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Debt Management

Frequently Asked Questions About Debt Collection Laws

Where can I find information about federal debt collection laws?

We have written the Treatise on Federal Nontax Debt Collection Law. This treatise provides legal background on the collection of nontax debts owed to the United States.

Defining debt and delinquent debt

The definition of "debt" can depend on the circumstances. Generally, as used in the context of federal debt collection, the term "debt" or "claim" means any amount of funds or property that an appropriate official of the federal government has determined that a person, organization, or entity other than another federal agency owes to the United States.

The amount does not have to be litigated or adjudicated before being considered as a debt.

Getting Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs)

Reporting to credit bureaus and getting reports from credit bureaus

Adding interest, penalties, and costs

Offsetting payments to delinquent debtors

Barring delinquent debtors from getting loans or credit

Collecting money for states

Last modified 07/14/23