writing for Ky relative - her daughter sold truck 3 yrs ago in Colorado, didn't remove license plates, new owner ran up $3K in tickets in Oregon; Oregon is now threatening to garnish Ky relative's IRS refund. Can they do that?
There is a procedure through which a state can request that the federal government turn over your federal tax refund to the state to satisfy a debt you owe to that state. The program is known as the Treasury Offset Program, or TOP. It is managed through a separate part of the Treasury Department, not the IRS. You can find some general information about the program here: http://fms.treas.gov/debt/top.html
The ability of a state to get your federal tax refunds through this program does not depend on whether you live in the state seeking to get your tax refund; all that matters is that you owe a debt to a state that fits within the parameters of the program.
In the case of your relative, the best option is most likely going to be to try and work out with Oregon a settlement based on the fact that it was the new owner, not your relative, who incurred the tickets.
Good luck to your relative.
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International Law Attorney
Oregon can do this but perhaps not if she is no longer an Oregon state resident.
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International Law Attorney
I concur with attorney Atchley. Best
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