Tax season is here, and for many Texans, it’s a time of eagerly awaiting a much-needed boost to finances. However, if you have outstanding child support payments, your potential tax refund might not make it into your bank account.

The reality is, the IRS can intercept your tax refund to cover past-due child support under the Treasury Offset Program.

What is the Treasury Offset Program?

Here’s a common scenario: Jenna, a single mom in Dallas, works tirelessly to provide for her two young children. Despite a court-ordered child support agreement, their father, Marcus, consistently falls behind on payments. Jenna struggles to make ends meet, and tax season becomes a beacon of hope.

When Marcus files his taxes, he discovers the IRS has seized his entire refund to pay towards back child support.

This scenario is all too common. The Treasury Offset Program allows state child support enforcement agencies to flag individuals with past-due child support. When the IRS processes tax returns, they check this database. If a match is found, your refund, or a portion of it, can be diverted to settle the child support debt.

How Does the Offset Process Work?

The process typically unfolds as follows:

  • The state child support enforcement agency reports your overdue payments to the federal government.
  • The IRS receives your tax return and checks it against the Treasury Offset Program database.
  • If a match is found, the IRS intercepts your refund, or a portion of it, depending on the amount owed.
  • The intercepted funds are sent to the state child support agency to be applied to your child support debt.
  • You will receive notification from the IRS explaining the offset and how much was taken.

Protecting Your Tax Refund

If you are facing the possibility of your tax refund being seized, here are some steps you can take:

  • Communicate with your child support agency: Contact them to discuss your situation and explore options for resolving the back payments. There may be payment plans available to help you catch up.
  • File an Injured Spouse Claim: If you are married and filing jointly, but only your spouse owes child support, you may be eligible to file an Injured Spouse Claim with the IRS. This helps protect a portion of your refund.
  • Seek legal guidance: An experienced Texas family law attorney like Gregg Lundberg can advise you on your legal rights and help you navigate the process of contesting the offset or negotiating a payment plan with the child support agency.

Don’t Wait Until Tax Season

The best course of action is to be proactive and address any outstanding child support issues before tax season arrives. By taking steps early on, you can avoid the financial hardship of having your tax refund seized.

Have More Questions?

If you have concerns about your child support obligations or suspect the IRS might intercept your tax refund, contact experienced Texas family law attorney Gregg Lundberg today. We can help you understand your options and protect your financial security. Don’t let back child support payments become a tax season nightmare. Schedule a consultation now or call us at 972-775-3500 to discuss your situation.

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