Intercept is authorized by M.G.L. c. 7A, § 3 and M.G.L. c. 7A §18.  Intercept is an automated process that matches eligible payments to delinquent debt for individuals and organizations that function both as vendors for and customers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Currently, the Commonwealth satisfies debts owed to the state by offsetting payments from the Massachusetts Management and Accounting Reporting System (MMARS) disbursement process,  the Massachusetts Department of Revenue’s (DOR) MASSTAX system for individual state income tax refunds and the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission (LOT) winning payouts over $600.  The Commonwealth continues to pursue the expansion of the intercept process to include additional payment systems and incorporate new debt types.

The intercept process began in 1995, and is used by entities of the Commonwealth to assist them in collecting payments to satisfy delinquent debt.  To date, over $100 million in payments have been intercepted to relieve delinquent debt owed to the Commonwealth.

Intercept Criteria Summary:

  • The receivable or debt must be outstanding for at least 120 days;
  • The customer must have received at least four notices requesting payment;
  • The invoices must contain dunning language mentioning intercept process;
  • The debtor has a right to a hearing to dispute their debt

Eligible Program Participants:

  • Internal MMARS Entity – MA Department (billing detailed REs via the MMARS system);
  • External MMARS Entity – MA Department with access to MMARS billing in Summary RE via the BARS system (i.e. Institution of Higher Education, Departments using an Office of the Comptroller (CTR) authorized delegated detailed billing system);
  • External Non-MMARS Entity – Non-MA Debt Entity that maintains a billing system that meets CTR requirements and is capable of electronically transmitting detailed debts to CTR for purposes of participation in the Commonwealth Intercept Program (i.e. City/Town, MA Authority, Federal Agency)

How Does a Debt Entity Participate in the Intercept Program?

In order to participate in the Commonwealth Intercept Program, the Debt Entity must be able to create and transmit a debt file to CTR, containing either a valid social security or Federal Tax Identification number of the debtor, amount of delinquent debt and a unique identifying number generated by the Debt Entity for each debt record.  Prior to sending a debt to the Commonwealth Intercept Program, the Chief Fiscal Officer of the Debt Entity must certify that the Debt Entity has complied with all applicable Commonwealth laws and regulations related to internal debt collection activities.

Application Features and Benefits:

  • Ability to upload .xml and .txt debt file formats
  • Download output formats include .txt, .xls, .csv, and .xml
  • One interface login for both debt file management and debt file authorization (does not require VPN connection or MMARS Batch Interface Event (BIEVNT) entry)
  • Automatic, date stamped event audit trail for complete debt record management
  • Self-service User ID and password functionality
  • Enhanced system and file alerts/notifications  to support effective file  validation
  • Improved tabular views of data include Upload, Download, Reports, and My Account
  • Online reporting includes upload history, download history, and intercept activity

Related Policies and Compliance Documents:

815 CMR 9.00 Debt Collection and Intercept doc format of 815 CMR 9.00: Debt Collection and Intercept
pdf format of                             815 CMR 9.00: Debt Collection and Intercept

For further detailed program information and/or enrollment inquiry, please contact: Intercepthelp@massmail.state.ma.us