830 CMR: DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
830 CMR 119A.00: CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT
830 CMR 119A.5.1: Child Support Enforcement Electronic Funds Transfer Program

(1) Statement of Purpose; Effective Date; Outline of Topics.

(a) Statement of Purpose. The purpose of 830 CMR 119A.5.1 is to implement M.G.L. c. 119A, § 5 under which the Child Support Enforcement Division of the Department of Revenue is required to use automated procedures, electronic processes and computer-driven technology to the maximum extent feasible, efficient and economical for the receipt of child support payments from employers. 830 CMR 119A.5.1 explains the procedures prescribed by the Commissioner for payment of child support by employers through the Child Support Enforcement Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) program.

(b) Effective Date. 830 CMR 119A.5.1 shall take effect on January 1, 2004.

(c) Outline of Topics. 830 CMR 119A.5.1 is organized as follows:

(1) Statement of Purpose, Effective Date, Outline of Topics.

(2) Definitions.

(3) Child Support Enforcement EFT Program Participation.

(4) Child Support Enforcement EFT Program Registration Requirements.

(5) Child Support EFT Payment Requirements.

(6) Timely Child Support EFT Payments.

(7) Use of Payroll Processing Services.

(8) Notification of Errors, Incorrect Information and Changes, Additions and Deletions of Information.

(9) Penalties.

(2) Definitions. For the purpose of 830 CMR 119A.5.1, the following terms have the following meanings, unless the text requires otherwise:

Automated Clearing House (ACH), any entity that operates as a clearing house to transmit or receive entries electronically, pursuant to an agreement with an association that is a member of the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA).

ACH Credit Transaction Method, one of the national standards of the banking industry to transfer funds electronically among banks using the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network. In a child support ACH credit transaction, an employer, through its bank, originates an entry to credit a designated bank account and to debit its own bank account for the amount of child support payment.

Child Support Enforcement Division of the Department of Revenue (DOR), the single state agency for the Commonwealth responsible for establishing parentage and establishing, modifying and enforcing child support orders pursuant to Title IV, Part D of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 651 et seq., and M.G.L. c. 119A. The Child Support Enforcement Division is a division contained within the Department of Revenue.

Child Support Enforcement EFT Program, payment of child support by the transfer of funds electronically from an employer's financial institution to the Commonwealth's designated depository bank, in accordance with 830 CMR 119A.5.1 and procedures prescribed by the Commissioner.

Commissioner, the Commissioner of Revenue or the Commissioner's duly authorized representative.

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), a system used to transfer payments or funds electronically; any transfer of funds (other than a transaction originated by check, draft or similar paper instrument) that is initiated through an electronic terminal, telephonic instrument, computer or magnetic tape, to authorize a financial institution to debit or credit an account.

Employee, as the term is defined in M.G.L. c. 119A, § 1A.

Employer, as the term is defined in M.G.L. c. 119A, § 1A.

National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA), the association that establishes the standards, rules and procedures that enable depository financial institutions to exchange ACH payments on a national basis.

Obligee, an individual to whom support is owed or in whose favor a support order has been issued or the Commonwealth if there is an assignment of child support rights pursuant to Title IV, Parts A and E, or Title XIX of the Social Security Act. See M.G.L. c. 119A, § 2.

(3) Child Support Enforcement EFT Program Participation.

(a) Child Support Enforcement EFT Program in General. Under the Child Support Enforcement EFT program, certain employers that are required to withhold and remit child support payments pursuant to M.G.L. c. 119A, § 12(f) must make child support payments to DOR by the electronic transfer of funds. The Child Support Enforcement EFT program uses the Automated Clearing House (ACH) credit transaction method of payment. An employer that participates in the Child Support Enforcement EFT program transfers funds by instructing its designated financial institution to credit the Commonwealth's depository bank and to debit the employer's bank account for the amount of the child support payment.

(b) Mandatory Participation.

1. Employers Required to Withhold and Remit Child Support Payments for Five or More Employees. As of January 1, 2004, any employer required to withhold and remit child support payments pursuant to M.G.L. c. 119A, § 12(f) for five or more employees shall make all child support payments through the Child Support Enforcement EFT program. Once an employer is registered as a mandatory participant in the Child Support Enforcement EFT program, the employer may not withdraw from the Child Support Enforcement EFT program even if the number of employees for whom the employer is required to withhold and remit child support payments decreases to less than five.

2. Other Employers. Regardless of the number of employees for whom an employer is required to withhold and remit child support payments, any employer required to make child support payments to DOR by income withholding pursuant to M.G.L. c. 119A, § 12(f) with a history of two or more checks returned for insufficient funds, a history of irregular or untimely payments or other instances of failure to remit child support payments shall be required to make all child support payments through the Child Support Enforcement EFT program.

(c) Voluntary Participation. Any employer required to withhold and remit child support payments pursuant to M.G.L. c. 119A, § 12(f) for fewer than five employees may participate in the Child Support Enforcement EFT program on a voluntary basis. Once an employer is registered as a voluntary participant, the employer shall remain subject to 830 CMR 119A.5.1 and DOR's procedures established for mandatory participation, except as provided in 830 CMR 119A.5.1(3)(d)2.

(d) Waiver and Withdrawal from Participation. An employer may request a waiver from participation in the Child Support Enforcement EFT program, as described in 830 CMR 119A.5.1(3)(d)1. and 2.

1. Mandatory Participants. Any employer required to participate in the Child Support Enforcement EFT program by 830 CMR 119A.5.1 may request a waiver from participation by writing to the Child Support Enforcement EFT unit. The Commissioner shall review each request for a waiver from participation in the Child Support Enforcement EFT program on a case by case basis to determine if the request for waiver is warranted.

2. Voluntary Participants. Withdrawal from participation in the Child Support Enforcement EFT program will be granted to voluntary participants upon written request, provided the employer does not meet the requirements of 830 CMR 119A.5.1 for mandatory participation in the Child Support Enforcement EFT program.

(4) Child Support Enforcement EFT Program Registration Requirements.

(a) Registration. To register for mandatory or voluntary participation in the Child Support Enforcement EFT program, an employer must obtain a Massachusetts Child Support EFT Manual (Manual) and submit its registration with the required identifying information for each employee as set forth in the Massachusetts Child Support EFT Manual.

(b) Reconciliation of Identifying Information. Before making any child support EFT payments, an employer must ensure that the employer's identifying information for the employee matches exactly the identifying information for the employee in DOR's child support enforcement automated data system. The Child Support Enforcement EFT unit will compare the identifying information submitted by the employer for each employee with identifying information in DOR's child support enforcement automated data system. The Child Support Enforcement EFT unit shall notify the employer if there are any discrepancies between the employer's and DOR's identifying information and the employer shall cooperate with the Child Support Enforcement EFT unit to reconcile any discrepancies.

(c) DOR's Information to Employer. DOR shall provide to the employer all necessary information for completing the EFT, such as its financial institution and account number.

(5) Child Support EFT Payment Requirements.

(a) Employer's Obligation. An employer shall take all action necessary to ensure that child support EFT payments will be credited to the proper child support account for each employee including, but not limited to, ensuring that the employer has the capability of creating and successfully transmitting an ACH file to its financial institution, confirming that its financial institution has the capability of remitting payments through the ACH network and meeting all NACHA standards, regulations and requirements.

(b) Employer's Test Transmission with its Financial Institution. Before making its first child support EFT payment, an employer must provide to its financial institution all relevant information as set forth in the Massachusetts Child Support EFT Manual and must conduct a test transmission of child support withholding information with its financial institution.

(c) Pre-notification Test. Before making a first child support EFT payment to DOR, an employer's financial institution should conduct a pre-notification test (pre-note test), which is a banking industry safeguard, to verify the Commonwealth's routing/transit number and bank account number. A pre-notification test is a zero-dollar transaction processed at least ten days before the employer's first child support EFT payment. The Child Support Enforcement EFT unit shall notify the employer as to whether the pre-note test was successful or whether any errors occurred in the pre-note test.

(6) Timely Child Support EFT Payments.

(a) Child Support Payment Due Date. All child support EFT payments must be credited to the Commonwealth's designated bank account by the statutory payment due date set forth in M.G.L. c. 119A, § 12(f). The Child Support Enforcement EFT program does not change any existing requirements of the Commonwealth's child support laws. An employer should determine with its financial institution when to originate its payment so that it will be timely paid. If a child support ACH credit payment cannot be timely made due to circumstances beyond the control of an employer or the employer's financial institution, the employer must remit the child support payment to DOR by means other than EFT to ensure timely payment.

(b) Proof of Child Support Payment. An employer should obtain from its financial institution verification that the proper amount of child support payment was transferred from the employer's account to the Commonwealth's account and that its child support payment was timely made. The employer has the burden of proof of proper child support payments.

(7) Use of Payroll Processing Services. An employer may use a payroll processing service to withhold and remit child support payments to DOR. A payroll processing service is subject to all requirements of 830 CMR 119A.5.1. A payroll processing service that withholds and remits child support payments on behalf of an employer for five or more employees shall be a mandatory participant in the Child Support Enforcement EFT program pursuant to 830 CMR 119A.5.1(3)(b)1. A payroll processing service that withholds and remits child support payments on behalf of an employer for fewer than five employees may be a voluntary participant in the Child Support Enforcement EFT program pursuant to 830 CMR 119A.5.1(3)(b)2.

(8) Notification of Errors, Incorrect Information and Changes, Additions and Deletions of Information.

(a) Notification of Child Support EFT Payment Errors. If an employer discovers that an error has been made in a child support EFT payment, the employer must notify the Child Support Enforcement EFT unit within 2 business days and must contact its financial institution for correction procedures. If DOR finds a recurring error in child support EFT payments, the Child Support Enforcement EFT unit will notify the employer.

(b) Incorrect Information. If the Child Support Enforcement EFT unit notifies an employer that incorrect or incomplete identifying information for an employee has been submitted with a child support EFT payment, the employer must submit the correct information with the next child support EFT payment. If the employer continues to submit incorrect or incomplete information, the employer may be subject to penalties. See 830 CMR 119A.5.1(9).

(c) Changes, Additions and Deletions. Any changes in information ( i.e., a change in an employer's transmitting bank), additions of new employees or deletions of existing employees must be reported in writing to the Child Support Enforcement EFT unit within two business days of the change, addition or deletion.

(9) Penalties. Any employer required by 830 CMR 119A.5.1 to make child support payments to DOR by EFT who fails, without reasonable cause, to comply with the requirements of 830 CMR 119A.5.1 may be subject to penalties pursuant to M.G.L. c. 119A, § 12(f) or any other penalty authorized by law.

REGULATORY AUTHORITY
830 CMR 119A.5.1: M.G.L. c. 119A, § 5.
Date of Promulgation: 12/19/03