April 07, 2011

Wyden, Paulsen Bill Gives Green Light to Courts to Intercept Tax Refunds from Delinquent Debtors

Washington, D.C. – In an effort to provide financial relief to crime victims and to state courts that are owed money by deadbeat debtors, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Representative Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) introduced legislation today that allows state courts to coordinate with the IRS to intercept tax refunds of individuals who owe restitution to their victims or have outstanding court fees.  The Crime Victims Restitution and Court Fee Intercept Act will allow the IRS to send tax refunds from those convicted of a crime who owe outstanding fines or payments to victims and courts that are owed the debt.

“It is only common sense that those convicted of a crime pay their debts to society before benefitting from tax refunds,” Wyden said. “This bill gives crime victims some relief in knowing that they will be made whole and courts and municipalities will be able to guarantee the income they need from assessed fines.”

“There is absolutely no reason that the federal government should be giving tax refunds to criminals who owe restitution to their victims,” said Paulsen. “Our legislation will ensure that criminals who still owe money to their victims and the courts don’t receive their tax refunds until they repay every last cent.”

Federal law currently permits the interception of federal tax refunds to pay outstanding child support debts, state tax and other federal debts, and this legislation would still require the payment of outstanding child support debts before any other court-related cost.  Any additional costs needed to implement this law would be paid by the states that choose to participate.