106-9.4. Collection of delinquent fees and taxes.

(a) If any fee or tax imposed by this Chapter, or any other fee or tax levied by the State and payable to the Commissioner of Agriculture or the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, or any portion of such fee or tax, be not paid within 30 days after the same becomes due and payable, and after the same has been assessed, the Commissioner of Agriculture shall issue an order under his hand and official seal, directed to the sheriff of any county of the State commanding him to levy upon and sell the real and personal property of the taxpayer found within his county for the payment of the amount thereof, with the added penalties, additional taxes, interest, and cost of executing the same, and to return to the Commissioner of Agriculture the money collected by virtue thereof within a time to be therein specified, not less than 60 days from the date of the order. The said sheriff shall, thereupon, proceed upon the same in all respects with like effect and in the same manner prescribed by law in respect to executions issued against property upon judgments of a court of record, and shall be entitled to the same fees for his services in executing the order, to be collected in the same manner.

(b) Bank deposits, rents, salaries, wages, and all other choses in action or property incapable of manual levy or delivery, hereinafter called the intangible, belonging, owing, or to become due to any taxpayer subject to any of the provisions of this Chapter, or which has been transferred by such taxpayer under circumstances which would permit it to be levied upon if it were tangible, shall be subject to attachment or garnishment as herein provided, and the person owing said intangible, matured or unmatured, or having same in his possession or control, hereinafter called the garnishee, shall become liable for all sums due by the taxpayer under this Chapter to the extent of the amount of the intangible belonging, owing, or to become due to the taxpayer subject to the setoff of any matured or unmatured indebtedness of the taxpayer to the garnishee. To effect such attachment or garnishment the Commissioner of Agriculture shall serve or cause to be served upon the taxpayer and the garnishee a notice as hereinafter provided, which notice may be served by any deputy or employee of the Commissioner of Agriculture or by any officer having authority to serve summonses. Said notice shall show:

(1) The name of the taxpayer and his address, if known;

(2) The nature and amount of the fee or tax, and the interest and penalties thereon, and the year or years for which the same were levied or assessed, and

(3) Shall be accompanied by a copy of this subsection, and thereupon the procedure shall be as follows:

If the garnishee has no defense to offer or no setoff against the taxpayer, he shall, within 10 days after service of said notice, answer the same by sending to the Commissioner of Agriculture by registered mail a statement to that effect, and if the amount due or belonging to the taxpayer is then due or subject to his demand, it shall be remitted to the Commissioner with said statement, but if said amount is to mature in the future, the statement shall set forth that fact and the same shall be paid to the Commissioner upon maturity, and any payment by the garnishee hereunder shall be a complete extinguishment of any liability therefor on his part to the taxpayer. If the garnishee has any defense or setoff, he shall state the same in writing under oath, and, within 10 days after service of said notice, shall send two copies of said statement to the Commissioner by registered mail; if the Commissioner admits such defense or setoff, he shall so advise the garnishee in writing within 10 days after receipt of such statement and the attachment or garnishment shall thereupon be discharged to the amount required by such defense or setoff, and any amount attached or garnished hereunder which is not affected by such defense or setoff shall be remitted to the Commissioner as above provided in cases where the garnishee has no defense or setoff, and with like effect. If the Commissioner shall not admit the defense or setoff, he shall set forth in writing his objections thereto and shall send a copy thereof to the garnishee within 10 days after receipt of the garnishee's statement, or within such further time as may be agreed on by the garnishee, and at the same time he shall file a copy of said notice, a copy of the garnishee's statement, and a copy of his objections thereto in the superior court of the county where the garnishee resides or does business where the issues made shall be tried as in civil actions.

If judgment is entered in favor of the Commissioner of Agriculture by default or after hearing, the garnishee shall become liable for the fee or taxes, interest and penalties due by the taxpayer to the extent of the amount over and above any defense or setoff of the garnishee belonging, owing, or to become due to the taxpayer, but payments shall not be required from amounts which are to become due to the taxpayer until the maturity thereof, nor shall more than ten percent (10%) of any taxpayer's salary or wages be required to be paid hereunder in any one month. The garnishee may satisfy said judgment upon paying said amount, and if he fails to do so, execution may issue as provided by law. From any judgment or order entered upon such hearing either the Commissioner of Agriculture or the garnishee may appeal as provided by law. If, before or after judgment, adequate security is filed for the payment of said taxes, interest, penalties, and costs, the attachment or garnishment may be released or execution stayed pending appeal, but the final judgment shall be paid or enforced as above provided. The taxpayer's sole remedies to question his liability for said fees or taxes, interest, and penalties shall be those provided in this Article, as now or hereinafter amended or supplemented. If any third person claims any intangible attached or garnished hereunder and his lawful right thereto, or to any part thereof, is shown to the Commissioner, he shall discharge the attachment or garnishment to the extent necessary to protect such right, and if such right is asserted after the filing of said copies as aforesaid, it may be established by interpleader as now or hereafter provided by the General Statutes in cases of attachment and garnishment. In case such third party has no notice of proceedings hereunder, he shall have the right to file his petition under oath with the Commissioner at any time within 12 months after said intangible is paid to him and if the Commissioner finds that such party is lawfully entitled thereto or to any part thereof, he shall pay the same to such party as provided for refunds by G.S. 105-407 and if such payment is denied, said party may appeal from the determination of the Commissioner to the Superior Court of Wake County or to the superior court of the county wherein he resides or does business. The intangibles of a taxpayer shall be paid or collected hereunder only to the extent necessary to satisfy said fees or taxes, interest, penalties, and costs. Except as hereinafter set forth, the remedy provided in this section shall not be resorted to unless a warrant for collection or execution against the taxpayer has been returned unsatisfied: Provided, however, if the Commissioner is of opinion that the only effective remedy is that herein provided, it shall not be necessary that a warrant for collection or execution shall be first returned unsatisfied, and in no case shall it be a defense to the remedy herein provided that a warrant for collection or execution has not been first returned unsatisfied: Provided, however, that no salary or wage at the rate of less than two hundred dollars ($200.00) per month, whether paid weekly or monthly, shall be attached or garnished under the provisions of this section.

(c) In addition to the remedy herein provided, the Commissioner of Agriculture is authorized and empowered to make a certificate setting forth the essential particulars relating to the said fee or tax, including the amount thereof, the date when the same was due and payable, the person, firm, or corporation chargeable therewith, and the nature of the fee or tax, and under his hand and seal transmit the same to the clerk of the superior court of any county in which the delinquent taxpayer resides or has property; whereupon, it shall be the duty of the clerk of the superior court of the county to docket the said certificate and index the same on the cross index of judgments, and execution may issue thereon with the same force and effect as an execution upon any other judgment of the superior court; said tax shall become a lien on realty only from the date of the docketing of such certificate in the office of the clerk of the superior court and in personalty only from the date of the levy on such personalty and upon execution thereon no homestead or personal property exemption shall be allowed.

(d) The remedies herein given are cumulative and in addition to all other remedies provided by law for the collection of said fees and taxes. (1963, c. 458; 1997-261, s. 109.)