Section 4 – Payments on Hold
Payments Subject to Warrant Hold
When payments are issued to payees with hold records in TINS, those payments are issued as state warrants and are held by the Comptroller’s office. Payroll payments are only held for child support delinquencies reported by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). Travel and vendor payments will be held for any debt reported to the Comptroller’s office, as will payments of lump sums of vacation and/or sick leave for terminated or deceased state employees.
An agency that refers a state debt to the OAG for collection is required to report the principal amount of the debt to the Comptroller’s office with its agency number and assigned hold reason code. The OAG reports to the Comptroller’s office only the amount owed to the OAG as a result of the collection action, such as reimbursement of attorney’s fees or court costs.
When a payment is issued to a payee on hold, the following actions occur:
- A warrant is printed and held at the Comptroller’s office
- The Notice of State Payment(s) Held or Bankruptcy Notice of State Payment(s) Held is generated and sent to the payee
- The PYWRNT and PYWTHD screens are updated in TINS
- The TINS 6206 and 6204 held warrant reports are generated
When a payment is made to a payee on hold who is also set up for direct deposit, the direct deposit instructions are overridden and a warrant will be generated instead. The direct deposit instructions remain in suspense until the hold record is released. Direct deposit will resume automatically when the payee is released from hold, as long as the direct deposit instructions have not been deleted by the custodial agency. Paying agencies must ensure the instructions are current to prevent erroneous direct deposit payments once the entity is released from TINS hold.
Direct deposit instructions cannot be set up for persons on hold for delinquent child support payments. Once a person’s child support hold is released, direct deposit instructions may be set up for that person.
The Notice of State Payment(s) Held is generated whenever a warrant is issued and held by the Comptroller’s office for payees on hold in TINS. This notice includes:
- The warrant(s) on hold, including the amount and the name of the paying agency
- A description of the liability that is owed, including the liability amount
- A statement that the warrant(s) will be offset (applied to the liability amount) 30 days following the issue date of the notice
- The hold source agency’s phone number and address from the Agency Hold Reason Inquiry (RSNINQ) screen in TINS, which allows the payee to contact the agency to discuss the liability and make payment arrangements
Note: Since the contact information provided to the payee about the hold source agency is system generated from the RSNINQ screen, agencies should make sure the RSNINQ screen always has the most current information.
Any of the following may occur with regard to a held warrant:
- The payee may choose to make a payment for the full liability amount to the hold source agency, which will then release the hold in TINS. When the hold is released, the held warrant will be released from the Comptroller’s office to the paying agency for distribution to the payee.
- The payee may choose to complete the Voluntary Offset form on the back of the Notice and submit it to the Comptroller’s office to voluntarily apply the held warrant to their liability amount.
- The hold source agency may choose to release the held warrant to the payee. In this case, the hold source agency must submit a Warrant Release or Reinstatement Request form (00-432) to the Comptroller’s office. When the warrant is released, it will be forwarded to the paying agency for distribution to the payee.
If no action is taken within 30 days from the date of the Notice, the warrant will be offset unless the payee is in active bankruptcy status. The offset process is described in Warrant Hold Offsets section of this FPP.
The Voluntary Offset form is provided on the back of the Notice of State Payments Held letter. Payees who wish to voluntarily apply their held payment to their liability, as described in the Notice, must sign the completed form and submit it to the Comptroller’s office.
Once the Voluntary Offset form is received by the Comptroller’s office, it will be included in the weekly offset process unless the payee is in active bankruptcy status.
Bankruptcy Status Form
The back of the Notice of State Payments Held letter also provides a form where payees can notify the Comptroller’s office or the hold source agency of their active bankruptcy. For more information, please see the Bankruptcy section of this FPP.
A warrant on hold may be released at any time before it is offset with authorization from either the paying agency or the hold source agency.
The warrant hold statutes — Government Code, Sections 403.055(k) and 2107.008(k) — allow for the Comptroller’s office or a state agency to make a payment to a person on hold if the hold agency or agencies consent to the payment and the release of that payment. Agencies must retain documentation of the hold source agencies’ consent to issue and release the payment; documentation must be made available to the Comptroller’s office or the State Auditor’s Office upon request.
The paying agency may only release the warrant if:
- It is necessary to cancel the warrant
- The payment was made in whole or in part with federal funds
Per Texas Government Code, Section 403.055 (h), payments made in whole or in part with federal funds that have been paid to the State of Texas or payments required by federal law are exempt from the requirements of the warrant hold program.
The cancellation of held warrants is discussed in the Cancellations section of this FPP.
Hold source agencies may choose to release held payments based upon payment arrangements they have made with the debtor, or upon their internal policies and practices. (When the debtor has paid their debt in full, the hold source agency will release the hold in TINS, which will also result in the release of any held warrants.)
A hold source agency may release an entity from hold if the entity enters into an installment payment agreement or similar agreement and begins complying with the agreement. If the entity no longer complies with the agreement, the hold source agency must reestablish the hold record in TINS using the original hold effective date.
When releasing held warrants, agencies must use the Warrant Release or Reinstatement Request form (00-432) . Forms must be submitted to the Fiscal Management Division of the Comptroller’s office. Forms may be faxed to (512) 475-5424, sent by encrypted email to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to:
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Fiscal Management Division
P.O. Box 13528
Austin, TX 78774-0001