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I live in KY; can Oregon garnish IRS tax return for unpaid traffic tickets?

Concord, NH |

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?

Attorney Answers 3


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:

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.

My answer does not constitute legal advice and may not be relied upon by anyone for any purpose and does not constitute an attorney/client relationship or an offer to form such a relationship. This disclaimer is intended to be fully compliant with the requirements of Treasury Department Circular 230 and the terms thereof are fully incorporated by reference. If you wish to consult with me please contact me at dana@nytaxcounsel or visit my website at

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Oregon can do this but perhaps not if she is no longer an Oregon state resident.

This is not legal advice but a general comment on society based on a limited set of hypothetical circumstances. No one should act or refrain from acting based on these comments without seeking appropriately licensed legal or professional advice. The author disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on his comments.

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I concur with attorney Atchley. Best

This reply is offered for educational purpose only. You should seek the advice of an attorney. The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than an educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the undisclosed individual asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of New York. Responses are based solely on New York Law unless stated otherwise. Pursuant to Internal Revenue Service guidance, be advised that any federal tax advice contained in this written or electronic communication is not intended or written to be used and it cannot be used by any person or entity for the purpose of (i) avoiding any tax penalties that may be imposed by the Internal Revenue Service or any other U.S. Federal taxing authority or agency or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.

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