Feds Say They'll Stop Seizing Some Tax Refunds
Social Security puts halt on collecting more than decade-old debts
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2014 6:26 AM CDT

(Newser) – No longer will a single sentence make tax day even more miserable for hundreds of thousands of Americans—for now, at least. Late last week, the Washington Post reported on a recent Treasury Department practice made possible by a single sentence lurking in the 2008 farm bill: seizing tax refunds from Americans who were being forced to repay debts, in many cases Social Security benefits, their parents allegedly racked up. That farm-bill line removed the 10-year statute of limitations on debt owed to the government, and the Social Security Administration yesterday said it would halt its effort to collect on debts that are older than a decade, the Post reports.

The stop is "pending a thorough review of our responsibility and discretion under the current law," says acting Social Security commissioner Carolyn Colvin, who added that anyone who “believes they have been incorrectly assessed with an overpayment” should contact the agency. Last week's article told of taxpayers who were given no notice or explanation before their monies were seized to pay debts their dead parents incurred; in one case, a notice was reportedly sent, to a PO Box last used in 1979. After publication, hundreds more stories came to light, the Post reports, and those taxpayers took their issues to Congress; several of its members raised a ruckus.

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Apr 16, 2014 3:57 AM CDT
So the pratice of takeing funds that the Treasury Department 'felt' that it was owed, comes from the Farm Bill of 2008? The same Farm Bill that expired? A new Farm Bill was just passed and that little prevision still remained in the Bill? Doesn't anyone, other than me, recall all those news stories about $8.00 per gallon milk coming our way unless this bill got passed? But that might be beside the point. Look, if the goverment wants to come after me for a debt that my parents incurred, bring it on. But at least do it using the constitution and take me to court over it. Then if a jury of my piers finds that I owe a debt, that someone else incurred, I might pay it.
Apr 15, 2014 10:09 PM CDT
They trying to squeeze a buck from anyone but why? Is it like for the promised Ukraine bail out. My European friends always pick on me because of things like this.
Apr 15, 2014 7:32 PM CDT
This was a horrible abuse of power. You simply cannot be held responsible for anyone's debts. If this were allowed to continue, then next, they would be seizing your pay because your brother robbed a bank... There would be no end to it.