Preliminary Draft Text
RULES AND REGULATIONS TO COMPLY WITH THE SETOFF DEBT COLLECTION ACT
Withholding refund; written notification. (Repealed.)
When the Department of Transportation (Transportation) is notified by the Department of Taxation (Taxation), that a debtor, identified by Taxation, is entitled to a refund and that the refund is being withheld pursuant to the operation of the Setoff Debt Collection Act, it shall mail a written notification to the debtor, certified mail, return receipt requested, copy to Taxation, within 10 days of notification.
That notice shall inform the debtor of (i) the amount of the debt certified to Taxation as due and owing, (ii) the basis for the claim to all or part of the refund, (iii) the intention of Transportation to seek to setoff the debt by credit of the available refund, (iv) the opportunity of the debtor to give written notice of intent to contest the validity of the claim before Transportation and of the requirement that this written notice be received at the designated office of Transportation within 30 days of the postmark date of the mailing of the notice by Transportation, and (v) the fact that failure to apply for a hearing within the 30-day period will be deemed a waiver of the opportunity to contest the claim resulting in final setoff by default.
Notice of hearing. (Repealed.)
Transportation shall, as soon as practicable after receiving notice of debtor's intention to contest a claim, set a hearing time and date and designate a hearing officer. Notice of the hearing shall be mailed to the debtor and other interested persons 15 days before the date of such hearing. If any of the parties cannot reasonably attend the hearing at the scheduled time and place, he should so inform the hearing officer. Upon receipt of such notice, the hearing officer shall decide whether or not a postponement will be granted. Notice of the time and place for the postponed or continued hearing shall be mailed to all parties 15 days before the date of such hearing.
Hearing officer. (Repealed.)
The commissioner, while reserving to himself the final determination on the validity of the debt asserted by Transportation and contested by the debtor, will appoint a hearing officer. It shall be the responsibility of the hearing officer to conduct a fair and impartial hearing. No person shall serve as a hearing officer in any debtor application contesting Transportation's claim who shall have been involved in the prior circumstances which have culminated in such dispute.
Hearing sites. (Repealed.)
Hearing sites shall be chosen with due regard to the various geographic regions of the Commonwealth where the debtor may reside. These hearings shall be held in a district office, residency office, toll facility administration building, or central office building of Transportation that is in the geographic region of the debtor's residence within the Commonwealth.
Conduct of hearing. (Repealed.)
Attendance at the hearing shall be limited to those persons necessary for the full disclosure of all relevant facts and circumstances. No issue may be considered at the hearing which previously has been litigated. All testimony at such hearing before the hearing officer shall be recorded by the hearing official, not by any other party, and need not be transcribed unless the claim is further appealed. The hearing officer shall control the order of proof, rule upon the admission of evidence, and may examine and cross-examine witnesses. The hearing officer shall have the right to require additional evidence, if he deems it necessary. The hearing officer may recess the hearing or continue it to another date for good cause shown. If neither the debtor nor his authorized representative appear at the time and place set for the hearing, without good cause, the hearing shall be considered abandoned.
Specific conduct of hearing. (Repealed.)
The hearing officer shall, at the hearing:
1. Identify those present for the record;
2. Declare the purpose of the hearing, the procedure to be followed, and how and by whom a decision is made and communicated to the debtor; and
3. Declare that the technical rules of evidence do not apply at the hearing, that the hearing officer may raise such issues as may appear from the evidence presented at the hearing, and that the hearing officer may require those parties to respond either at the hearing or at a subsequently agreed upon time.
The decision shall be sent to the commissioner who may accept, in full or in part, or reject the hearing officer's decision. A copy of the commissioner's determination and the hearing officer's decision shall be mailed to the debtor by certified mail and to Transportation's representative.
Appeals from determinations. (Repealed.)
Within 10 days after the receipt of the commissioner's determination, the debtor aggrieved thereby may secure judicial review, as provided by § 58.1-527 of the Code of Virginia.
Certification of debt; finalization of setoff. (Repealed.)
Upon final determination of the debt due and owing Transportation or upon the debtor's default for failure to comply with § 58.1-525 of the Code of Virginia, Transportation shall, within 20 days, certify the debt to Taxation and in default thereof, Taxation shall no longer be obligated to hold the refund for setoff. Upon receipt of a certified debt from Transportation, Taxation shall finalize the setoff by transferring the proceeds collected for credit or payment in accordance with the provisions of § 58.1-532 of the Code of Virginia and by refunding any remaining balance to the debtor as if setoff had not occurred.