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How to Find Out if My Federal Tax Refund Will Be Offset

Updated on January 30, 2017
Call the IRS directly to find out whether your federal tax refund will be taken as a result of debt or owed child support.
Call the IRS directly to find out whether your federal tax refund will be taken as a result of debt or owed child support.

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

When Can a Tax Refund 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

How Can I Find Out if My 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.

2017 Tax Return Delay

This year for the first time, the IRS will be delaying tax returns for those claiming the earned income credit and child tax credit. The Irs has decided to put a hold on these tax return in hopes it can cut down on all those defrauding the government. You may file your tax return at any time prior but it will not be processed untill February 15th 2017.

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    • profile image

      Perry 2 weeks ago

      How long does it take if you you owe childsupport before the fund are release to the child, once the father receive letter.

    • profile image

      Sean Colemon 3 weeks ago

      I called the offset line daily. It kept saying no offset was showing under my social security I provided.. I went to check my refund status, but it said my taxes was taken for past tax obligation.. Is the number not updated

    • profile image

      Eddie 7 weeks ago

      My wife has had student loans for years. I call offset nunber and says no non tax debt. What does that mean

    • profile image

      Dawn Furton 7 weeks ago

      Want to know if my income tax was withheld?

    • profile image

      Nique 2 months ago

      I haven't filed yet but I was recently cleared with the collection agency for my student loan but the offset hotline is still showing show possible offset in system how long does it take to update

    • profile image

      michelle barraza 2 months ago

      my taxes are being offset for $400.00 how long will they hold the rest of my taxes

    • profile image

      Anonymous 2 months ago

      Can they tax refund after 7 years for unemployment

    • profile image

      Megan 3 months ago

      I have no debt to the IRS yet I was informed that they took my refund for a debt. The phone number is having technical difficulties

    • profile image

      Angel Hunter 3 months ago

      My state check is being offset for an old bill will that delay my federal return ?

    • profile image

      Anonymous 3 months ago

      I have a question. The department of ed took my federal income tax refund but,will they also take my state refund?

    • profile image

      Amy 3 months ago

      I owe student loans and was told they didnt send me a letter out so its a possibility they may or may not taken my taxes. I filed on the 1st just checked wheres my refund and it says still processing but with no error code does this mean they took them or they arent taking them?

    • profile image

      took my refund 3 months ago

      if you called the offset telephone number before you filed your return and said no offsets at the current time and not even a week later my whole refund is going to be taken all but 104 bucks. help, thing is it was 2013 they say and I'm I wasn't working and a dependent on married filing together. Ive been separated since 2014 and needed every penny of this refund. what do you do

    • profile image

      Becca 3 months ago

      If I owe back child support can they take it out my tax refund?

    • profile image

      Kym 3 months ago

      How long after owing student loans will IRS offset refund ??

    • profile image

      Jlj3007 3 months ago

      I had a wage garnishment on my payroll for student loan and I recently got let go from my job about 4 months ago, I paid a total of 1000 dollars over 4 months of the wage attachment, will the IRS stay with my refund? Or because I was having payment taken from my check will I be lucky and revive my refund??

    • profile image

      unkown 3 months ago

      Can you get a rapid refund, if you owe child support?

    • profile image

      Kc 3 months ago

      So if I owe state taxes from a 1099 and I just received letter in 2016 will they take my 2017 refund

    • kmackey32 profile image
      Author

      kmackey32 3 months ago from Pittsburgh PA

      It is possible, keep checking the number, debts are added daily.

    • kmackey32 profile image
      Author

      kmackey32 3 months ago from Pittsburgh PA

      So far, it will not be taken but debts are added daily so check back when you file your tax return.

    • profile image

      Latonya 3 months ago

      I made arrangements to pay taxes owed. Will they still take my refund for federal?

    • profile image

      Logan Smith 3 months ago

      Im on federal Probation. And owe restitution. When I called that number it states that I could be off set but I pay monthly... will they take all my money

    • profile image

      Deshawn 3 months ago

      If my wages are being garnished already will my taxes still be taken from me.

    • profile image

      MPM 3 months ago

      Author says "You will receive a notice, however, to let you know that your refund will be offset." A notice from who, exactly?

    • profile image

      Erin 3 months ago

      They will take all of your taxes for any child support you owe up to the total of your refund...so if you owe 2000 in child support and your refund is 2055 you will get 55 refund

    • profile image

      stacey 4 months ago

      hello. i have a question about child support. When i get my income tax will child support take it all, or a percentage? so how can i find out?

    • profile image

      KKING3 5 months ago

      ITS SAYS NO Information at the time. what does that mean

    • kmackey32 profile image
      Author

      kmackey32 15 months ago from Pittsburgh PA

      Ahkron yes that means they will take your return to cover the debt

    • profile image

      Jeremy 15 months ago

      How do I no for sure will take my taxes

    • profile image

      Darlene 15 months ago

      Well I don't owe anything but my spouse does and all it said there is a current debt for his social security number.

    • profile image

      dupree 15 months ago

      @Arteclea Damn! I strongly agree with didnt think of that but too late allready call so ill have to wait and see

    • profile image

      ahkorin 16 months ago

      I owe student loans and when I call the number, it says it found a debt and could be offset, this means they will take it right?

    • profile image

      parks88 17 months ago

      its says the information is not available at this time, what does that mean?

    • profile image

      jess 2 years ago

      It has been almost two months since I filed still no refund it still says being processed I have not gotten any letters emails or anything saying they took them when I call this number it says I have one payment that could make it offset but it don't equal what my TAxes equal

    • profile image

      Queen 2 years ago

      You can speak to an actual person by choosing the option of asking another question about your federal return. Just don't choose the option to know if your federal refund has been or will be offset, it will only take you to automated system for answer . I choose other option and speak to someone

    • kmackey32 profile image
      Author

      kmackey32 2 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      Thats awesome cjd....Just to let everyone know, this is legit. I have been calling this number for years to make sure my taxes are not taken and nothing has ever happened to me by giving my social security number. It is the Treasury Departments actual phone number....

    • profile image

      Cjd 2 years ago

      I called last year and they said it would be taken and it wasn't...

    • profile image

      Danie 2 years ago

      I called it said no offset, but the where's my refund website said it was offset. I'm so confused as to what happened and where to find correct information on this topic.

    • profile image

      christy 2 years ago

      how accurate is this system? it said i do not have any debts at this time. can i count on that?

    • profile image

      Paul Davidson 2 years ago

      Nice post. It is such an informative article. BTW, if anyone needs to fill out a form tax forms, I found a blank forms in this site PDFfiller. This site also has some tutorials on how to fill it out and a tons of fillable tax forms that you might find useful. Here is a link to the blank form that I was able to fill out http://goo.gl/0AYkmQ.

    • kmackey32 profile image
      Author

      kmackey32 3 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      It tells you if your taxes will be offset or default. That means your taxes will be taken.

    • kmackey32 profile image
      Author

      kmackey32 3 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      Arteclea, the number is to find out if your tax return will be taken if you owe child support or a federal loan. It is an automated service. It doesn't matter if you have filed yet and you will not beable to tell them because it is an automated service, no one will answer for you to beable to tell them anything.

    • profile image

      Arteclea 3 years ago

      If you call the number listed in your article, do you then alert them that you are filing/have file just by calling? After all you do give your ss# and they tend to track you by that. Thoughts?

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