-payers are deadbeats. That comment is not for them, but for the worthless deadbeats we all pay for.

    But seriously, why can’t they keep this within the government? Don’t we have law enforcement officials whose job it is to go after people breaking the law. And isn’t it against the law to not pay your taxes?

    • YOXIM says:

      @YouInTheBack: Seems fairly common sense don’t it? Must be why the IRS doesn’t like it. Besides, real cops are busy writing speeding tickets.

      /sweeping generalizations

  8. squikysquiken says:

    This program was shutdown a few months ago:

    I’d say the source is one poorly written article (or something old reposted anew). It took me all of 30 seconds on Google to confirm my recollection of the program being stopped.

    • Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

      @squikysquiken: Good to know! Thanks for posting the link. I like that they also have helpful “what to do if someone calls you claiming to represent the IRS” information posted there.

  9. Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

    These debt collectors are no different from the people who harrass you by phone over your unpaid credit card bills. They have NOT hired bounty hunters, people! They are not going to show up at your office or home. The debt collectors are merely compared to bounty hunters, due to the excessive payoff they receive for collecting on your debt.

    It’s not just the IRS. States and localities are also hiring third-party debt collectors.

  10. Saboth says:

    Funny, the government encouraging these practices when they should be looking into shutting half of them down. Basically anyone can become a debt collector and gather up sensitive personal info on people and threaten them with anything to jail to bodily harm with no real legislation to prevent them from using these scummy practices.

  11. Kevin says:

    I hope they’re armed, ’cause I’m gonna be…

  12. HiPwr says:

    Will there be an episode of Dog the Bounty Hunter where he tracks down wee little Timmy Geithner? “Dog” busting into a room full of Chinese officials in mid-laugh to snatch Timmy.

  13. sirwired says:

    They won’t get too many takers for this deal. 25 cents on the dollar is a very low commission for this kind of work.

    And I don’t understand that comment about bounty hunters. WTF?

    • Saboth says:


      Actually debt collectors are usually happy to buy up old debt for pennies on the dollar, and they have far less success with old debt. I think they’d be pretty happy for .25 on the dollar for government work.

      • sirwired says:

        @Saboth: You have it backwards. Only getting a 25 percent commission means the collector ends up paying 75 cents for the debts he collects on. (No word if the agencies are buying the debt from the IRS, or working on a commission basis.)

        • Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

          @sirwired: The article specifes 25% commission. They aren’t buying the debts. They are awarded a 25% commission on anything they collect.

  14. Skin Art Squared says:

    There’s no debtor’s prison in the U.S. so as long as you haven’t committed fraud or are trying to evade your taxes, there’s not much they can do except harass you and keep tacking on penalties & interest. Bounty hunters or not, they can’t take you away and lock you up simply because you owe them.

  15. ferris209 says:

    Dang! I wonder where Obama’s staff will hide out at?

  16. Jevia says:

    Isn’t there a 7 year statute of limitations (or some such) that if the IRS doesn’t fine the error after 7 years, they can’t collect it?

    • JuliB says:


      No – there’s no statute for fraudulent returns. Ahh… but you say yours wasn’t fraudulent! No problem – all you have to do is prove it to the IRS. So – don’t through out those returns!

      Simple mistakes – I believe they don’t look after 7 years.

  17. tinky XIII says:

    … Dog the Debt Collector?

    Do I smell a new show in the works?

  18. Mykro says:

    I know a man… Who has never paid taxes in his life. Hes 49 years old, hasn’t had a “real” job in 15 years or so?
    He used to lay flooring as an independant contractor for a company who paid him personal checks. Then, he opened a tattoo shop to pay his bills. He’s “hustled/bartered” his way through life for the past 15 years somehow. Hes trying to get his life straight and get out of the “hustling/bartering” and get a legit job. Hes always feared of the bounty hunters..
    Ill have to port him to the article…

    • Skin Art Squared says:

      @Mykro: While technically he should have been paying taxes, the IRS would be hard pressed to even come up with a figure for him. Tough to track something with no paper trail. (cash)

  19. temporaryerror says:

    I used to work with a guy that pissed off the government SO bad (unpaid taxes or child support or something along those lines) that they started taking 100% of his paycheck. He got nothing.
    I’m guessing that you have to ignore their warnings for a long time in order for them to take that sort of action. He was king douche though.

    • Skin Art Squared says:

      @temporaryerror: “…that they started taking 100% of his paycheck. He got nothing.”

      I don’t see how this is legal or possible. But I also don’t see how it’s practical. If they were taking 100% of his pay, what incentive does he have to continue working? And if he continued to work with a 100% garnishment, (slavery), how was he covering living expenses? (i.e. food)

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      @temporaryerror: yeah, i have a friend whose employer didn’t take enough taxes out of his checks for a few years when he was a teenager and he didn’t know any different until the IRS came knocking. he cooperated, but doesn’t make enough to pay the lump sum. so he set up a small percentage of his paychecks to be taken out as additional withholding and the IRS will just keep any overpayment to taxes until he’s caught up.
      apparently they are very willing to work with you if you are willing to work with them

  20. Black-Cat says:

    Dog: what a douche. Love how they air brushed his woman and knocked off half her weight.

  21. pyehac says:

    I wanted to see Dog arrest a few local people and speak pidgin ‘lil dat – oh wait…

  22. William Hunter says:

    You guys missed a perfectly good opportunity for a Boba Fett picture with this one. Sheeeeeeeeeeeet.

  23. mrearly2 says:

    The IRS: (private) Collection Agency for the private Federal Reserve, both posing as government outfits.
    Most of the taxes collected by the IRS thugs aren’t even lawful, especially since the Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was never ratified by the required number of states.
    But, no matter, might makes right, and the IRS has people scared enough that most won’t buck the system. Many have tried and died, but most prefer to quietly “fork it over”, to keep the thugs from kicking down their doors.
    Common belief is that “if we don’t pay our income tax, the government will shut down”. Well, I’m sure we’d be better off, but actually, income taxes don’t go to the government, but to the Federal Reserve, which determines the funds’ destination(s). When the gov’t needs $, they simply borrow from the private Fed and put it on our tab. Convenient, no?