Tax season lessons, predictions, and suggestions for collections

In late 2022, we asked a panel of folks with a broad range of experience in sales and collections to look back on lessons from that year and to make predictions about the 2023 tax season.

Their thoughts covered everything from the compliance chaos of the first quarter of 2022 to staffing shortages and the need to be first in a line of consumer financial demands.

How’d their predictions and recommendations hold up? And what can we learn to make the next tax season better? Watch the full webinar or read on for the takeaways.

A perfect storm: Tax season 2022

“I call it a perfect storm,” Marc Cataldo, Sr. Account Executive at Prodigal, said of the 2022 tax season. 

“It was the first season, first quarter, really, where we were implementing Reg F, a lot of agencies were struggling through that and adopting some of the new regulations, there was the Hunstein opinion, agencies were still working through either 100% remote or some form of partial remote and then obviously with the actual tax returns a lot of people just were delayed and didn't even file their return until well after the [deadline].”

Because of those unexpected variables, Cataldo thought it was unlikely this tax season would look like 2022’s.

And he’s right in that it is different, though confusing in different ways. The IRS’s encouraging people to delay filing, continued fallout from the agency’s staffing and technology problems, and ongoing scam risks mean continued stress for taxpayers.

Staffing shortages in tax season 2023

The accounts receivables management industry was already experiencing difficulty with hiring and retention when we talked, and with unemployment rates staying so low, Tim Collins, Chief Compliance Officer at Indebted, didn’t see that changing.

There's not enough agents that are out there,” Collins said.

His company addresses staffing shortfalls with technology. “A lot of collections is ripe for systematic solutions because it's the same thing over and over and over again.”

Collins called out Prodigal’s solution as part of the secret to his success. 

“You have ProNotes, which helps you you need less agents because the system is writing the notes for you, and ProAssist which helps you with giving them the right answers from that agent which allows you to ramp faster, and they've got those things that are going to help them with their efficiency and effectiveness, which will take a little bit of that pressure off as it relates to staffing.”

Getting paid when money is tight

“Collections is all about strategy, strategy, strategy,” said Matthew Maloney, Co-Founder, President & CEO at FFAM 360. And in tax season, the strategy is to get there first.

“Every consumer out there, particularly the debtors or the consumers that we're collecting from, have a finite amount of income. So part of the strategy has always been in tax season, ‘Can I be one of the first ones to get to that customer?’ Because on average they may have six other debts that they owe that are in collection, and that’s where strategy comes in.”

With 2023’s average refund trending lower than last year, that means it has turned out to be even more important to get there first in line.

What we’ve learned, what we know

Tax season 2022 taught us a lot. Coming out of the relative cash-rich of previous years, having solid refunds to allow consumers to deal with debt continued to be useful.

But those extra funds have evaporated, delinquency rates for credit card borrowers are surpassing pre-pandemic norms, and inflation remains high, squeezing borrowers and making repayment difficult.

That means our panel’s recommendations for managing this year’s tax season are still right on: find the right technology partner to ease staffing, training, and call center compliance issues, and be first in line to collect when the refund comes in.

We’re ready to help you stay on track and jump into next year’s tax season ahead of the game.