e-CFR Navigation Aids


Simple Search

Advanced Search

 — Boolean

 — Proximity


Search History

Search Tips


Latest Updates

User Info


Agency List

Incorporation By Reference

eCFR logo

Related Resources

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of July 1, 2020

Title 7Subtitle BChapter XVIIISubchapter HPart 1956Subpart C → §1956.124

Title 7: Agriculture
Subpart C—Debt Settlement—Community and Business Programs

§1956.124   Compromise and adjustment.

Nonjudgment debts may be compromised or adjusted upon application of the debtor(s), or if the debtor is an individual and unable to act, upon application of the guardian, executor, or administrator of the debtor's estate.

(a) General provisions. Debts, regardless of the amount, may be compromised or adjusted subject to the following:

(1) The debt or any extension thereof on which compromise or adjustment is requested is due and payable under the terms of the note or other instrument, or because of acceleration by written notice, prior to the date of application for settlement.

(2) The period of time during which payments on adjustment offers are to be made cannot exceed five years without the approval of the Administrator.

(3) Efforts will be made to avoid applications for settlement in which debtors offer a specified amount payable upon notice of approval of the proposed settlement.

(b) Debtor's ability to pay. In evaluating the debtor's settlement application, it is essential that reliable information be obtained in sufficient detail to assure that the offer accurately reflects the debtor's ability to pay. The debtor's income, expenses, and nonsecurity assets are critical factors in determining the type of settlement and the amount which the debtor can reasonably be expected to offer. Critical information should include the following:

(1) The debtor's total present income from all sources will be determined. In addition, careful consideration will be given to the probable sources, amount, and stability of income to be received over a reasonable period of years. For individuals, public welfare assistance and pensions, including old age pensions and pensions received by veterans for pensionable disabilities will not be considered as sources of funds with which to make compromise and adjustment offers.

(2) The debtor's operation and maintenance expenses, and, in the case of individuals, probable living expenses.

(3) The priority of payments on debts to third parties.

(4) When the debtor is largely dependent on income from an occupation in which manual labor is required, age and health of the individual are vital factors in determining the ability to pay. The number in the debtor's family, their ages and condition of health, will also be weighed in determining the ability to pay. However, when the debtor's income is from investments, business enterprises, or management efforts, age and health of both individual and family are of less importance.

(5) The value of the debtor's assets in relation to debts and liens of third parties is important in determining the debtor's ability to pay. It is recognized that debtors must retain a reasonable equity in essential nonsecurity property in order to continue normal operations and, in the case of an individual, to meet family living expenses over a period of years. Under this policy a reasonable equity in a modest nonsecurity homestead occupied by the debtor, whether or not exempt from levy and execution will not be considered as available for offer in settlement. Nonsecurity property which is in excess of minimum business and/or family living needs and which is not exempt from levy and execution should be considered when determining the debtor's ability to pay.

(c) Debtor unable to pay in full. Debts may be compromised or adjusted and security property retained by the debtor, provided:

(1) The debtor is unable to pay the indebtedness in full, and

(2) The debtor has offered an amount equal to the present fair market value of all security or facility financed, and

(3) The debtor has offered any additional amount which the debtor is able to pay, and

(4) The total amount offered represents a reasonable determination of the debtor's ability to pay.

(d) Debtor able to pay in full but refuses to do so. If the debtor has the ability to pay in full but refuses to do so, debts may be compromised or adjusted and security property retained by the debtor under certain conditions:

(1) The OGC advises that the Government is unable to enforce collection in full within a reasonable time by enforced collection proceedings, and the amount offered represents a reasonable settlement considering:

(i) Availability of assets or income which may be realized by enforced collection proceedings, considering the applicable exemptions available to the debtor under State and Federal law, and

(ii) Inheritance prospects within 5 years, and

(iii) Likelihood of debtor obtaining nonexempt property or income within 5 years out of which there could be collected a substantially larger sum than the amount of the present offer, and

(iv) Uncertainty as to the price that the security or other property will bring at forced sale, or

(2) The OGC advises that there is a real doubt concerning the Government's ability to prove its case in court for the full amount of the debt, and the amount offered represents a reasonable settlement considering:

(i) The probability of prevailing on the legal issues involved, and

(ii) The probability of proving facts to establish full or partial recovery, with due regard to the availability of witnesses and other pertinent factors, and

(iii) The probable amount of court costs and attorney's fees which may be assessed against the Government if it is unsuccessful in litigation, or

(3) When the cost of collecting the debt does not justify enforced collection of the full amount. In such cases, the amount accepted in compromise or adjustment may reflect an appropriate discount for administrative and litigious costs of collection. Such discount will not exceed $600 unless the OGC advises that in the particular case a larger discount is appropriate. The cost of collecting may be a substantial factor in settling small debts but normally will not carry great weight in settling large debts.

Need assistance?