Frequently Asked Questions

technical - (updated June 10, 2015)

 1. What are the different formats for submitting data to the Clearinghouse?

  A.  Client Software (preferred):

  • The Clearinghouse has developed a Microsoft Windows application that does the entire debt process.  Enter debtors and their debts, create reports, import ASCII and/or Excel files, automatically transfer files to and from the Clearinghouse directly within this software.  Documentation and training is provided, all at no cost. For more information click here.

B. ASCII (Unicode):

  • The file layout format to send data to the Clearinghouse is ASCII, also referred to in MS Windows applications as Unicode.  Your Information Technology (IT) staff and or third-party vendor should be able to take your existing debt information and put it into an ASCII (Unicode) format.  There is a required layout,to download click here. 

C. Hardcopy Forms (Data Entry):

  • The Clearinghouse will, at no charge, enter up to 50 debtors and debts for county agencies and municipalities. If more than 50 to begin, contact the Clearinghouse to discuss.

D. Microsoft EXCEL:

  • For security reasons, we are no longer allowing new participants to send debtors and debts in Excel. We have free Client software for entities with more than 50 debts and a hard-copy data entry option for those smaller. We will accept a one-time Excel file to populate the Client software or to then turn over to the Clearinghouse to maintain and do the data entry from that point forward.

2.  How often can a local government entity send data files (debtors/debts) to the Clearinghouse?

Participating entities may submit data files as often as needed.  A weekly update is recommended if data has changed. There is no need to send more often than weekly, as the files are only processed over the weekend.

3.  When are debtor/debts files due at the Clearinghouse in order to be processed and sent to the NC Department of Revenue?

By 5:00 p.m. each Friday. Over the weekend the Clearinghouse processes all files uploaded to local government secure folders during the week. Usually by Monday moring, emails of the statistics (before and after balances) are sent to all these local governments that submitted files. This gives the Clearinghouse and locla governments time to review the results and make corrections if necessary before the final file is generated and transmitted to the Department of Revenue each Tuesday morning. For emergency situations, contact the Clearinghouse by noon Monday morning if a new debt file needs to be added or critical updates need to be processed. The Clearinghouse will make every effort to take additional files on Monday mornings dring the heavy tax season, January through mid-April.

4.  Does the Clearinghouse send debtor information to the Education Lottery?

No, the Clearinghouse ONLY send to the Department of Revenue. The Department of Revenue sends the data to the Ecuation Lottery every two weeks.

5. How long before the funds are available to the local governments after a setoff at the Department of Revenue and/or Education Lottery?

The Clearinghouse normally receives setoff files from the Department of Revenue and Education Lottery on the first and third Tuesdays from February through December. The normal process for the funds being avalable to the local governments should be within five business days after a setoff. The Clearinghouse normally completes its reconciliations by Thursday and then provides a report of the deposit amounts to Capital Management of the Carolinas. It takes them several days to complete the deposit transfer once the funds are deposited into the Capital Management of the Carolinas account by the Department of Reveneu and Education Lottery.

6. Is a local government entity required to have an account with Capital Management of the Carolinas?

Yes, the only way to receive funds is to have an account established with Capital Management of the Carolinas. And there can only be ONE account for the entire county, agency, municipality or Housing Authority. The Clearinghouse provides only one deposit amount to Capital Management for each participating local government entity.

7. Does the Clearinghouse receive the funds from setoffs at the N. C. Department of Revenue and/or Education Lottery?

No, all funds from setoffs of tax refunds and Education Lottery winnings submitted by the Clearinghouse go into an account maintained by Capital Management of the Carolinas.

8.  Are there separate deposits for the Department of Revenue and Education Lottery into the local governments Capital Management accounts?

No, the Clearinghouse combines the deposit amounts of the Department of Revenue and Education Lottery into one amount and provides that amount to Capital Management.

7. How does a local government entity sign up with the Clearinghouse?

There are several one-time forms and one annual form. Click here for the forms page that contains all forms. They must be must be submitted to your member organization: The NC League of Municipalities or the NC Association of County Commissioners. Once approved they will notify the Clearinghouse that we can begin accepting debtors and debts.

8. What does a local government entity receive from the Clearinghouse when it requests the Client application software?

The Clearinghouse will contact the Coordinator and get I.T. contact information in order to schedule the installation. The Clearinghouse will install or work with your I.T. to install on as many workstations as necesssary.

9. Is there a written manual that comes with the Client software?

There is an online help system and pdf available on the Client Software web page.

10. Can the online HELP system be printed?

Yes, the entire online HELP system can be printed from the website. 

11. Can a local government entity install and execute the Client software on a network?

Yes, it is preferred that the database reside on a server and the client software be installed on user workstations. AN unlimited number of users can be given access, as long as they have access to the server.

12. Can a local government entity install and execute the Client software on multiple computers?

Yes, the client software can be loaded on as many workstations as necessay, even in separate departments. However, there can only be one database for the entire local government. Different departments cannot have their own database. The Clearinghouse can set-up different account codes in the software in order for multiple users and departments to share a single database.

13. What kind of computer does it take to operate the Client software system?

Any Microsoft Windows based computer will function with the software.

14. What kind of Operating System is required on the computer used to operate the Client application system?

Any Windows Vista, Windows 7, 8 or higher.

15. What if a local government entity doesn’t have access to the Internet or required hardware and/or software?

Data can be submitted by fax if less than 100 debts. There is no cost.

16. What is the cost for the Client software?

There is no cost for the Client software nor will there be any cost for any future upgrades.

17. Is there a charge for technical support?

No, there is no cost for any technical support, even if on-site support is required.

18. Is there a toll-free number for technical support?

Yes, there is a toll-free number for this free support, (866) 265-1668

19. Can a local government entity get on-site support?

No, we have highly capable technical support that can accomplish the installation and support. It may reqiuire assistance with your I.T. support staff.

20. Is there a charge for any of the Clearinghouse's services?

The only possibly chargeable item is if the local government requests the Clearinghouse do data entry from hardcopy forms for more than 50 debts. But contact us to discuss.

21. What if a local government entity doesn’t have the data in an electronic format nor has the resources to enter into the Client system, can the Clearinghouse do the data entry?

Yes, the Clearinghouse will do data entry at no cost for 50 or less debts. Above 50 debts MAY incur a charge.

22. What is the rate for data entry services from the Clearinghouse?

It depends on the format of the hardcopy data and the amount. The Clearinghouse can give an estimate based on a review of the hardcopy and the amount of debt transactions.  Currently we are offering to do the data entry if using our hardcopy forms and faxing if 50 debts or less.

23. Can a local government entity submit an Excel file?

Yes, a new participant should contact us so we can connect remotely and securely view and transmit an Excel file of all debts being submitted. We will either convert the Excel data into our software and install/train the user(s) or we will assume the data entry updates. The Excel file must be in the required format, click here for a sample.

24. Can a local government entity submit an ASCII (Unicode) file?

Yes, an ASCII/Unicode file can be submitted to the Clearinghouse as long as it adheres to the required layout.

25. Can a local government entity get its data returned in the Client application software system so it can be installed at the local government and be fully operational?

Yes, the Clearinghouse can import our data entry work into our software.

26. Can a local government entity request changes to the Client application system?

Yes, the Clearinghouse encourages requests for improvements to the Client system making the system perform as much as possible in your agencies efforts to collect these delinquent debts.

27. How does a local government entity know that the data it sends to the Clearinghouse is received?

The Clearinghouse sends an automated electronic mail message to the local government entity.

28. How does a local government entity know that there is a file from the Clearinghouse after a setoff process was run at the NC Department of Revenue?

The Clearinghouse sends an electronic mail message to the local government entity. The message will have the instructions about accessing the file and updating the local government's computer system.