Views on H.R. 1243

B-202175: Published: Mar 13, 1981. Publicly Released: Mar 13, 1981.

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GAO was requested to give its views on a bill to amend the U.S. Code to increase the efficiency of Government-wide efforts to collect debts owed the United States. The bill would require the Office of Management and Budget to establish regulations for reporting on debts owed the United States, and would provide additional procedures for the collection of debts owed the United States. Enactment of the bill would remove the present obstacle to implementing credit reporting programs throughout the Government. It was suggested that the bill be amended to make it clear that agencies need to report on all debt collection activities, not just loan collection activities. GAO believes that additional legislation is needed to: provide authority to collect general debts owed the Government by offset from a Federal employee's salary, recognize that the 6-year statute of limitations does not prohibit the offset of debts owed to the Government, and remove the restriction on redisclosure of a debtor's address that has been obtained from the Internal Revenue Service. It also believers that the record surrounding this proposed legislation should make it clear that the 6-year limitation applies only to the right to bring suit and that any lawful administrative efforts to collect debts is unaffected by this limitation.

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