Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 58.1. Taxation
7/27/2017

Article 21. Setoff Debt Collection Act.

§ 58.1-520. (Contingent expiration) Definitions.

As used in this article:

"Claimant agency" means any administrative unit of state, county, city or town government, including department, institution, commission, authority, or the office of Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court, any circuit or district court and the Internal Revenue Service. All state agencies and institutions shall participate in the setoff program.

"Debtor" means any individual having a delinquent debt or account with any claimant agency which obligation has not been satisfied by court order, set aside by court order, or discharged in bankruptcy.

"Delinquent debt" means any liquidated sum due and owing any claimant agency, or any restitution ordered paid to a clerk of the court pursuant to Title 19.2, including any amount of court costs or fines which have accrued through contract, subrogation, tort, operation of law, or any other legal theory regardless of whether there is an outstanding judgment for that sum which is legally collectible and for which a collection effort has been or is being made.

"Mailing date of notice" means the date of notice appearing thereon.

"Refund" means any individual's Virginia state or local income tax refund payable pursuant to § 58.1-309. This term also includes any refund belonging to a debtor resulting from the filing of a joint income tax return or a refund belonging to a debtor resulting from the filing of a return where husband and wife have elected to file a combined return and separately state their Virginia taxable incomes under the provisions of § 58.1-324 B 2.

Code 1950, § 58-19.7; 1981, c. 408; 1982, c. 621; 1983, c. 545; 1984, cc. 269, 675; 1986, c. 322; 1988, c. 544; 1989, cc. 77, 245; 1994, c. 197; 1996, cc. 363, 413; 2013, c. 766.

§ 58.1-520. (Contingent effective date) Definitions.

As used in this article:

"Claimant agency" means any administrative unit of state, county, city or town government, including department, institution, commission, authority, or the office of Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court, any circuit or district court and the Internal Revenue Service. All state agencies and institutions shall participate in the setoff program.

"Debtor" means any individual having a delinquent debt or account with any claimant agency which obligation has not been satisfied by court order, set aside by court order, or discharged in bankruptcy.

"Delinquent debt" means any liquidated sum due and owing any claimant agency, or any restitution ordered paid to a clerk of the court pursuant to Title 19.2, including any amount of court costs or fines which have accrued through contract, subrogation, tort, operation of law, or any other legal theory regardless of whether there is an outstanding judgment for that sum which is legally collectible and for which a collection effort has been or is being made.

"Mailing date of notice" means the date of notice appearing thereon.

"Refund" means any individual's (i) Virginia state or local income tax refund payable pursuant to § 58.1-309 or (ii) federal income tax refund payable pursuant to § 6402 of the Internal Revenue Code. This term also includes any refund belonging to a debtor resulting from the filing of a joint income tax return or a refund belonging to a debtor resulting from the filing of a return where husband and wife have elected to file a combined return and separately state their Virginia taxable incomes under the provisions of § 58.1-324 B 2.

Code 1950, § 58-19.7; 1981, c. 408; 1982, c. 621; 1983, c. 545; 1984, cc. 269, 675; 1986, c. 322; 1988, c. 544; 1989, cc. 77, 245; 1994, c. 197; 1996, cc. 363, 413; 2009, cc. 571, 787; 2013, c. 766.

§ 58.1-520.1. Recovery of administrative costs.

Any county, city or town may collect, in addition to the amount of delinquent debt collected pursuant to the provisions of this article, the administrative costs associated with collection of the debt in an amount not to exceed twenty-five dollars per claim.

1994, c. 484.

§ 58.1-521. Remedy additional; mandatory usage; obtaining identifying information.

A. The collection remedy under this article is in addition to and not in substitution for any other remedy available by law.

B. Except for county, city or town governments, which may utilize the provisions of this article, all claimant agencies shall submit, for collection under the procedure established by this article, all delinquent debts which they are owed.

C. All claimant agencies, whenever possible, shall obtain the full name, social security number, address, and any other identifying information, required by rules promulgated by the Tax Commissioner for implementation of this article, from any person for whom the agencies provide any service or transact any business and who the claimant agencies can foresee may become a debtor under the terms of this article.

Code 1950, § 58-19.8; 1981, c. 408; 1983, c. 258; 1984, cc. 675, 720; 1986, c. 322.

§ 58.1-522. Participation in setoff program not permitted where debt below certain levels.

If the claimant agency determines that the administrative cost, as defined in the rules promulgated by the Tax Commissioner, of utilizing this article will exceed the amount of the delinquent debt, then such claimant agency shall not participate in the setoff program below such levels determined economically infeasible.

Code 1950, § 58-19.9; 1981, c. 408; 1982, c. 621; 1984, cc. 675, 720.

§ 58.1-523. Department to aid in collection of sums due claimant agencies through setoff.

Subject to the limitations contained in this article, the Department, upon request, shall render assistance in the collection of any delinquent account or debt owing to any claimant agency. This assistance shall be provided by setting off any refunds belonging to the debtor from the Department by the sum certified by the claimant agency as due and owing.

Code 1950, § 58-19.10; 1981, c. 408; 1982, c. 621; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-524. Notification of Department by claimant agency; action of Department.

A. A claimant agency seeking to attempt collection of a delinquent debt through setoff shall notify the Department and supply information necessary to identify the debtor whose refund is sought to be setoff. Notification to the Department and the furnishing of identifying information must occur on or before a date specified by the Department. The claimant agency shall verify that the delinquent debt is valid before notifying the Department requesting setoff, and shall promptly notify the Department when subsequent payments or other events render all or a portion of the debt invalid.

B. The Department, upon receipt of notification, shall determine whether the debtor to the claimant agency is entitled to a refund from the Department. Upon determination by the Department that a debtor specified by the claimant agency qualifies for such a refund, the Department shall notify the claimant agency that a refund is pending, specify its sum, and indicate the debtor's address as listed on the tax return.

C. The Department, upon certification as hereinafter provided in this article, shall set off the certified debt against the refund to which the debtor would otherwise be entitled.

Code 1950, § 58-19.11; 1981, c. 408; 1982, c. 621; 1984, c. 675; 1996, cc. 363, 413.

§ 58.1-525. Notification of intention to set off and right to hearing.

A. The claimant agency, upon receipt of notification from the Department that a debtor is entitled to a refund, within ten days shall mail a written notification to the debtor at his or her last known address and shall send evidence of same in the manner required by rules promulgated by the Tax Commissioner to the Department of its assertion of rights to the refund or any part thereof. The notification shall inform the debtor of the claimant agency's intention to direct the Department to apply the refund or any portion thereof against the debt certified as due and owing.

B. The contents of the written notification to the debtor and the Department's notification of the setoff claim shall clearly set forth the basis for the claim to the refund, the intention to apply the refund against the debt to the claimant agency, the debtor's opportunity to give written notice of intent to contest the validity of the claim before the claimant agency within thirty days of the date of the mailing of the notice, the mailing address to which the application for a hearing must be sent, and the fact that failure to apply for a hearing in writing within the thirty-day period will be deemed a waiver of the opportunity to contest the claim causing final setoff by default.

C. The written application by the debtor for a hearing shall be effective upon mailing the application postage prepaid and properly addressed to the claimant agency.

Code 1950, § 58-19.12; 1981, c. 408; 1982, c. 621; 1984, c. 675; 1986, c. 322; 1996, cc. 363, 413.

§ 58.1-526. Hearing procedure.

A. If a claimant agency other than the Internal Revenue Service receives written application of the debtor's intention to contest at a hearing the claim upon which the intended setoff is based, it shall grant a hearing according to procedures established by that agency under its operating statutes to determine whether the claim is valid. Additionally, it shall be determined at the hearing whether the claimed sum asserted as due and owing is correct, and if not, an adjustment to the claim shall be made. A debtor of the Internal Revenue Service shall contest the claim only in accordance with federal law and procedures.

B. Pending final determination at the hearing of the validity of the debt asserted by the claimant agency, no action shall be taken in furtherance of collection through the setoff procedure allowed under this article.

C. No person hearing the debtor's application contesting the claimant agency's claim shall have been involved in the prior circumstances which have culminated in such dispute.

D. No issue may be considered at the hearing which has been previously litigated.

E. In the case of setoff arising out of delinquent local taxes, the scope of the hearing shall be limited to determining whether the setoff is a tax obligation that remains due and owing to the locality, and shall not address the underlying basis of the tax obligation.

Code 1950, § 58-19.13; 1981, c. 408; 1982, c. 621; 1984, cc. 675, 720; 1996, cc. 363, 413; 1997, c. 496.

§ 58.1-527. Appeals from hearings.

A. Within thirty days after the decision of the claimant agency upon a hearing pursuant to § 58.1-526 has become final, the debtor aggrieved thereby may secure judicial review thereof by commencing an action in the circuit court of the county or of the city, or if the city has no circuit court, then in the circuit court of the county in which such city is geographically located, in which the debtor resides or in which the principal office of the claimant agency is geographically located. In such action against the claimant agency for review of its decision, the claimant agency shall be named a defendant in a petition for judicial review. This section shall not be construed to confer jurisdiction on the circuit court to review questions of federal income tax law when the claimant agency is the Internal Revenue Service.

B. Such petition shall also state the grounds upon which review is sought and shall be served upon the head of the claimant agency or upon such person as the claimant agency may designate. With its answer, the claimant agency shall certify and file with the court all documents and papers and a transcript of all testimony taken in the matter, together with its findings of fact and decision therein. In any judicial proceedings under this article, the findings of the claimant agency as to the facts shall be sustained if supported by the evidence. Such actions and the questions so certified shall be heard in a summary manner at the earliest possible date. An appeal may be taken from the decision of such court to the Supreme Court in conformity with the general law governing appeals in equity cases.

C. It shall not be necessary in any proceeding under this section to enter exceptions to the rulings of the claimant agency, and no bond shall be required upon an appeal to any court.

D. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section, if the claimant agency is otherwise subject to the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.), appeals of such agency's decision as it relates to the debtor shall be held in accordance with Article 5 (§ 2.2-4025 et seq.) of the Administrative Process Act.

Code 1950, § 58-19.14; 1981, c. 408; 1982, c. 621; 1984, c. 675; 1996, cc. 363, 413, 573.

§ 58.1-528. Certification of debt by claimant agency; finalization of setoff.

A. Upon final determination of the debt due and owing the claimant agency or upon the debtor's default for failure to comply with § 58.1-525, the claimant agency shall within twenty days notify the Department to setoff the refund against the debt. If the claimant agency fails to notify the Department within twenty days, the Department shall no longer be obligated to hold the refund for setoff.

B. Upon receipt by the Department of a notification of final determination and setoff from the claimant agency, the Department shall finalize the setoff by transferring the proceeds collected for credit or payment in accordance with the provisions of § 58.1-532 and by refunding any remaining balance to the debtor as if setoff had not occurred.

Code 1950, § 58-19.15; 1981, c. 408; 1982, c. 621; 1984, c. 675; 1996, cc. 363, 413.

§ 58.1-529. Notice of final setoff.

Upon the finalization of setoff under the provisions of this article, the Department shall notify the debtor in writing of the action taken along with an accounting of the action taken on any refund. If there is an outstanding balance after setoff, the notice under this section shall accompany the balance when disbursed.

Code 1950, § 58-19.16; 1981, c. 408; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-530. (Contingent expiration -- see Editor's note) Priorities in claims to be setoff.

Priority in multiple claims to refunds allowed to be setoff under the provisions of this article shall be in the order in time which a claimant agency has filed a written notice with the Department of its intention to effect collection through setoff under this article. However, claims filed by any court or administrative unit of state government shall have priority over claims filed by any county, city or town; and claims filed by any court, administrative unit of state government, county, city or town shall have priority over claims filed by the Internal Revenue Service. Notwithstanding the priority set forth above according to time of filing, the Department has priority over all other claimant agencies for collection by setoff whenever it is a competing agency for a refund.

Code 1950, § 58-19.17; 1981, c. 408; 1983, c. 545; 1984, c. 675; 1996, cc. 363, 413.

§ 58.1-530. (Contingent effective date -- see Editor's note) Priorities in claims to be setoff.

Priority in multiple claims to refunds allowed to be setoff under the provisions of this article shall be determined by the following classifications and in priority order as follows:

1. Claims of the Department;

2. Claims filed by the Department of Social Services, Division of Child Support Enforcement;

3. Claims filed by any court or other administrative unit of state government;

4. Claims filed by any county, city, or town; and

5. Claims filed by the Internal Revenue Service.

Priority for claims within the same classification shall be determined by the order in time in which the claimant agency filed a written notice with the Department of its intention to effect collection through setoff under this article. Claims filed by counties, cities and towns for an offset of the federal income tax refund shall be limited to claims for delinquent local taxes.

Code 1950, § 58-19.17; 1981, c. 408; 1983, c. 545; 1984, c. 675; 1996, cc. 363, 413; 2009, cc. 571, 787.

§ 58.1-531. Disposition of proceeds collected; Department's annual statement of costs.

A. Upon effecting final setoffs, the Department shall periodically pay to the respective claimant agencies the proceeds collected on their behalf. However, with respect to amounts collected under this article for any county, city or town, the Department is authorized to deduct a sum, not in excess of twenty-five percent of the amount collected, to offset the cost of making such collection.

B. The Department shall provide the Governor and the chairmen of the House and Senate Finance Committees and the House Appropriations Committee with an annual statement setting forth the Department's cost of administering this article.

Code 1950, § 58-19.18; 1981, c. 408; 1982, c. 621; 1983, c. 545; 1984, cc. 675, 720; 1988, c. 331; 1989, c. 77.

§ 58.1-531.1. Errors in setoff program.

If as a result of an error by the Department of Taxation or the claimant agency a taxpayer has his refund set off erroneously and is denied all or a portion of his income tax refund, interest shall be paid to the taxpayer at the rate provided in § 58.1-15 and shall accrue in the manner provided in § 58.1-1833.

1988, c. 331; 1989, c. 77.

§ 58.1-532. Accounting to claimant agency; confidentiality; credit to debtor's obligation.

A. Simultaneously with the transmittal of proceeds collected to a claimant agency, the Department shall provide the agency with an accounting of the setoffs finalized for which payment is being made. The accounting, whenever possible, shall include the full names of the debtors and the debtors' social security numbers. No federal tax return information shall be divulged by the Department under any circumstances.

B. Upon receipt by a claimant agency of proceeds collected on a claimant agency's behalf by the Department and an accounting of the proceeds as specified under this section, the claimant agency shall credit the debtor's obligation.

Code 1950, § 58-19.19; 1981, c. 408; 1982, c. 621; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-533. Confidentiality exemption; use of information obtained.

A. Notwithstanding § 58.1-3 or any other provision of law prohibiting disclosure by the Department of the contents of taxpayer records or information and notwithstanding any confidentiality statute of any claimant agency, all information exchanged among the Department, claimant agency, and the debtor necessary to accomplish and effectuate the intent of this article shall be lawful.

B. The information obtained by a claimant agency from the Department in accordance with the exemption allowed by subsection A shall only be used by a claimant agency in the pursuit of its debt collection duties and practices and any person employed by, or formerly employed by, a claimant agency who discloses any such information for any other purpose, except as otherwise allowed by § 58.1-3, shall be penalized in accordance with the terms of that section.

Code 1950, § 58-19.20; 1981, c. 408; 1982, c. 621; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-534. Rules and regulations.

The Tax Commissioner shall promulgate all rules which he deems necessary in order to implement the intent of this article.

Code 1950, § 58-19.21; 1981, c. 408; 1984, cc. 675, 720.

§ 58.1-535. Application of funds on deposit.

A. In addition to the collection remedy provided in this article, if a claimant agency has on deposit any funds which are due to the debtor, the claimant agency may apply such funds to the payment of any delinquent debt which the debtor owes to the claimant agency, provided that the claimant agency first provides written notification to the debtor of its intent to apply the funds against the debt.

B. The contents of the written notification to the debtor shall clearly set forth the basis for the claim to the funds on deposit, the intention to apply the funds against the debt to the claimant agency, and the right of the debtor to contest the validity of the claim before the claimant agency.

C. If as the result of an error by the claimant agency a debtor is denied all or a portion of his funds under the provisions of this section, interest shall be paid by the claimant agency to the debtor at the overpayment rate provided in § 58.1-15 for the time such funds were denied, except that a county, city or town shall pay interest in the manner prescribed in § 58.1-3916 or § 58.1-3918.

D. As used in this section:

"Debtor" means any individual, business or group having a delinquent debt or account with any claimant agency which obligation has not been satisfied by court order, set aside by court order, or discharged in bankruptcy.

"Funds on deposit" means any funds of a debtor that a claimant agency may have in its possession, including overpayments of taxes and any funds due to a debtor arising from a contractual agreement with a claimant agency.

1988, cc. 563, 768; 1989, c. 77; 1999, c. 631.

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