This week, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis released draft legislation that he will pursue for the upcoming legislative session to yank licenses for IRS vendors who discriminate.
The legislation would establish anti-discrimination provisions on state licensed debt collectors. This legislation represents another pillar of the CFO’s Four Part “IRS Protection Plan to Fight Back Against a Shakedown Targeting Florida.”
“With 87,000 new IRS personnel, there is absolutely no doubt that some of those new agents are going to target Floridians based on their political beliefs, and it’s likely they could hire state licensed debt collectors to go after you. Not on my watch. If a debt collector wrongly discriminates against, or targets, Floridians based on their political affiliation, ideology, viewpoint or conduct, we’ll yank their license to do business in Florida. This will provide a strong deterrence mechanism against discrimination and targeting by IRS vendors and make bad actors think twice about doing the bidding of crooked tax agents. If you’re trying to shakedown Florida businesses, non-profits, or families in the State of Florida, I’m working to ensure our communities have the resources to fight back and win,” Patronis said.
Recently, the CFO announced he would work to pass legislation for the upcoming session to fight back against the IRS, which is expected to grow by 87,000 personnel through an $80 billion appropriation of taxpayer money from the Inflation Reduction Act that President Joe Biden signed into law in August. This is the third release of draft legislation the CFO issued on defending Florida from the IRS. Last week, the CFO issued draft text as part of his Four-Part Plan, establishing civil penalties for political discrimination by IRS agents targeting individuals. The CFO has also issued draft text to report IRS access of state chartered banks and create a transparency site.
PILLAR #3: YANK LICENSES FOR IRS VENDORS WHO DISCRIMINATE – Click Here✎ EditSign to Read More
Proposal Creates Anti-Discrimination Provisions on State Licensed Debt Collectors. In certain instances, there are debt collectors serving as vendors to the Florida Department of Revenue who also do so for the IRS. By adding anti-discrimination provisions for licensed debt collectors, Florida could leverage the license of any IRS vendor that is being used to discriminate against small businesses, non-profits or private individuals. If a party was able to prove that they were being discriminated against by an IRS vendor, the state could yank the debt collectors Florida license. This would provide a deterrence mechanism against discrimination by IRS vendors.
DRAFT LEGISLATIVE TEXT FOR PUBLIC DISTRIBUTION – Click Here✎ EditSign to Read More
[BEGIN DRAFT TEXT]
A bill to be entitled
An act relating to ; providing an effective date.
Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
Section 1. Section 559.72, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
(1) Simulate in any manner a law enforcement officer or a representative of any governmental agency.
(2) Use or threaten force or violence.
(3) Tell a debtor who disputes a consumer debt that she or he or any person employing her or him will disclose to another, orally or in writing, directly or indirectly, information affecting the debtor’s reputation for credit worthiness without also informing the debtor that the existence of the dispute will also be disclosed as required by subsection (6).
(4) Communicate or threaten to communicate with a debtor’s employer before obtaining final judgment against the debtor, unless the debtor gives her or his permission in writing to contact her or his employer or acknowledges in writing the existence of the debt after the debt has been placed for collection. However, this does not prohibit a person from telling the debtor that her or his employer will be contacted if a final judgment is obtained.
(5) Disclose to a person other than the debtor or her or his family information affecting the debtor’s reputation, whether or not for credit worthiness, with knowledge or reason to know that the other person does not have a legitimate business need for the information or that the information is false.
(6) Disclose information concerning the existence of a debt known to be reasonably disputed by the debtor without disclosing that fact. If a disclosure is made before such dispute has been asserted and written notice is received from the debtor that any part of the debt is disputed, and if such dispute is reasonable, the person who made the original disclosure must reveal upon the request of the debtor within 30 days the details of the dispute to each person to whom disclosure of the debt without notice of the dispute was made within the preceding 90 days.
(7) Willfully communicate with the debtor or any member of her or his family with such frequency as can reasonably be expected to harass the debtor or her or his family, or willfully engage in other conduct which can reasonably be expected to abuse or harass the debtor or any member of her or his family.
(8) Use profane, obscene, vulgar, or willfully abusive language in communicating with the debtor or any member of her or his family.
(9) Claim, attempt, or threaten to enforce a debt when such person knows that the debt is not legitimate, or assert the existence of some other legal right when such person knows that the right does not exist.
(10) Use a communication that simulates in any manner legal or judicial process or that gives the appearance of being authorized, issued, or approved by a government, governmental agency, or attorney at law, when it is not.
(11) Communicate with a debtor under the guise of an attorney by using the stationery of an attorney or forms or instruments that only attorneys are authorized to prepare.
(12) Orally communicate with a debtor in a manner that gives the false impression or appearance that such person is or is associated with an attorney.
(13) Advertise or threaten to advertise for sale any debt as a means to enforce payment except under court order or when acting as an assignee for the benefit of a creditor.
(14) Publish or post, threaten to publish or post, or cause to be published or posted before the general public individual names or any list of names of debtors, commonly known as a deadbeat list, for the purpose of enforcing or attempting to enforce collection of consumer debts.
(15) Refuse to provide adequate identification of herself or himself or her or his employer or other entity whom she or he represents if requested to do so by a debtor from whom she or he is collecting or attempting to collect a consumer debt.
(16) Mail any communication to a debtor in an envelope or postcard with words typed, written, or printed on the outside of the envelope or postcard calculated to embarrass the debtor. An example of this would be an envelope addressed to “Deadbeat, Jane Doe” or “Deadbeat, John Doe.”
(17) Communicate with the debtor between the hours of 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. in the debtor’s time zone without the prior consent of the debtor.
(a) The person may presume that the time a telephone call is received conforms to the local time zone assigned to the area code of the number called, unless the person reasonably believes that the debtor’s telephone is located in a different time zone.
(b) If, such as with toll-free numbers, an area code is not assigned to a specific geographic area, the person may presume that the time a telephone call is received conforms to the local time zone of the debtor’s last known place of residence, unless the person reasonably believes that the debtor’s telephone is located in a different time zone.
(18) Communicate with a debtor if the person knows that the debtor is represented by an attorney with respect to such debt and has knowledge of, or can readily ascertain, such attorney’s name and address, unless the debtor’s attorney fails to respond within 30 days to a communication from the person, unless the debtor’s attorney consents to a direct communication with the debtor, or unless the debtor initiates the communication.
(19) Cause a debtor to be charged for communications by concealing the true purpose of the communication, including collect telephone calls and telegram fees.
(20) Discriminate against, or target, any debtor on the basis of his or her political affiliation, ideology, viewpoint, or conduct.
Section 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.
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