What do the courts need to do in order to process refunds for violations of offenses that were not included in the Model Traffic Ordinance (MTO)?

Once a local jurisdiction has dismissed one or more cases because of the failure to update the MTO, that money was received on a violation, and that defendant is entitled to a refund, cases should be processed in the following manner

  • The court will submit the required documentation to the Department of Licensing (DOL).
  • DOL will reimburse the defendants directly for the amount the defendant paid on the violation.  

Note:  DOL will only reimburse the amount paid by a defendant on citations issued between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2010 for the cell phone related violations (RCW 46.61.667 and RCW 46.61.668), and between July 1, 2007 and July 19, 2010 for any other affected offense (see eService Answer, Model Traffic Ordinance not updated Frequently Asked Questions for a list of all affected offenses).  Refunds sent to defendants by the court for earlier offenses or for amounts greater than the amount that was originally paid by the defendant will not be refunded by DOL.  DOL will not refund Deferred Finding administrative costs.  DOL will also not refund FTA or Collection fees incurred by the defendant for failing to pay the original penalty timely. 

For courts that have NOT processed any reversals in JIS:

A new BOXI report has been created to help the courts gather the data needed to complete the invoice that needs to be sent to DOL.  The report outlines the case and person data for cases requiring refunds.  The report titled "MTO - DOL Refund Request Template" can be located in the Courts of Limited Jurisdiction Statewide Reports folder.  Run the report and save the results to your computer as an Excel spreadsheet.  See also eService Answer, Locate and run the MTO queries in BOXI for specific instructions on running and exporting the report.

Courts should review each case on the report to determine the amount the defendant paid on the charge and enter it in the "Amount" field in the spreadsheet.  If the court has decided to make all affected charges "Dismissed," the docket entries on the court's decision and the changes to the Finding/Judgment codes can be done at the same time. 

  • All cases charged under the affected RCWs will appear on the report. 
  • Courts need to determine how to handle open cases or cases with no payments made. 
  • Remove the cases that will not receive a refund from the spreadsheet, prior to submitting it to DOL.
  • Deferred Finding cases that were not successfully completed should be included in the report. However, DOL will ONLY refund the penalty amount paid by the defendant. 
  • DO NOT reverse previously received payments as this will affect your current month's remittance.  DOL will be doing all refunds, so there is no need to reverse the payments.
  • DO NOT enter any punctuation in the Amount field other than a decimal point to separate dollars and cents (i.e., 124.00, not $124.00).
  • Please do not change any other field or the column headers on the Excel spreadsheet as it is set up exactly as it is needed for DOL's use. 
  • Please review all entries in the Amount column before submitting the template to DOL.  Any items in the template with a typo in the Amount field will be removed from the payment process.  The court will have to be contacted by DOL to verify the amount, prior to the refund payment being issued, delaying the refund process.
  • Once the spreadsheet is completed, save a copy for the court's records and save a copy to submit electronically to DOL. 
  • The copy for submission to DOL must have the court ID followed by the date the file is being submitted as the file name.

    Example: Aberdeen Municipal Court submitting a template on September 1, 2010 would have the title ABM20100901

The two following documents must also be submitted electronically with the spreadsheet:

  1. A copy of the section of the ordinance adopting the MTO (not the entire ordinance); and
  2. An attestation from the court showing that all refund amounts to be issued by DOL are valid and correct for those violations issued between July 1, 2007 and July 19, 2010, and that the court has supporting documentation for each case listed in the template.

 All documentation and completed reports are to be submitted to DOL electronically through a secure file transfer protocol (FTP).  Limited access and location of the DOL site will be granted when the court contacts DOL Internal Applications Support staff and the DOL Comptroller by email.  The email to request access is: dolmto@dol.wa.gov

NOTE: COURTS THAT ARE ONLY SENDING REFUND REQUESTS WHEN A REQUEST IS MADE BY THE DEFENDANT MUST STILL RUN AND WORK THIS REPORT.   Also, a copy of the supporting documentation for each case should be kept for three years (i.e., copy of the citation and copy of the JIS docket).  Due to the age of some cases, they will likely be purged from JIS when the destruction of records run resumes again. In order to process refund requests over the next three years, the court must be able to certify that the court has the supporting documentation to verify the citation existed and that the amount in the amount paid field of the MTO report is correct.

The following process applies to courts that have already reversed payments in JIS and refunded money to the defendants:

1. Complete the same BOXI report process noted above (MTO - DOL Refund Request Template).  However, change the data in the following fields from defendant information to the court's information in order for the court to receive reimbursement for the payments:

  • v_name becomes the court name.
  • v_address 1 becomes the court address.
  • v_address 2 becomes blank or the court address line 2 if necessary.
  • v_city becomes the court's city name for mailing purposes.
  • v_state should be changed to WA if any other state is listed for a defendant.
  • v_zip becomes the court's zip code for mailing purposes.

2. Save a copy of the original report and the modified report for the court's records.  Send ONLY the modified copy to DOL.

3. Submit the completed template to DOL with the following THREE documents:

  • One completed IRS Form W9 for your court.
  • A copy of the section of the ordinance adopting the MTO (not the entire ordinance); and
  • An attestation from the court showing that all refunds issued are valid and correct for those violations issued between July 1, 2007 and July 19, 2010, and that the court has the supporting documentation for each case.
  • See eService Answer, Model Traffic Ordinance not updated Frequently Asked Questions, question 15, for detailed instructions on the required documentation.

When the reimbursement check is received from DOL:

4. On each case, adjust the Create A/R (CAR) screen to make the accounts receivable match the amount refunded to the defendant.

  • The original payment was made to the RCW and JTR/TBI Cost Fee Codes, the CAR screen should reflect the original split.  
  • If the defendant paid a reduced fine amount or the TBI fee was waived, the CAR should reflect the amount previously ordered, not the amount of the original citation. 
  • Use the Case Financial History (CFHS) screen, <F2> - Accounts Receivable (AR) Summary page to determine which codes received the original payments.

    If other charges exist on the case:

  • On cases previously paid in full:
    • During the reversal process the fine amount for the other charge(s) should have been re-receipted and the balance due for the charge(s) should be at zero.
    • Adjust the accounts receivable now to reflect the fines/costs due for ONLY the charge that was refunded.
  • On cases that have a balance remaining due on other charges:
    • During the reversal process the amount paid for the other charge(s) should have been re-receipted, but the
      charge(s) may still have a balance due.
    • Print-screen the Create A/R (CAR) screen showing the remaining amount due.
    • Adjust the accounts receivable now to reflect the fines/costs due for ONLY the charge that was refunded and complete Step 5.

5. Re-receipt the appropriate fine/cost amount on the Receipt Payment (RCP) screen.

  • List DOL as the Payor of the payment.
  • Use the DOL check number.
  • The payment should pay the case in full.
  • If other charges exist on the case:  Use the print-screen of the Create A/R (CAR) screen to recreate the balance due on the remaining charge(s).

6. Docket that the reimbursement was received from DOL.

7. Close the case using Case Disposition (CSD) screen.

Additional Helpful Hints:

  • Print and keep a copy of the DOL Reimbursement Excel document with the reversed receipts and any reapplied receipts attached. 
  • Total the spreadsheet to verify the reimbursement amount requested from DOL. 
  • When the reimbursement check is received, attach a copy of the check to verify the entire amount was received.
  • Attach a copy of each reimbursement payment to the documentation.  Total the receipts to confirm they match the total of the received check from DOL.
  • Keep all documentation with your monthly audit reports.

RN id: 2175