13 CFR § 140.3 - What rights do you have when SBA tries to collect a debt from you through offset?

§ 140.3 What rights do you have when SBA tries to collect a debt from you through offset?

(a) SBA must write to you and tell you that it proposes to collect the debt by reducing your federal paycheck, withholding money the Government owes you, and/or reducing your tax refund.

(b) In its written notice to you, SBA must tell you the nature and amount of the debt; that SBA will begin procedures to collect the debt through reduction of your federal paycheck, administrative offset, or reduction of your tax refund; that you have an opportunity to inspect and copy Government records relating to the debt at your expense; and that, before collection begins, you have an opportunity to agree with SBA on a schedule for repayment of your debt.

(c) SBA also must tell you that unless you respond within 60 days from the date of the notice, it will disclose to consumer reporting agencies (also known as credit bureaus or credit agencies) that you are responsible for the debt and the specific information it intends to disclose in order to establish your identity. The amount, status, history of the debt, and agency program under which it arose also will be disclosed.

(d) If you respond to SBA within 60 days from the date of the notice, SBA will not disclose the information to consumer reporting agencies until it considers your response and determines that you owe a past-due, legally enforceable debt.

(e) Within 60 days of the notice you may present evidence that all or part of the debt is not past due or not legally enforceable.

(1) Where a salary offset or administrative offset is proposed, you will have the opportunity to present your evidence to SBA's Office of Hearings and Appeals (“OHA”). The rules in part 134 of this title govern the procedural rights to which you are entitled. In order to have a hearing before OHA, you must request a hearing within 15 days of receipt of the written notice described in this section. An OHA judge will issue a decision within 60 days of the date you filed your petition/request for a review or hearing with OHA, unless you were granted additional time within which to file your request for review.

(2) Where an income tax refund offset is proposed, you will have the opportunity to request a review and present your evidence to the appropriate SBA Commercial Loan Servicing Center at the address provided in the notice.

(f) SBA must consider any evidence you present and must first decide that a debt is past due and legally enforceable. A debt is legally enforceable if there is any forum, including a State or Federal Court or administrative agency, in which SBA's claim would not be barred on the date of offset. Non-judgment debts are enforceable for ten years; judgment debts are enforceable beyond ten years. You will be notified of SBA's decision at least 30 days before any offset deduction is made. You also will be notified of the amount, frequency, proposed beginning date, and duration of the deductions, as well as any obligation to pay interest, penalties, and administrative costs.

(g) If there is any substantial change in the status or amount of your debt, SBA will promptly report that change to each consumer reporting agency it originally contacted.

(h) SBA will obtain satisfactory assurances from each consumer reporting agency that the consumer reporting agency has complied with all federal laws relating to provision of consumer credit information.

(i) If your debt is being repaid by reduction of your income tax refund and you make any additional payments to SBA, SBA will notify the IRS of these payments and your new balance within 10 business days of receiving your payment.

(j) When the debt of a federal employee is reduced to court judgment, the employee is not entitled to further review by SBA, but is only entitled to notice of a proposed salary offset resulting from the judgment. The amount deducted may not exceed 15% of disposable pay, except when the deduction of a greater amount is necessary to completely collect the debt within the employee's remaining period of employment.

(k) When another federal agency asks SBA to offset a debt for it, SBA will not initiate the requested offset until it has received from the creditor agency a written certification that the debtor owes a debt, its amount, and that the provisions of all applicable statutes and regulations have been complied with fully.

(l) SBA may make an offset prior to completion of the procedures described in this part, if:

(1) Failure to make an offset would substantially prejudice the government's ability to collect the debt; and

(2) The time before the payment would otherwise be made to you does not reasonably permit the completion of the procedures.

(3) Such prior offset then must be followed by the completion of the procedures described in this part.

(m) Where an IRS tax refund offset is sought, SBA must follow the Department of the Treasury's regulations governing offset of a past-due, legally enforceable debt against tax overpayment.

The following state regulations pages link to this page.