If you’ve failed to pay child support, the government may take special measures to obtain your child support arrears from you. One of these measures is to seize your IRS tax refund to cover your overdue payments.
However, missing one or two child support payments does not necessarily mean that the IRS will seize your tax refunds. Read on to learn the answer to “Will the IRS take my refund for child support?” Then contact our team at Levy & Associates to receive tailored tax assistance.
Treasury Offset Program
The federal Treasury Offset Program is a program from the Bureau of the Fiscal Service to collect past-due payments from citizens. This program permits state child support enforcement agencies to alert the U.S. Treasury Department about overdue child support payments. The Treasury Department can then seize an individual’s federal tax refunds and other federal charges to cover their outstanding child support.
When the IRS prepares to send out tax refunds, it first checks these payments against the Treasury Offset Program database. This database keeps track of individuals who have past-due debts.
If the Treasury Department finds that you owe past-due debts, it will withhold all or part of your tax refund to help pay off this debt through the Treasury Offset Program. In this case, you will receive a letter from the IRS specifying how much of your payment the Treasury Department will withhold.
When Will IRS Take My Refund For Child Support
The IRS will not seize your tax refund if you only owe a few dollars in child support. Instead, your case must meet one of these requirements to qualify for the Treasury Offset Program.
- If the recipient of your child support receives state benefits, you must owe at least $150 in child support to qualify.
- If the recipient does not receive state benefits, you must owe at least $500 to qualify.
If your situation meets one of these minimum amounts, you will receive a notice from the Treasury Offset Program. If you owe other qualifying debts, you will receive a separate notice about each, allowing you to contest each debt individually if desired.
How to Avoid an IRS Tax Refund Seizure
You can take a few measures to avoid an IRS tax refund seizure altogether. The most critical step is ensuring that you make all child support and debt payments on time and in their total amounts.
If you realize you have missed child support payments, don’t simply ignore them. Paying off your past-due child support as soon as possible can prevent refund seizure and any other penalties that come with missing child support.
You can also avoid seizures by keeping your child support debt below the minimum amounts indicated in the previous section.
What To Do When You Receive a Tax Refund Seizure Notice
If you have received a refund seizure notice in the mail, you have a few options.
First, you may believe that you have received this notice in error. In this case, you can attempt to challenge the government’s claim by calling the number indicated on your IRS letter. You will need to present a solid defense to challenge these claims adequately.
If the IRS notice of tax refund is not in error and you are married to someone who owes arrears, you can consider filing an “Injured Spouse Allocation” form. If this form is successful, the IRS may remove your tax refund seizure.
At Levy & Associates, we know the ins and outs of IRS tax refund seizures and the Treasury Offset Program. We can help you understand your options following a tax refund seizure notice and prevent future refund seizures.
Need help with an IRS issue?” contact us today at 800-TAX-LEVY to schedule an appointment with our tax experts.