14 CFR 1261.416 - Suspending or terminating collection action.
(a) The standards set forth in this section apply to the suspension or termination of collection action pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 3711(a)(3) on claims which do not exceed $20,000, exclusive of interest, penalties, and administrative costs, after deducting the amount of partial payments or collections, if any. NASA may suspend or terminate collection action under this part with respect to claims for money or property arising out of activities of the agency, prior to the referral of such claims to the General Accounting Office or to the Department of Justice for litigation. The Comptroller General (or designee) may exercise such authority with respect to claims referred to the General Accounting Office prior to their further referral for litigation.
(b) If, after deducting the amount of partial payments or collections, if any, a claim exceeds $20,000, exclusive of interest, penalties, and administrative costs, the authority to suspend or terminate rests solely with the Department of Justice. If the designated official believes suspension or termination may be appropriate, the matter should be evaluated using the factors set forth in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section. If the agency concludes that suspension or termination is appropriate, it must refer the matter, with its reasons for the recommendation, to the Department of Justice, using the Claims Collection Litigation Report. See § 1261.417(e) or 4 CFR 105.2(b). If NASA decides not to suspend or terminate collection action on the claim, Department of Justice approval is not required; or if it determines that its claim is plainly erroneous or clearly without legal merit, it may terminate collection action regardless of the amount involved, without the need for Department of Justice concurrence.
(c) Suspension of collection activity -
(1) Inability to locate debtor. Collection action may be suspended temporarily on a claim when the debtor cannot be located after diligent effort and there is reason to believe that future collection action may be sufficiently productive to justify periodic review and action on the claim, with due consideration for the size and amount which may be realized thereon. The following sources may be of assistance in locating missing debtors: Telephone directories; city directories; postmasters; drivers' license records; automobile title and registration records; state and local government agencies; the Internal Revenue Service (see 4 CFR 102.18); other Federal agencies; employers, relatives, friends; credit agency skip locate reports, and credit bureaus. Suspension as to a particular debtor should not defer the early liquidation cf security for the debt. Every reasonable effort should be made to locate missing debtors sufficiently in advance of the bar of the applicable statute of limitations, such as 28 U.S.C. 2415, to permit the timely filing of suit if such action is warranted. If the missing debtor has signed a confess-judgment note and is in default, referral of the note for the entry of judgment should not be delayed because of the debtor's missing status.
(2) Financial condition of debtor. Collection action may also be suspended temporarily on a claim when the debtor owns no substantial equity in realty or personal property and is unable to make payments on the Government's claim or effect a compromise at the time, but the debtor's future prospects justify retention of the claim for periodic review and action, and:
(i) The applicable statute of limitations has been tolled or started running anew; or
(ii) Future collection can be effected by offset, notwithstanding the statute of limitations, with due regard to the 10-year limitation prescribed by 31 U.S.C. 3716(c)(1); or
(iii) The debtor agrees to pay interest on the amount of the debt on which collection action will be temporarily suspended, and such temporary suspension is likely to enhance the debtor's ability to fully pay the principle amount of the debt with interest at a later date.
(3) Request for waiver or administrative review. If the statute under which waiver or administrative review is sought is “mandatory,” that is, if it prohibits the agency from collecting the debt prior to the agency's consideration of the request for waiver or review (see Califano v. Yamasaki, 422 U.S. 682 (1979)), then collection action must be suspended until either: The agency has considered the request for waiver/review; or the applicable time limit for making the waiver/review request, as prescribed in a written notice, has expired and the debtor, upon notice, has not made such a request. If the applicable waiver/review statute is “permissive,” that is, if it does not require all requests for waiver/review to be considered, and if it does not prohibit collection action pending consideration of a waiver/request (for example, 5 U.S.C. 5584), collection action may be suspended pending agency action on a waiver/review request based upon appropriate consideration, on a case-by-case basis, as to whether:
(i) There is a reasonable possibility that waiver will be granted or that the debt (in whole or in part) will be found not owing from the debtor;
(ii) The Government's interests would be protected, if suspension were granted, by reasonable assurance that the debt could be recovered if the debtor does not prevail; and
(iii) Collection of the debt will cause undue hardship.
(4) If the applicable statutes and regulations would not authorize refund by the agency to the debtor of amounts collected prior to agency consideration of the debtor's waiver/review request (in the event the agency acts favorably on it), collection action should ordinarily be suspended, without regard to the factors specified for permissive waivers, unless it appears clear, based on the request and the surrounding circumstances, that the request is frivolous and was made primarily to delay collection. See 4 CFR 104.2.
(d) Termination of collection activity. Collection activity may be terminated and NASA may close its file on the claim based on the following:
(1) Inability to collect any substantial amount. Collection action may be terminated on a claim when it becomes clear that the Government cannot collect or enforce collection of any significant sum from the debtor, having due regard for the judicial remedies available to the Government, the debtor's future financial prospects, and the exemptions available to the debtor under State and Federal law. In determining the debtor's inability to pay, the following factors, among others, may be considered: Age and health of the debtor; present and potential income; inheritance prospects; the possibility that assets have been concealed or improperly transferred by the debtor; the availability of assets or income which may be realized by enforced collection proceedings.
(2) Inability to locate debtor. Collection action may be terminated on a claim when the debtor cannot be located, and either:
(i) There is no security remaining to be liquidated; or
(ii) The applicable statute of limitations has run and the prospects of collecting by offset, notwithstanding the bar of the statute of limitations, are too remote to justify retention of the claim.
(3) Cost will exceed recovery. Collection action may be terminated on a claim when it is likely that the cost of further collection action will exceed the amount recoverable thereby.
(4) Claim legally without merit. Collection action should be terminated immediately on a claim whenever it is determined that the claim is legally without merit.
(5) Claim cannot be substantiated by evidence. Collection action should be terminated when it is determined that the evidence necessary to prove the claim cannot be produced or the necessary witnesses are unavailable and efforts to reduce voluntary payment are unavailing.
(e) Transfer of claim. When NASA has doubt as to whether collection action should be suspended or terminated on a claim, it may refer the claim to the General Accounting Office for advice. When a significant enforcement policy is involved in reducing a statutory penalty or forfeiture to judgment, or recovery of a judgment is a prerequisite to the imposition of administrative sanctions, such as the suspension or revocation of a license or the privilege of participating in a Government sponsored program, NASA may refer such a claim for litigation even though termination of collection activity might otherwise be given consideration under paragraphs (d)(1) and (2) of this section. Claims on which NASA holds a judgment by assignment or otherwise will be referred to the Department of Justice for further action if renewal of the judgment lien or enforced collection proceedings are justified under the criteria discussed in this section.