WVC 14 -
CHAPTER 14. CLAIMS DUE AND AGAINST THE STATE.
WVC 14 - 1 -
ARTICLE 1. CLAIMS DUE THE STATE.
WVC 14 - 1 - 1
§14-1-1. Who may prosecute debt proceedings.
The auditor, commissioner of finance and administration and
any other officer or body authorized by law shall cause
appropriate proceedings, in the manner provided for in this
article, to be instituted and prosecuted to enforce payment of
any debt or liability due the state.
WVC 14 - 1 - 2
§14-1-2. Method of proceeding; jurisdiction; venue; suing in name
When the proceeding is at law, it may be by motion on twenty
days' notice, or by action; and whether at law or in chancery, it
may be brought in any court which would have jurisdiction thereof
if the proceeding were brought by an individual, or in the
circuit court of the county in which the seat of government is;
or, if property or a debt be attached, in the circuit court of
the county where such property may be found or the person owing
such debt may reside; and it may be in the name of the state
though the liability is created or secured by bond or other
instrument, payable to, or covenant or contract with, any public
officer or other person or official body acting on behalf of the
WVC 14 - 1 - 3
§14-1-3. Parties defendant; form of judgment.
The action or motion at law may be against any person
indebted or liable in any way whatever to the state, his sureties
and his and their personal representatives, or any one or more of
them. But a judgment against a personal representative shall
only bind him to the extent to which he is accountable for assets
of the estate which he represents. If several defendants be
proceeded against jointly, judgments may be rendered against any
one of them shown to be liable and the proceeding be dismissed as
to the others, or judgments rendered in their favor, or the case
continued as to them for service of process or notice or other
cause. Any party dismissed for want of service or process may be
subsequently sued and an unsatisfied judgment against one or more
of several persons jointly liable shall not be a bar to any
subsequent proceedings against the others.
WVC 14 - 1 - 4
§14-1-4. Expedition of proceedings.
Courts wherein cases are pending to which the state is a
party may hear them before other cases and expedite the
proceedings therein by such rules as to them may seem proper.
WVC 14 - 1 - 5
§14-1-5. Form of writ of fieri facias; sale of real estate.
In a writ of fieri facias issuing out of any court of record
upon a judgment or decree against any person indebted or liable
to the state, or against any surety of his, after the words "we
command you that of the" the clerk shall insert the words "goods,
chattels and real estate," and conform the subsequent part of
such writ thereto. And under any writ so issued real estate may
be taken and sold.
WVC 14 - 1 - 6
§14-1-6. To whom execution directed.
An execution in favor of the state, from any court, may be
directed to the sheriff of any county.
WVC 14 - 1 - 7
§14-1-7. Order of levy.
Every writ of fieri facias issued according to the fifth
section of this article shall be levied first on the goods and
chattels. If the officer having such writ can find no goods and
chattels liable thereto, or not a sufficiency thereof, then he
shall levy it on the real estate.
WVC 14 - 1 - 8
§14-1-8. Sale of real estate under execution -- Notice; place.
When a levy is so made upon real estate, the officer making
it shall publish notice thereof and of the time and place of sale
as a Class III-O legal advertisement in compliance with the
provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, and
the publication area for such publication shall be the county.
The sale shall take place at the premises or at the front door of
the courthouse, as the officer may deem most advisable.
WVC 14 - 1 - 9
§14-1-9. Sale of real estate under execution -- Conduct; sale of
If the amount of the execution and all the costs and
expenses be not sooner paid, such officer shall proceed on the
day mentioned in the notice to sell at public auction the
interest of the party against whom the execution issued, in the
real estate, or so much thereof as the officer may deem
sufficient; and if a part only be sold it shall be laid off in
one parcel in such place and manner as the debtor or his agent
may direct, or if he give no direction, as the officer may deem
WVC 14 - 1 - 10
§14-1-10. Sale of real estate under execution -- Terms of sale.
The sale shall be upon six months' credit; and, if the land
be not purchased for the state, the officer shall take the note
of the purchaser with sureties for the payment of the purchase
money to the state. Every such note shall mention on what
occasion the same was taken and shall be returned to the office
of the court from which the execution issued, and the clerk shall
indorse thereon the date of its return. The officer and his
sureties shall be liable to the state if insufficient security be
taken on such bond.
WVC 14 - 1 - 11
§14-1-11. Sale of real estate under execution -- Conveyance.
So soon as the purchaser shall pay the purchase money, a
deed shall be executed at his costs, reciting the execution, the
sale and the price, and conveying the land to him. The grantor
in such deed may either be the sheriff himself or the deputy or
other person who acted in making the sale, but such deputy or
other person shall not be such grantor unless the sheriff is
legally disqualified from acting. Such deed shall pass to the
purchaser all the interest which the party against whom the
execution issued had in the land at the date of the judgment or
WVC 14 - 1 - 12
§14-1-12. Sale of real estate under execution -- Execution of
deeds in certain cases.
When the officer and his deputy who acted in making the sale
shall both have died or removed out of the state before making
such deed, or fail or refuse to act, or if the term of the
officer within whose term such sale was made shall have expired,
the deed may be executed by any successor of such officer, or by
a commissioner appointed by the circuit court of the county for
that purpose, which deed shall have the same force and effect as
if made by the officer who made the sale.
WVC 14 - 1 - 13
§14-1-13. Sale of real estate under execution -- Resale on
default of purchaser -- Judgment and execution on
When any note taken under section ten of this article shall
become due and not be paid, the officer shall sell the real
estate for which such note was given, upon such notice as is
provided in section eight of this article, and according to the
provisions of section nine thereof, for cash, and shall credit
the same upon such note. If the proceeds of sale for cash be not
sufficient to pay such note so due as aforesaid, the clerk of
such court shall enter in the law order book a judgment as near
as may be in the form prescribed in section twenty-three, article
three, chapter thirty-seven of this code, against such of the
obligors therein as may then be alive. Execution may issue
against them on such judgment, and such execution may be
proceeded under in like manner as an execution issued on any
other judgment or decree, in favor of the state, save only that
the clerk shall indorse that no security is to be taken, and the
officer shall govern himself accordingly and sell for cash any
real estate or personal property which he may levy on under the
WVC 14 - 1 - 14
§14-1-14. Sale of real estate under execution -- Resale on
default of purchaser -- Judgment against personal
Against the personal representatives of such of the obligors
as may have died before judgment was entered under the preceding
section, judgment may be obtained by action or motion.
WVC 14 - 1 - 15
§14-1-15. Sale of real estate under execution -- Property unsold
for want of bidders.
When return is made on any execution issued under the
provisions of this article, that personal property or real estate
remains unsold for want of bidders, or to that effect, the
provisions of section eighteen, article four, chapter thirty-
eight of this code shall be applicable.
WVC 14 - 1 - 16
§14-1-16. Sale of real estate under execution -- Purchase of
lands for state.
When land levied on under execution on behalf of the state
will not sell for the amount thereof, the auditor, or such agent
as is mentioned in section nineteen of this article, may purchase
such land for the state.
WVC 14 - 1 - 17
§14-1-17. Sale of real estate under execution -- Return of
execution where property encumbered.
In any case in which an officer having an execution issued
under the provisions of this article shall decline levying it
because of any previous conveyance, execution or encumbrance, a
return shall be made setting forth the nature of such conveyance,
execution or encumbrance, in whose favor and for what amount, and
the office in which the conveyance or encumbrance is recorded, or
from which the execution issued.
WVC 14 - 1 - 18
§14-1-18. Settlement or dismissal of claims.
The commissioner of finance and administration, auditor or
other officer or official body having authority to collect the
same may, with the advice of the attorney general, adjust and
settle upon just and equitable principles without regard to
strict legal rules any account or claim, in favor of the state,
which may at the time have been standing upon the books of his or
its office more than five years; and, with the like advice, may
dismiss any proceedings instituted by him or it.
WVC 14 - 1 - 18 A
§14-1-18a. Consignment of claims to debt collector.
Any account, claim or debt that an agency of this state is not
able to collect within three months after trying with due diligence
to do so may be referred to the commissioner of finance and
administration for consignment by the commissioner to a responsible
licensed and bonded debt collection agency or similar other
responsible agent for collection. The commissioner shall not
handle or consign any such account, claim or debt unless he is
satisfied that the referring agency has made a diligent effort to
collect the debt on its own; that the account or claim is justly,
properly and clearly due the state; and that the collection of any
such debt would not impose an undue, unjust, unfair or unreasonable
hardship or burden upon the health or general welfare of the party
owing the debt. In any such case of undue, unjust, unfair or
unreasonable hardship or burden, the commissioner may, in his
discretion, and with the review and approval of the attorney
general, compromise, settle or dismiss the debt or claim. If he is
satisfied that the aforesaid terms of and conditions for
collectibility have been met, the commissioner may consign the
account, claim or debt to a responsible licensed and bonded debt
collection agency or similar other responsible agent for
collection. In any such case, the collection agency or other agent
shall stand in the place of the state as creditor and shall have
the same claims, rights and remedies against the debtor as the
state has, and the debtor shall have the same rights, claims,
defenses and setoffs against the collection agency or other agent
as he has against the state.
WVC 14 - 1 - 18 B
§14-1-18b. Regulations applicable to debt collectors.
The commissioner of finance and administration shall
promulgate rules and regulations for the determination and
regulation of responsible licensed and bonded debt collection
agencies and other responsible agents for collection. The
commissioner shall determine the collection fees to be paid to any
such agency or agent, which fees shall be a percentage of the
amount of the debt recovered, but the commissioner shall not under
any circumstances pay any agency or agent a fee of more than fifty
percent of the amount of the debt recovered.
WVC 14 - 1 - 18 C
§14-1-18c. List of eligible debt collectors; statutory
limitations applicable to debt collectors.
The state tax commissioner shall establish and maintain a list
of debt collection agencies bonded and licensed with the state.
When choosing collection agencies under the provisions of sections
eighteen-a and eighteen-b of this article, the commissioner of
finance and administration shall select and use only those
collection agencies on the state tax commissioner's list. In
collecting debts under sections eighteen-a and eighteen-b of this
article, each debt collection agency and agent shall strictly abide
by the provisions of (a) sections one hundred twenty-two through
one hundred twenty-nine, inclusive, of article two, chapter forty-six-a of this code; (b) sections one through five, inclusive, of
article sixteen, chapter forty-seven of this code; and (c) the
federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, being Public Law 95-109
of the United States Congress. If any debt collection agency or
agent violates any provision of the aforesaid laws, the state tax
commissioner shall remove the agency from his aforesaid list and
the commissioner of finance and administration shall immediately
stop his employment and use of the agency or agent.
WVC 14 - 1 - 19
§14-1-19. Appointment of collection agents by auditor.
The auditor, subject to the approval of the commissioner of
finance and administration, may appoint agents to superintend the
collection of those debts to or claims of the state he is by law
responsible for. The auditor may authorize them to secure
payments thereof by installments or otherwise and give further
credit in consideration of additional security or indemnity
satisfactory to him.
WVC 14 - 1 - 20
§14-1-20. Lands of state -- List by clerk.
The clerks of the county courts shall transmit to the
auditor a list of all lands in their respective counties
purchased by the state, under the provisions of section sixteen
of this article, and set forth in such list all the information
which they can obtain in relation to the lands mentioned therein.
For each tract of land or lot so mentioned by any clerk of the
county court, he shall receive one dollar from the treasury.
WVC 14 - 1 - 21
§14-1-21. Lands of state -- Registration by auditor.
The auditor shall, in a book kept for the purpose, register
all such lands as are required to be embraced in the lists
mentioned in the preceding section, describing when, how, and of
whom, they were obtained, their situation, quantity and the title
thereto, together with the price paid therefor by the state.
WVC 14 - 1 - 22
§14-1-22. Lands of state -- Sale.
The auditor may sell, or appoint an agent to sell, any of
such lands on such terms as the auditor may think best, taking
the bond of such agent, with good security, if any money is to
come into his hands.
WVC 14 - 1 - 23
§14-1-23. Lands of state -- Record of sale.
In the book kept under the provisions of section twenty-one
of this article, the auditor shall enter the time when any of the
lands are disposed of, the price and terms of sale, the names of
the agents and purchasers, and the amount paid into the treasury
on account of the sale.
WVC 14 - 1 - 24
§14-1-24. Compensation of auditor's agents for collection of
For the service rendered to the auditor by any agent under
the pertinent sections of this article, the auditor shall
recommend such compensation as may seem to him reasonable, not
exceeding in any case fifty percent of the money actually paid
into the treasury. The governor shall authorize the payment of
what may be so recommended or so much thereof as in his judgment
may be proper.
WVC 14 - 1 - 25
§14-1-25. Execution of deeds in certain cases.
Any agent selling land under the provisions of section
twenty-two of this article shall, when directed, execute a deed,
with the written direction of the auditor thereto annexed
conveying to the purchaser all the interest which the state may
have in such land; and, where such sale is made by the auditor in
person, such deed shall be made by him.
WVC 14 - 1 - 26
§14-1-26. Reports to Legislature.
The commissioner of finance and administration and the
auditor shall biennially report to the Legislature their
proceedings under this article, setting forth particularly all
the agents appointed by them, and the agents' compensation, all
debts collected and property purchased by them, and all
arrangements made with public debtors.
WVC 14 - 1 - 27
§14-1-27. Debts due state from sheriffs or other officers --
The auditor may, with the advice and consent of the attorney
general, whenever any claim or account of any kind, against a
sheriff or other officer has been due for more than seven years,
and the same is for any reason difficult or expensive to collect,
certify a transcript of such claim or accounts to the sheriff of
the county in which the officer, from whom the same is due,
resided at the time his indebtedness to the state was incurred,
and may authorize such sheriff to sell the same as hereinafter
That any claim or account, upon which
judgment has been obtained and execution has been returned
unsatisfied, may be sold after the expiration of five years from
the time such claim or account was due, either in whole or in
part as shown by the auditor's book.
WVC 14 - 1 - 28
§14-1-28. Debts due state from sheriffs or other officers --
Notice of sale.
The sheriff, after having received a transcript of the
account which is to be sold, shall give notice by publication as
a Class III-O legal advertisement in compliance with the
provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, and
the publication area for such publication shall be the county.
Such notice shall be so published within the twenty-one
consecutive days next preceding the date of sale. The notice
shall state that he will proceed to sell to the highest bidder
the claims or accounts mentioned in such notice. Such notice
shall show the name of the sheriff or other officer and his
sureties, in case there is evidence of his having executed a
bond, the year or years for which he was indebted to the state,
upon what account such indebtedness exists, and the amount shown
to be due thereon by the auditor's books, exclusive of interest,
as well as the amount appearing to be due, with interest
calculated to the day of sale.
WVC 14 - 1 - 29
§14-1-29. Debts due state from sheriffs or other officers -- Mode
and terms of sale.
The sheriff to whom such claim or account is certified under
the provisions of this article shall on the first day of the term
of the circuit court of his county succeeding the publication of
such notice, make sale of such claim or account to the highest
bidder, and, in case the amount bid therefor be less than one
hundred dollars, he shall require the payment thereof in cash;
and if the amount bid therefor be more than one hundred dollars,
he shall require one third thereof to be paid in cash, and shall
receive the notes of the purchaser for the residue in two equal
installments, payable respectively in six and twelve months, with
legal interest thereon until paid. Such notes shall have the
names of at least two persons signed thereto as sureties, whom
the prosecuting attorney of the county, by indorsement on the
back of such notes, shall certify are in his opinion responsible
WVC 14 - 1 - 30
§14-1-30. Debts due state from sheriffs or other officers --
Return of sale; exceptions to sale; resale.
Within ten days after making such sale, the sheriff shall
return and file in the clerk's office of the circuit court of his
county a report showing the name of the officer against whom the
claim is, the date of sale, the date and character of the claim
sold, the name of the purchaser, the amount for which sold,
including cash and notes, and, in cases where notes are taken,
the names of the securities thereon. Immediately after such
report is filed in the clerk's office as aforesaid, the clerk
shall post a notice of that fact at the front door of the
courthouse and shall state therein that exceptions may be filed
to such report with the clerk of the circuit court. If, before
the first day of the term of the circuit court beginning after
the filing of such report, any person shall file exceptions
thereto and such exceptions shall be accompanied by a bond with
two or more good securities, conditioned that if a resale be
ordered the person who files such exceptions will at the second
sale give for the claim or account a sum ten per cent greater
than the amount for which it first sold and will pay all the cost
of advertising and making resale, then the court may in its
discretion set such sale aside and order the sheriff to make
another sale, upon such terms as the court may deem proper.
WVC 14 - 1 - 31
§14-1-31. Debts due state from sheriffs or other officers --
Confirmation of sale; certification to auditor.
In cases where no exceptions are filed to the report, the
court shall confirm the sale, and within twenty days after such
confirmation the clerk of the court shall certify to the auditor
a copy of such report and the order of confirmation.
WVC 14 - 1 - 32
§14-1-32. Debts due state from sheriffs or other officers --
Sending purchase money and notes for debts to
auditor; collection of notes.
Within thirty days after the confirmation of said report,
the sheriff shall transmit to the auditor a certificate of
deposit for the amount received by him in cash, and also any
notes which may have been executed for the balance of purchase
money, and in case of the failure of persons who execute such
notes to pay the same when due, it shall be the duty of the
auditor to proceed to enforce the collection thereof, in the same
manner that other claims due the state are recovered.
WVC 14 - 1 - 33
§14-1-33. Debts due state from sheriffs or other officers --
Rights of purchaser of such debts.
The purchaser of any accounts or claims so sold under the
provisions of this article shall have the same right to recover
that the state now has, and shall be substituted to all the
rights of the state concerning the same. But in case there be
any error in any account or claim sold under this article, or it
shall appear that the officer, against whom the claim is, is
entitled to credits which do not appear upon the account or
claim, the purchaser shall not be allowed any claim against the
state by reason thereof.
WVC 14 - 1 - 34
§14-1-34. Commissions to sheriff; payment of publication costs.
The sheriff, for performing the duties required of him by
this article, shall be allowed five per cent on the first one
hundred dollars and two per cent on the residue, which commission
shall be deducted from the purchase money and the balance
credited on the debt due the state. The costs of publishing
notice in a newspaper shall be paid out of the proceeds of such
WVC 14 - 1 - 35
§14-1-35. Transfer by defaulting officer or surety.
In any proceeding had under the provisions of this article
against sheriffs or collectors and their sureties, or any, or
either of them, for money due the state, any transfer, assignment
or alienation of property, real or personal, or any judgment or
decree obtained against or suffered by such sheriff or collector
and their sureties or either of them after service upon them,
respectively, of summons or notice shall be deemed fraudulent or
void as to any judgment that may be thereafter rendered in favor
of the state in pursuance of such summons or notice. But this
section shall not apply to a bona fide purchaser of any such
property, without notice.
WVC 14 - 1 - 36
§14-1-36. Settlement with sureties.
Whenever it shall appear to the satisfaction of the auditor
that the sureties of a defaulting assessor or sheriff will be
compelled to pay the indebtedness of such defaulting officer, he
may, with the advice and consent of the attorney general, settle
with such sureties by receiving the amount of the principal with
interest thereon at the rate of six per cent per annum:
That the sureties will pay the amount into the treasury
before suit is brought.
WVC 14 - 1 - 37
§14-1-37. United States Treasury offset program authorized; setoff
of federal debts.
(a) The auditor is authorized to enter into an agreement with
the Secretary of the Treasury to participate in the Treasury Offset
Program pursuant to 31 U.S.C. §3716 for the collection of any debts
owed to the state or to state agencies from federal payments to
vendors, contractors and taxpayers. The agreement may provide for
the United States to submit nontax debts owed to federal agencies
for offset against state payments otherwise due and owing to
taxpayers, vendors and contractors providing goods or services to
the state, its departments, agencies or institutions.
(b) For purposes of this section the following words have the
(1) "Federal official" means a unit or official of the federal
government charged with the collection of nontax liabilities
payable to the federal government and with the authority to enter
into the offset agreement.
(2) "Offset agreement" is the agreement authorized by this
(3) "Person" means an individual, vendor, contractor,
partnership, society, association, joint stock company, limited
liability company, corporation, estate, receiver, trustee,
assignee, and any other person acting in a fiduciary or
representative capacity whether appointed by a court or otherwise,
or any combination of the foregoing.
(4) "State payments" shall include tax refunds pursuant to the
Tax Procedure and Administration Act, article ten, chapter eleven
of this code, and vendor or contractor payments made by the state
to any person including expense reimbursements to an employee of
the state: Provided, That "state payments" do not include salary,
wages, pension and any other type, class or amount of payment as
the auditor determines to impact the health or welfare of the
citizens of the state.
(c) Pursuant to the agreement authorized herein, a federal
(1) Certify to the auditor the existence of a person's
delinquent, nontax debt owed by the person to the federal
government by providing:
(A) The name of the person;
(B) The social security number or federal tax identification
(C) The amount of the nontax debt; and
(D) Any other information pursuant to the agreement authorized
(2) Request the auditor to withhold any state payment to which
the person is entitled; and
(3) Retain a portion of the proceeds of any federal
administrative setoff pursuant to 31 CSR 285.6.
(d) As required or permitted by state law, federal law or the
offset agreement, the State Auditor:
(1) Shall determine if a person for whom a certification is
received is due a state payment;
(2) Shall withhold a state payment that is due a person whose
name has been certified by a federal official;
(3) Shall notify the person of the amount withheld in
accordance with the offset agreement;
(4) Shall pay to the federal official the lesser of:
(A) The entire state payment; or
(B) The amount certified; and
(C) Pay any refund or state payment in excess of the certified
amount to the person less any fee pursuant to subsection (e);
(5) May certify to a federal official a person's delinquent
debt owed to the state by providing the federal official:
(A) The name of the person;
(B) The social security number or tax identification number;
(C) The amount of the debt due the state; and
(D) Any other information required by the offset agreement;
(6) May request that the federal official withhold any federal
vendor or other federal payment pursuant to the offset agreement to
which the person is entitled.
(e) The auditor may, by rule, establish a reasonable
administrative fee to be charged to the person for the provision of
state offset of federal debt. The fee is a separate debt and may
be withheld from any refund, reimbursement or other moneys held for the person. The auditor may charge the person who is the subject
of federal offset of a state debt, a fee equal to the fee
authorized in subsection (c).
(f) Each state agency and institution shall take all
appropriate and cost-effective actions to aggressively collect its
accounts receivable. Each agency and institution may participate
in the Treasury Offset program of the United States under 31 U.S.C.
(g) The auditor may propose rules for legislative approval in
accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter
twenty-nine-a of this code to administer and implement this section
and the offset agreement.
(h) The auditor and the chief administrators of the various
state agencies are authorized by this section to enter into
interagency agreements for the purpose of protecting a person's
return information as defined in section ten, article five-d,
chapter eleven of this code and collecting debts, fees and
penalties due the state, its departments, agencies or institutions.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session
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