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Wisconsin Workers' Compensation Legal Library

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102.835 Levy for delinquent payments.


In this section:

(a) "Debt" means a delinquent payment.

(ad) "Debtor" means an uninsured employer or an individual found personally liable under s. 102.83 (8) who owes the department a debt.

(d) "Levy" means all powers of distraint and seizure.

(e) "Payment" means a payment owed to the department under s. 102.82 and includes interest on that payment.

(f) "Property" includes all tangible and intangible personal property and rights to that property, including compensation paid or payable for personal services, whether denominated as wages, salary, commission, bonus or otherwise, amounts paid periodically pursuant to a pension or retirement program, rents, proceeds of insurance and amounts paid pursuant to a contract.

(2) POWERS OF LEVY AND DISTRAINT. If any debtor who is liable for any debt fails to pay that debt after the department has made demand for payment, the department may collect that debt and the expenses of the levy by levy upon any property belonging to the debtor. If the value of any property that has been levied upon under this section is not sufficient to satisfy the claim of the department, the department may levy upon any additional property of the debtor until the debt and expenses of the levy are fully paid.

(3) DUTIES TO SURRENDER. Any person in possession of or obligated with respect to property or rights to property that is subject to levy and upon which a levy has been made shall, upon demand of the department, surrender the property or rights or discharge the obligation to the department, except that part of the property or rights which is, at the time of the demand, subject to any prior attachment or execution under any judicial process.

(4) FAILURE TO SURRENDER; ENFORCEMENT OF LEVY. (a) Any debtor who fails to surrender any property or rights to property that is subject to levy, upon demand by the department, is subject to proceedings to enforce the amount of the levy.

(b) Any 3rd party who fails to surrender any property or rights to property subject to levy, upon demand of the department, is subject to proceedings to enforce the levy. The 3rd party is not liable to the department under this paragraph for more than 25% of the debt. The department shall serve a final demand as provided under sub. (13) on any 3rd party who fails to surrender property. Proceedings may not be initiated by the department until 5 days after service of the final demand. The department shall issue a determination under s. 102.82 to the 3rd party for the amount of the liability.

(c) When a 3rd party surrenders the property or rights to the property on demand of the department or discharges the obligation to the department for which the levy is made, the 3rd party is discharged from any obligation or liability to the debtor with respect to the property or rights to the property arising from the surrender or payment to the department.

(5) ACTIONS AGAINST THIS STATE. (a) If the department has levied upon property, any person, other than the debtor who is liable to pay the debt out of which the levy arose, who claims an interest in or lien on that property, and who claims that that property was wrongfully levied upon may bring a civil action against the state in the circuit court for Dane County. That action may be brought whether or not that property has been surrendered to the department. The court may grant only the relief under par. (b). No other action to question the validity of or to restrain or enjoin a levy by the department may be maintained.

(b) In an action under par. (a), if a levy would irreparably injure rights to property, the court may enjoin the enforcement of that levy. If the court determines that the property has been wrongfully levied upon, it may grant a judgment for the amount of money obtained by levy.(c) For purposes of an adjudication under this subsection, the determination of the debt upon which the interest or lien of the department is based is conclusively presumed to be valid.

(6) DETERMINATION OF EXPENSES. The department shall determine its costs and expenses to be paid in all cases of levy.

(7) USE OF PROCEEDS. (a) The department shall apply all money obtained under this section first against the expenses of the proceedings and then against the liability in respect to which the levy was made and any other liability owed to the department by the debtor.

(b) The department may refund or credit any amount left after the applications under par. (a), upon submission of a claim for a refund or credit and satisfactory proof of the claim, to the person entitled to that amount.

(8) RELEASE OF LEVY. The department may release the levy upon all or part of property levied upon to facilitate the collection of the liability or to grant relief from a wrongful levy, but that release does not prevent any later levy.

(9) WRONGFUL LEVY. If the department determines that property has been wrongfully levied upon, the department may return the property at any time, or may return an amount of money equal to the amount of money levied upon.

(10) PRESERVATION OF REMEDIES. The availability of the remedy under this section does not abridge the right of the department to pursue other remedies.

(11) EVASION. Any person who removes, deposits or conceals or aids in removing, depositing or concealing any property upon which a levy is authorized under this section with intent to evade or defeat the assessment or collection of any debt is guilty of a Class I felony and shall be liable to the state for the costs of prosecution.

(12) NOTICE BEFORE LEVY. If no proceeding for review permitted by law is pending, the department shall make a demand to the debtor for payment of the debt which is subject to levy and give notice that the department may pursue legal action for collectionof the debt against the debtor. The department shall make the demand for payment and give the notice at least 10 days prior to the levy, personally or by any type of mail service which requires a signature of acceptance, at the address of the debtor as it appears on the records of the department. The demand for payment and notice shall include a statement of the amount of the debt, including costs and fees, and the name of the debtor who is liable for the debt. The debtor's failure to accept or receive the notice does not prevent the department from making the levy. Notice prior to levy is not required for a subsequent levy on any debt of the same debtor within one year after the date of service of the original levy.

(13) SERVICE OF LEVY. (a) The department shall serve the levy upon the debtor and 3rd party by personal service or by any type of mail service which requires a signature of acceptance.

(b) Personal service shall be made upon an individual, other than a minor or incapacitated person, by delivering a copy of the levy to the debtor or 3rd party personally; by leaving a copy of the levy at the debtor's dwelling or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion residing there; by leaving a copy of the levy at the business establishment of the debtor with an officer or employee of the debtor; or by delivering a copy of the levy to an agent authorized by law to receive service of process.

(c) The department representative who serves the levy shall certify service of process on the notice of levy form and the person served shall acknowledge receipt of the certification by signing and dating it. If service is made by mail, the return receipt is the certificate of service of the levy.

(d) The failure of a debtor or 3rd party to accept or receive service of the levy does not invalidate the levy.

(14) ANSWER BY 3RD PARTY. Within 20 days after the service of the levy upon a 3rd party, the 3rd party shall file an answer with the department stating whether the 3rd party is in possession of or obligated with respect to property or rights to property of the debtor, including a description of the property or the rights to property and the nature and dollar amount of any such obligation. If the 3rd party is an insurance company, the insurance company shall file an answer with the department within 45 days after the service of the levy.

(15) DURATION OF LEVY. A levy is effective from the date on which the levy is first served on the 3rd party until the liability out of which the levy arose is satisfied, until the levy is released or until one year after the date of service, whichever occurs first.

(18) RESTRICTION ON EMPLOYMENT PENALTIES BY REASON OF LEVY. No employer may discharge or otherwise discriminate with respect to the terms and conditions of employment against any employee by reason of the fact that his or her earnings have been subject to levy for any one levy or because of compliance with any provision of this section. Whoever willfully violates this subsection may be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than 9 months or both.

(19) HEARING. Any debtor who is subject to a levy proceeding made by the department may request a hearing under s. 102.17 to review the levy proceeding. The hearing is limited to questions of prior payment of the debt that the department is proceeding against, and mistaken identity of the debtor. The levy is not stayed pending the hearing in any case in which property is secured through the levy.

(20) COST OF LEVY. Any 3rd party is entitled to a levy fee of $5 for each levy in any case where property is secured through the levy. The 3rd party shall deduct the fee from the proceeds of the levy.

History: 1993 a. 81; 1995 a. 117; 1997 a. 187, 283; 2001 a. 109; 2005 a. 442; 2007 a. 185.

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