Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. Chapter 62D of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 1, as appearing in the 1986 Official Edition, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 1. As used in this chapter, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:
"Claimant agency", the IV-D agency as set forth in chapter one hundred and nineteen A or the board of regents of higher education, in the exercise of its duty to aid and foster programs supporting higher education, pursuant to chapter fifteen A.
"Corporation", the Massachusetts Higher Education Assistance Corporation created under chapter two hundred and ninety-eight of the acts of nineteen hundred and fifty-six.
"Debt", an unpaid spousal or child support obligation which is being enforced by the claimant agency, or which is collected or ordered to be collected by a court, whether or not there is an outstanding judgment for the sum, or any liquidated sum due and owing to the corporation on an education loan made under any of the programs administered by the corporation in behalf of the commonwealth, whether or not there is an outstanding judgment for that sum.
"Debtor", any individual owing money for support payments to the claimant agency or to persons for whom the claimant agency is providing enforcement services under state and federal law or any individual owing money on an education loan to the corporation, which obligation has not been adjudged satisfied by court order, set aside by court order, or discharged in bankruptcy.
"Department", the department of revenue.
"Obligee", a person or public agency entitled to assistance in collecting support payments pursuant to state and federal law and to whom is owed a debt for unpaid support.
"Refund", an individual's income tax refund from the commonwealth.
SECTION 2. Said chapter 62D is hereby further amended by striking out section 4, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 4. The claimant agency seeking to collect a debt through set-off shall notify the department in writing of its intent, certify the amount of the debt, identify the source of the debt, including, where necessary or applicable, the name of the court and the date and terms of its order, or with respect to any education debt, the name of the lender and the date and terms of the loan, and supply information necessary to identify the debtor whose refund is sought to be set-off. Whenever possible, such identification shall include the full name of the debtor, social security number, address, and any other information required by regulations promulgated by the department. The claimant agency shall also, whenever possible, notify the debtor that the debtor's refund is to be set-off. If, within fifteen days of such notice, the debtor requests a reconsideration of the claimant agency's action to set-off the alleged debt, the claimant agency shall undertake a desk review of the alleged debt. If the claimant agency determines that the set-off request to the department was made in error, it shall so notify the department and the department shall rescind the set-off. The notification and the furnishing of information by the claimant agency to the department must occur on or before a date specified by the department in the year preceding the calendar year in which the refund would be paid. Subject to said notification deadline, the notification shall be effective only to initiate set-off for claims against refunds that would be made in the calendar year subsequent to the year in which notification is made to the department.
SECTION 3. Section 8 of said chapter 62D, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following sentence:- With respect to education loan set-off proceeds, the board shall transmit fifteen per cent thereof to the department in payment for its set-off which shall be deposited in the General Fund. The balance shall be transmitted to the corporation.
SECTION 4. Said chapter 62D is hereby further amended by striking out section 10, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 10. Notwithstanding section twenty-one of chapter sixty-two C or any other provision of law prohibiting disclosure by the department of the contents of taxpayers' records of information and notwithstanding any confidentiality statute applicable to the claimant agency, all information exchanged among the department, the claimant agency, including the IV-D agency and the board of regents of higher education or education agency similar to the corporation of another jurisdiction, the department of public welfare, the corporation, the debtor, and the nondebtor spouse necessary to accomplish and effectuate the intent of this chapter is lawful.
The information obtained by any agency or the corporation from the department in accordance with the aforementioned exemption shall only be used by the agency or the corporation in the pursuit of its debt collection duties and practices and any person employed by, or formerly employed by, the agency or the corporation who discloses any such information for any other purpose, except as otherwise allowed by section forty-three of chapter two hundred and seventy-one, shall be penalized under provisions of said section forty-three.
SECTION 5. Said chapter 62D is hereby further amended by adding the following two sections:-
Section 13. In the event that a debtor owes liabilities to several agencies, priority of set-off against any refund shall be as follows: (a) unpaid state tax liabilities; (b) the department of public welfare; and (c) the board of regents of higher education.
Section 14. Any proceeds received by the department as reimbursement for its set-off services shall be deposited in a separate revolving fund to be used by the department, without appropriation, to defray its administrative costs in operating the set-off program.
SECTION 6. Chapter 62E of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 3, as appearing in the 1986 Official Edition, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 3. The commissioner shall design, develop, implement, and operate a wage reporting system for the purpose of receiving, maintaining, and processing information required to be submitted by employers pursuant to this chapter for the purposes of verifying eligibility for and entitlement to public benefits, unemployment insurance benefits and veterans' benefits, under reporting of income, and any errors, fraud or abuse in connection with such benefits paid or income reported and for the further purpose of identifying absent parents who are legally obligated to pay support for their spouse or children to the department of public welfare, locating such absent parents and evaluating their ability to pay support and for the purpose of locating education loan defaulters who are legally obligated to repay loans to the Massachusetts Higher Education Assistance Corporation and identifying the employers of the aforesaid defaulters.
SECTION 7. Section 4 of said chapter 62E, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:-
Upon written request of and at a date specified by the commissioner, the board of regents of higher education acting by and through the Massachusetts Higher Education Assistance Corporation shall provide to the commissioner lists of education loan defaulters, with all necessary data to assure positive identification, for the purpose of locating education loan defaulters and identifying their employers.
SECTION 8. Section 5 of said chapter 62E, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:-
The commissioner shall furnish the board of regents of higher education acting by and through the Massachusetts Higher Education Assistance Corporation with available information as to the address, wages, and employers of the education loan defaulters reported under the provisions of section four; provided, however, that said corporation shall pay to the General Fund of the commonwealth on an annual basis an amount equal to the direct costs incurred by the department and certified by the commissioner as owing due the commonwealth for furnishing such information.