GOP bill would prevent tax refund interception

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) said Wednesday that he will introduce legislation to prevent the federal government from intercepting tax refunds for old debts.

The Washington Post reported earlier this month that the Treasury Department has collected $75 million in delinquent debts from intercepted tax refunds this year. 

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Those interceptions include debts delinquent for more than 10 years incurred by individuals' late parents, such as Social Security overpayments. Consequently, many taxpayers expecting refunds from the Internal Revenue Service are instead paying for old debts they were unaware their parents had incurred.

Buchanan said his bill would permanently impose a 10-year statute of limitations on old debts to prevent the Internal Revenue Service from collecting debts incurred by individuals' parents or relatives. 

"This grotesque abuse of power is just one of the many reasons why Americans are fed up with Washington," Buchanan said. "The federal government should not be penalizing children because the government miscalculated the federal benefits for their parents. My bill will put an end to this outrageous and unfair confiscation."

Following the Post report, Acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn Colvin ordered the agency to stop intercepting tax refunds for debts that are more than a decade old. But the newspaper reported Monday that that some people are still receiving letters informing them of intercepted tax refunds.

Buchanan said he will introduce the measure when Congress returns from its two-week recess next week.

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