The Judicial Council’s Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) developed the Tax Refund Intercept Program (TRIP) pilot testing following the passage of HB 1000 by the 2014 Georgia General Assembly. The bill was incorporated into the Georgia Code at Sections 48-7-160 through 48-7-170. This legislation allows the AOC to submit debts on behalf of Georgia’s courts to the Georgia Department of Revenue (Revenue) for collection from state income tax refunds. Intercept of state tax refunds is intended to satisfy court-ordered fines and fees that remain unpaid, along with providing debtors the right to contest the intercept.
TRIP provides Georgia’s courts with an additional means to enforce their monetary judgments and protect the integrity of their decisions. It will not be used until the defendant’s other avenues for payments have expired. A local hearing process for taxpayers allows the opportunity to challenge intercepts on the grounds that the taxpayer is not in fact the debtor or that the fines and fees ordered by the court have already been paid. The hearings will not be opportunities to reopen cases.
Debtors will be mailed notice by the court in advance of an intercept request, to offer the taxpayer one more opportunity to reconcile the debt and to serve notice that Revenue may intercept any state tax return proceeds that the debtor may be otherwise entitled to receive. Questions about individual cases should be addressed to the court directly, since neither the AOC nor the Department of Revenue will have any specific information regarding the case.