42-1122. Setoff for debts to state agencies, political subdivisions and courts; revolving fund; definitions

A. The department shall establish a liability setoff program by which refunds under sections 42-1118 and 43-1072 may be used to satisfy debts that the taxpayer owes to this state, a political subdivision or a court. The program shall comply with the standards and requirements prescribed by this section.

B. If a taxpayer owes an agency, political subdivision or court a debt, the agency, political subdivision or court, by November 1 of each year, may notify the department, furnishing at least the state agency, court or program identifier, the taxpayer's first name, last name, middle initial or middle name and suffix and social security number and any other available identification that the agency, political subdivision or court deems appropriate of the debtor as shown on the records of the agency, political subdivision or court, and the amount of the debt.

C. The department shall match the information submitted by the agency, political subdivision or court by at least two items of identification of the taxpayer with taxpayers who qualify for refunds under section 42-1118 and shall:

1. Notify the agency, political subdivision or court of a potential match, the taxpayer's home address and any additional taxpayer identification numbers used by the taxpayer. Even if the taxpayer is not entitled to a refund, the department of revenue shall provide to:

(a) The court, the clerk of the court and the department of economic security, for child support and spousal maintenance purposes only, the home address of a taxpayer whose debt for overdue support is referred for setoff and any additional taxpayer identification numbers used by the taxpayer.

(b) The court the home address and any additional taxpayer identification numbers used by the taxpayer whose debt for a court obligation is referred for setoff and who is identified by the court as a probationer on absconder status.

2. Request final agency, political subdivision or court confirmation in writing or electronically as determined by the department within ten days after the match and of the continuation of the debt.  If the agency, political subdivision or court fails to provide confirmation within forty-five days after the request, the department shall release the refund to the taxpayer.

D. An agency, political subdivision or court may submit updated information, additions, deletions and other changes on a quarterly or more frequent basis, at the convenience of the agency, political subdivision or court.

E. On confirmation pursuant to subsection C, paragraph 2 of this section, the agency or political subdivision shall notify the taxpayer, by mail to the most recent physical address or electronically to the most recent e-mail address provided by the taxpayer to the department:

1. Of the intention to set off the debt against the refund due.

2. Of the taxpayer's right to appeal to the appropriate court or to request a review by the agency or political subdivision pursuant to agency or political subdivision rule, within thirty days after the physical or electronic mailing of the notice.

F. In addition, the taxpayer shall receive notice that if the refund is intercepted in error through no fault of the taxpayer, the taxpayer is entitled to the full refund plus interest and penalties from the agency, political subdivision or court as provided by subsection O of this section.

G. The basis for a request for review as provided by subsection E of this section shall not include the validity of the claim if its validity has been established at an agency hearing, by judicial review in a court of competent jurisdiction in this or any other state or by final administrative decision and shall state with specificity why the taxpayer claims the obligation does not exist or why the amount of the obligation is incorrect.

H. If, within thirty days after the physical or electronic mailing of the notice, the taxpayer requests a review by the agency or political subdivision or provides the agency or political subdivision with proof that an appeal has been taken to the appropriate court, the agency or political subdivision shall immediately notify the department and the setoff procedure shall be stayed pending resolution of the review or appeal.

I. If the department does not receive notice of a timely appeal, it shall draw and deliver a warrant in the amount of the available refund up to the amount of the debt in favor of the agency or political subdivision and notify the taxpayer of the action by physical mail or e-mail.

J. Subsections E, G, H and I of this section do not apply to a debt imposed by a court except that the taxpayer shall receive notice of the intent to set off the debt against the refund due and the right to appeal to the court that imposed the debt within thirty days after the physical or electronic mailing of the notice.  The basis for the request for review shall not include the validity of the claim and shall state with specificity why the taxpayer claims the obligation does not exist or why the obligation is incorrect.

K. If the setoff accounts for only a portion of the refund due, the remainder of the refund shall be sent to the taxpayer.  A court shall not use this section to satisfy a judgment or payment of a fine or civil penalty until the judgment has become final or until the time to appeal the imposition of a fine or civil penalty has expired.

L. A revolving fund is established to recover and pay the cost of operating the setoff program under this section.  Monies in the fund may also be used for the general operating expenses of the department. The department may prescribe a fee to be collected from each agency, political subdivision or court using the setoff procedure or from the taxpayer, and the amount shall be deposited in the fund. The amount of the fee shall reasonably reflect the actual cost of the service provided. Monies in the revolving fund are subject to legislative appropriation.

M. If agencies, political subdivisions or courts have two or more delinquent accounts for the same taxpayer, the refund may be apportioned among them pursuant to rules prescribed by the department of revenue, except that a setoff to the department of economic security for overdue support has priority over all other setoffs.

N. If the refund is insufficient to satisfy the entire debt, the remainder of the debt may be collected by the agency, political subdivision or court as provided by law or resubmitted for setoff against subsequent refunds.

O. In the case of a refund that is intercepted in error through no fault of the taxpayer under this section, the taxpayer shall be reimbursed by the agency, political subdivision or court with interest pursuant to section 42-1123.  In addition, if all or part of a refund is intercepted in error due to an agency, political subdivision or court incorrectly identifying a taxpayer as a debtor through no fault of the taxpayer, the agency, political subdivision or court shall also pay the taxpayer a penalty as follows:

1. If the agency, political subdivision or court reimburses the taxpayer sixteen through one hundred eighty days after the agency, political subdivision or court receives notification that the refund was erroneously intercepted and the refund was received by the agency, political subdivision or court, the penalty is equal to ten percent of the amount of the refund that was intercepted.

2. If the agency, political subdivision or court reimburses the taxpayer one hundred eighty-one through three hundred sixty-five days after the agency, political subdivision or court receives notification that the refund was erroneously intercepted and the refund was received by the agency, political subdivision or court, the penalty is equal to fifteen percent of the amount of the refund that was intercepted.

3. If the agency, political subdivision or court fails to reimburse the taxpayer within three hundred sixty-five days after the agency, political subdivision or court receives notification that the refund was erroneously intercepted and the refund was received by the agency, political subdivision or court, the penalty is equal to twenty percent of the amount of the refund that was intercepted.

P. The time periods set forth in subsection O of this section shall be stayed during a review of an agency decision pursuant to section 25-522.

Q. Except as is reasonably necessary to accomplish the purposes of this section, the department shall not disclose under this section any information in violation of chapter 2, article 1 of this title.

R. An agency, political subdivision or court shall not enter into an agreement with a debtor for:

1. The assignment of any prospective refund to the agency, political subdivision or court in satisfaction of the debt.

2. Payment of the debt if the debt has been confirmed to the department for setoff under subsection C, paragraph 2 of this section.

S. If a tax refund is based on a joint income tax return and the department of economic security receives a written claim from the nonobligated spouse within forty-five days after the notice of a setoff for overdue child support, the setoff only applies to that portion of the refund due to the obligor. The nonobligated spouse shall provide to the department of economic security copies of both the obligated and nonobligated spouse's federal W-2 forms and evidence of estimated tax payments supporting the proportionate share of each spouse's payment of tax.  The department of economic security shall retain the amount of the setoff refund due to the obligated spouse determined by a proration based on the tax payments of each spouse by estimated tax payment or tax withheld from wages.

T. For the purposes of this section:

1. "Agency" means:

(a) A department, agency, board, commission or institution of this state.

(b) A corporation that is under contract with this state and that provides a service that would otherwise be provided by a department, agency, board, commission or institution of this state, if the contract specifically authorizes participation in the liability setoff program and the attorney general's office has reviewed the contract and approves such authorization. The participation in the liability setoff program shall be limited to debt related to the services the corporation provides for or on behalf of this state.

2. "Court" means all courts of record, justice courts and municipal courts.

3. "Debt":

(a) Means an amount over $50 that is owed to an agency, political subdivision or court by a taxpayer and may include a judgment in favor of this state or a political subdivision of this state, interest, penalties, charges, costs, fees, fines, civil penalties, surcharges, assessments, administrative charges or any other amount.

(b) Includes monies that are owed by a taxpayer for overdue support and that are referred to the department of economic security or the clerk of the court for collection.

4. "Overdue support" means a delinquency in court ordered payments for spousal maintenance or support of a child or for spousal maintenance to the parent with whom the child is living if child support is also being enforced pursuant to an assignment or application filed under 42 United States Code section 654(6) or other applicable law.

5. "Political subdivision" means a county or an incorporated city or town in this state.