45 CFR 30.18 - Interest, penalties, and administrative costs.
(a) Generally. Except as provided in paragraphs (g), (h), and (i) of this section, the Department shall charge interest, penalties, and administrative costs on delinquent debts owed to the United States. These charges shall continue to accrue until the debt is paid in full or otherwise resolved through compromise, termination, or waiver of the charges.
(b) Interest. The Department shall charge interest on delinquent debts owed the United States as follows:
(1) Interest shall accrue from the date of delinquency, or as otherwise provided by law. For debts not paid by the date specified in the written demand for payment made under § 30.11, the date of delinquency is the date of mailing of the notice. The date of delinquency for an installment payment is the due date specified in the payment agreement.
(2) Unless a different rate is prescribed by statute, contract, or a repayment agreement, the rate of interest charged shall be the rate established annually by the Secretary of the Treasury pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 3717. The Department may charge a higher rate if necessary to protect the rights of the United States and the Secretary has determined and documented a higher rate for delinquent debt is required to protect the Government's interests. Any such higher rate of interest charged will be based on Treasury's quarterly rate certification to the U.S. Public Health Service for delinquencies in the National Research Services Awards and the National Health Services Corps Scholarship Program. The Department publishes this rate in the Federal Register quarterly.
(3) Unless prescribed by statute or contract, the rate of interest, as initially charged, shall remain fixed for the duration of the indebtedness. When a debtor defaults on a repayment agreement and seeks to enter into a new agreement, the Department may require payment of interest at a new rate that reflects the Treasury rate in effect at the time the new agreement is executed. Interest shall not be compounded, that is, interest shall not be charged on interest, penalties, or administrative costs required by this section, unless prescribed by statute or contract. If, however, the debtor defaults on a previous repayment agreement, charges that accrued but were not collected under the defaulted agreement shall be added to the principal under the new repayment agreement.
(c) Administrative costs. The Department shall assess administrative costs incurred for processing and handling delinquent debts. The calculation of administrative costs should be based on actual costs incurred or a valid estimate of the actual costs. Calculation of administrative costs shall include all direct (personnel, supplies, etc.) and indirect collection costs, including the cost of providing a hearing or any other form of administrative review requested by a debtor, and any costs charged by a collection agency under § 30.14. These charges will be assessed monthly, or per payment period, throughout the period that the debt is overdue. Such costs may also be in addition to other administrative costs if collection is being made for another Federal agency or unit.
(d) Penalty. Unless otherwise established by contract, repayment agreement, or statute, the Secretary will charge a penalty of six percent a year on the amount due on a debt that is delinquent for more than 90 days. This charge shall accrue from the date of delinquency.
(e) Cost of living adjustment. When there is a legitimate reason to do so, such as when calculating interest and penalties on a debt would be extremely difficult because of the age of the debt, an administrative debt may be increased by the cost of living adjustment in lieu of charging interest and penalties under this section. Administrative debt includes, but is not limited to, a debt based on fines, penalties, and overpayments, but does not include a debt based on the extension of Government credit, such as those arising from loans and loan guaranties. The cost of living adjustment is the percentage by which the Consumer Price Index for the month of June of the calendar year preceding the adjustment exceeds the Consumer Price Index for the month of June of the calendar year in which the debt was determined or last adjusted. Such increases to administrative debts shall be computed annually.
(f) Priority. When a debt is paid in partial or installment payments, amounts received shall be applied first to outstanding penalties, second to administrative charges, third to interest, and last to principal.
(1) The Secretary shall waive the collection of interest and administrative charges imposed pursuant to this section on the portion of the debt that is paid within 30 days after the date on which interest began to accrue. The Secretary may extend this 30-day period on a case-by-case basis if the Secretary determines that such action is in the best interest of the Government, or otherwise warranted by equity and good conscience.
(2) The Secretary also may waive interest, penalties, and administrative charges charged under this section, in whole or in part, without regard to the amount of the debt, based on:
(i) The criteria set forth at § 30.22(a)(1) through (4) for the compromise of debts; or
(ii) A determination by the Secretary that collection of these charges is:
(A) Against equity and good conscience; or
(B) Not in the best interest of the United States.
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (h)(2) of this section, administrative review of a debt will not suspend the assessment of interest, penalties, and administrative costs. While agency review of a debt is pending, the debtor either may pay the debt or be liable for interest and related charges on the uncollected debt. When agency review results in a final determination that any amount was properly a debt and the debtor chose to retain the amount in dispute, the Secretary shall collect from the debtor the amount determined to be due, plus interest, penalties and administrative costs on such debt amount, as calculated under this section, starting from the date the debtor was first made aware of the debt and ending when the debt is repaid.
(2) Exception. Interest, penalties, and administrative cost charges will not be imposed on a debt for periods during which collection activity has been suspended under § 30.29(c)(1) pending agency review or consideration of waiver if statute prohibits collection of the debt during this period.
(i) Common law or other statutory authority. The Department may impose and waive interest and related charges on debts not subject to 31 U.S.C. 3717 in accordance with the common law or other statutory authority.