31 CFR 5.10 - How will Treasury entities use administrative offset (offset of non-tax Federal payments) to collect a Treasury debt?
(a) Centralized administrative offset through the Treasury Offset Program.
(1) In most cases, the Financial Management Service uses the Treasury Offset Program to collect Treasury debts by the offset of Federal payments. See § 5.9(c) of this part. If not already transferred to the Financial Management Service under § 5.9 of this part, Treasury entities will refer any eligible debt over 180 days delinquent to the Treasury Offset Program for collection by centralized administrative offset. See 31 U.S.C. 3716(c)(6); 31 CFR part 285, subpart A; and 31 CFR 901.3(b). Treasury entities may refer any eligible debt less than 180 days delinquent to the Treasury Offset Program for offset.
(2) At least sixty (60) days prior to referring a debt to the Treasury Offset Program, in accordance with paragraph (a)(1) of this section, Treasury entities will send notice to the debtor in accordance with the requirements of § 5.4 of this part. Treasury entities will certify to the Financial Management Service, in writing, that the debt is valid, delinquent, legally enforceable, and that there are no legal bars to collection by offset. In addition, Treasury entities will certify their compliance with the requirements described in this part.
(b) Non-centralized administrative offset for Treasury debts.
(1) When centralized administrative offset through the Treasury Offset Program is not available or appropriate, Treasury entities may collect past-due, legally enforceable Treasury debts through non-centralized administrative offset. See 31 CFR 901.3(c). In these cases, Treasury entities may offset a payment internally or make an offset request directly to a Federal payment agency. If the Federal payment agency is another Treasury entity, the Treasury entity making the request shall do so through the Deputy Chief Financial Officer as described in § 5.20(c) of this part.
(2) At least thirty (30) days prior to offsetting a payment internally or requesting a Federal payment agency to offset a payment, Treasury entities will send notice to the debtor in accordance with the requirements of § 5.4 of this part. When referring a debt for offset under this paragraph (b), Treasury entities making the request will certify, in writing, that the debt is valid, delinquent, legally enforceable, and that there are no legal bars to collection by offset. In addition, Treasury entities will certify their compliance with these regulations concerning administrative offset. See 31 CFR 901.3(c)(2)(ii).
(c) Administrative review. The notice described in § 5.4 of this part shall explain to the debtor how to request an administrative review of a Treasury entity's determination that the debtor owes a Treasury debt and how to present evidence that the debt is not delinquent or legally enforceable. In addition to challenging the existence and amount of the debt, the debtor may seek a review of the terms of repayment. In most cases, Treasury entities will provide the debtor with a “paper hearing” based upon a review of the written record, including documentation provided by the debtor. Treasury entities shall provide the debtor with a reasonable opportunity for an oral hearing when the debtor requests reconsideration of the debt and the Treasury entity determines that the question of the indebtedness cannot be resolved by review of the documentary evidence, for example, when the validity of the debt turns on an issue of credibility or veracity. Unless otherwise required by law, an oral hearing under this section is not required to be a formal evidentiary hearing, although Treasury entities should carefully document all significant matters discussed at the hearing. Treasury entities may suspend collection through administrative offset and/or other collection actions pending the resolution of a debtor's dispute. Each Treasury entity will have its own policies and procedures concerning the administrative review process consistent with the FCCS and the regulations in this section.
(d) Procedures for expedited offset. Under the circumstances described in 31 CFR 901.3(b)(4)(iii), Treasury entities may effect an offset against a payment to be made to the debtor prior to sending a notice to the debtor, as described in § 5.4 of this part, or completing the procedures described in paragraph (b)(2) and (c) of this section. Treasury entities shall give the debtor notice and an opportunity for review as soon as practicable and promptly refund any money ultimately found not to have been owed to the Government.