How to Find Out if My Federal Tax Refund Will Be Offset
When tax season rolls around, many taxpayers are surprised to find out that they will not receive the refund that they have coming to them. If you owe money on a student loan, child support, or for past state or federal taxes, your refund may be "offset," or withheld by the IRS. The entire refund or just part of it may be held.
Here is information about when a refund can be offset and how to find out whether this may happen to you.
When a Refund Can Be Withheld
The Department of Treasury's Bureau of the Fiscal Service is the agency that issues IRS tax refunds. Refunds can be withheld however in order to pay:
- Past-due child and parent support.
- Federal agency non-tax debts.
- State income tax obligations.
- Certain unemployment compensation debts owed to a state.
If you owe money to a federal government agency, you can call it directly to find out if your refund will be used to pay your debt.
You will receive a notice, however, to let you know that your refund will be offset. The notice will show your original refund amount, your offset amount, the agency that the offset was paid to, and its address and telephone number. If you receive this notice and have questions, contact that agency directly.
To Find Out Whether Your Refund Will Be Offset
Call the Bureau of the Fiscal Service directly at this toll-free number, (800) 304-3107.
- Listen to the prerecorded message and do as instructed. Do not call on someone else's behalf, as this is a criminal offense.
- You will need to enter your social security number when prompted. The BFS will search its database to see if there is an offset against your debt. Write down any information provided, including the creditor agency so you can call with any additional questions.
- If you are married and file jointly, and your spouse's refund will be offset, you may be entitled to your part of the refund. To find out, file an Injured Spouse Allocation form, or form 8379. For more information about this process, call (800) 304-3107.