My question involves collection proceedings in the State of: CA

I live in California and recently my tax returns were intercepted. Apparently I have an outstanding debt from the Housing Accounts Department at UC Davis back from 1990.

I contacted UC Davis Housing and they gave me the specifics of the debt. They told me that I owed them money and that they had to refer debt to collection agency. They said collection agency collected from me for some time and never heard back from me, at which point the debt was returned to back UC Davis. I was on a payment plan with UC Davis and believed I payed in full and no party ever bothered me about this debt again, until now.

I asked UC Davis why was I never contacted about this debt and they told me that their policy when this situation occurs was to withhold registration, transcripts etc. to all non-students.

I have never been contacted by them in anyway. I have filled my taxes every year since then and they were never intercepted and this debt they claim I owe has not appeared in my credit reports ever. I have never been served (sued) by a court nor have I ever had a judgment against me.

It has been 19 years since this supposed debt exist. Is it legal for the state to take my refund? Isn't there a statute of limitations for outstanding debt from so long ago?

UC Davis Housing told me that the the state of CA was recently offered a Franchise Tax Board Offset Program that allows for the collection on debts through the garnishing of tax returns. They said that a letter was sent to all who owed money and to pay up. I never received such letter. Is this legal?

Any suggestions of how I can proceed?