Section 14: Support payments or installments; judgment by operation of law; retroactive modification; application
Section 14. (a) The IV?D agency shall have access to and may request from all entities and individuals in the commonwealth, including for- profit, nonprofit, and governmental employers and other sources of income or benefits, information on the employment, compensation, and benefits of any individual employed by such individual or entity as an employee, contractor, or subcontractor or of any individual to whom such individual or entity provides income or benefits. The IV?D agency shall have access, including electronic access, in the case of records maintained in electronic data bases, subject to safeguards on privacy and information security as provided in section 5A, to information, including social security numbers, contained in the following records:
(1) records of other state and local government agencies, including vital statistics records relating to marriage, birth, paternity establishment, and divorce; state and local tax and revenue records, including information on residence address, employer, income and assets; records concerning real and titled personal property; records of occupational and professional licenses, and records concerning the ownership and control of corporations, partnerships, and other business entities; employment security records; records of agencies administering public assistance programs; records of the registry of motor vehicles; and corrections records including records of the department of youth services;
(2) certain records held by private entities with respect to individuals who owe or are owed support (or against or with respect to whom a support obligation is sought), consisting of the names and addresses of such individuals and the names and addresses of the employers of such individuals as appearing in customer records of public utilities and cable television companies, pursuant to an administrative subpoena authorized by section 15; and information (including information on assets and liabilities) on such individuals held by financial institutions as defined in section 4 of chapter 62E, if said agency has reason to believe that such information will assist in the administration of the child support enforcement program. Such information shall be available to the IV?D agency only for the purpose of and to the extent necessary for the administration of the child support enforcement program. No entity or individual who complies with the provisions of this section shall be liable in any civil or criminal action or proceeding brought by an obligor or an obligee on account of such compliance. Holders maintaining personal data, as such are defined in section one of chapter sixty-six A, are authorized to disclose to the IV?D agency all personal data requested hereunder. Such disclosures shall not violate said chapter sixty-six A. An entity or individual who willfully provides false information in reply to a request pursuant to this paragraph or who, without reasonable cause, fails to respond to a request within fourteen days, shall be liable for a penalty of one hundred dollars for each such violation to be assessed by the IV?D agency or a court of competent jurisdiction.
(b) Information to which the IV?D agency shall be entitled shall include state income tax returns and all state income tax information including address, filing status, amounts, nature and sources of income, names and addresses of all employers and other sources of income, and the number of dependents reported on any return filed by any obligor or obligee and any data, documents or records of an obligor or obligee provided to the department of revenue by an employer, bank or other source of income pursuant to chapter sixty-two E. The IV?D agency shall use such tax information only for purposes of administering the child support enforcement program and shall not disclose such information, other than the name and address of the obligor, except in proceedings or other activities to locate or identify obligors, to evaluate the ability of obligors to pay child support, to establish, modify or enforce child support orders, to collect child support or in criminal prosecutions for failure to pay child support. An employee of the IV?D agency that requests, uses or discloses such information in any other manner or for any other purpose shall be punished by a fine of not less than two thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than twelve months or both, and by dismissal and disqualification from employment by the commonwealth. The information included in this provision shall be data or tax returns in any form or format, including data available by electronic means. Pursuant to sections 172 and 172D of chapter six, the IV?D agency shall be entitled to all criminal offender record information including, but not limited to arrest, conviction, incarceration and rehabilitation information, and evaluative information as defined in section one hundred and sixty-seven of said chapter six, and other information and data specified in section 172D of said chapter 6.
(c) Except as may be prohibited under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act 15 U.S.C.A. 1681 et seq. or under sections fifty to sixty-eight E, inclusive, of chapter ninety-three, the IV?D agency may require disclosure of information, including the location, employment, title to property, credit status or professional affiliation to assist the IV?D agency to determine the current location of an obligor or an obligee, from any state agency, state, county or municipal registry of deeds or titles, registry of vital records and statistics, city or town registrar responsible for the preparation of street lists pursuant to chapter fifty-one, utility company, including telephone, assessor's office and housing authorities, employers, professional or trade associations and labor unions, professional or trade licensing boards, credit bureaus or agencies, pension or retirement plan, or creditor or other entity identified on a credit report furnished to the IV?D agency; provided that the IV?D agency may, in addition, request from a creditor of an obligor or obligee the following information: amounts, nature and sources of income and assets, names and addresses of all employers and other sources of income and assets, documents or records provided by an obligor or obligee to a creditor; provided, however, that information furnished by a telephone company shall be limited to the name, social security number if available, address and telephone number of an obligor or an obligee.
(d) Information to which the IV?D agency shall be entitled shall include information from the department of public health as set forth in chapter 17 relating to the records of births, deaths, and marriages of persons in the commonwealth, including name, address, social security number, and such other information as necessary for the purpose of administering the child support enforcement program, including information about any child born out of wedlock whose paternity has not been acknowledged or established within six months of birth. The IV?D agency shall use such information only for purposes of administering the child support enforcement program and shall not disclose such information, except in proceedings or other activities to establish paternity, to locate or identify obligors and obligees, and to establish, modify or enforce child support orders. The information required in this section shall be data compiled by any method or in any format, including data available through electronic means.
(e) The IV?D agency shall use information received pursuant to this section and pursuant to chapter 62E to locate individuals for purposes of establishing paternity and establishing, modifying, and enforcing child support obligations, and as permitted by section 5A, may disclose such information to the IV?D agency of another state upon request of such agency with respect to an individual case or a data match and to any agent of the IV?D agency that is under contract with the agency to carry out the purposes of this chapter only to the extent necessary for the performance of such agent's contracted duties.
(f) Individuals, agencies or entities disclosing information to the IV?D agency under this section shall furnish such information using the method and format required by the IV?D agency. If the individual, agency or entity making disclosure is unable to furnish the information using the method and format so required, such individual, agency or entity shall cooperate with the IV?D agency to determine another method or format by which the information may be furnished. The failure of any such individual or entity, without reasonable cause, to provide the IV?D agency with information relating to, or that may assist in locating, an obligor or obligee or to respond that such information does not exist, within fourteen days after such information is requested, shall be punishable by a penalty to be assessed by the IV?D agency or by a court of competent jurisdiction in the amount of one hundred dollars for each such failure.
(g) The IV?D agency may request from any employer or other source of income or benefits, including health care benefits and pension benefits, whom the IV?D agency has reason to believe employs an obligor or obligee or otherwise provides the obligor or obligee with regular periodic income or benefits, information concerning the dates and amounts of income paid, the last known address, social security number, and available health care or other benefits. The IV?D agency shall not inquire of an employer or other source of income or benefits concerning the same obligor or obligee more than once every three months. Employers or other sources of income or benefits shall respond to such requests fully and in writing within fourteen days. No employer or other source of income or benefits who complies with this section shall be liable in any civil action or proceeding brought by the obligor or obligee on account of such compliance. An employer or other source of income or benefits who, without reasonable cause, fails to comply with requests made pursuant to this section, shall be liable for a penalty to be assessed by the IV?D agency or by a court of competent jurisdiction of five hundred dollars for the first violation and one thousand dollars for each subsequent violation. The information in this subsection shall be in addition to, and not in substitution for, information required to be provided to the commissioner of revenue under chapter sixty-two E or to the IV?D agency under section 6A.
(h) The commissioner shall promulgate regulations to define what shall constitute ''reasonable cause'' for purposes of this chapter.