Debt Collection:

Interior Is Acting to Improve Its Collection of Civil Penalty Fees

AFMD-89-73: Published: Aug 16, 1989. Publicly Released: Sep 19, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the status of civil penalty fees owed to the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) and OSMRE actions to improve its collection activities.

GAO found that: (1) OSMRE had $38 million in outstanding receivables at the end of fiscal year 1988, and 99 percent of those were delinquent; (2) about 83 percent of delinquent receivables had been delinquent for over 1 year; (3) OSMRE increased its oversight of the collection process and implemented an automated collection tracking system; (4) OSMRE began to assess interest, penalties, and administrative costs on delinquent civil penalty debts; (5) OSMRE began contracting for debt collection in 1985; (6) OSMRE finalized its collection procedures manual; and (7) OSMRE began referring information on delinquent debtors to commercial credit bureaus in February 1989.

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