Tax refunds can be seized when you owe back taxes or have other types of debt, such as student loans. You’ll need to talk to the agency responsible for collecting your debt in order to resolve the issue and start getting your tax refund checks again.
IRS Tax Debts
The IRS can take your tax refund checks and apply them to your delinquent tax debt balance. Even when you’ve negotiated a tax resolution, such as an installment agreement or Offer in Compromise, the IRS may continue to offset your tax refunds and apply them towards your balance.
The only way to make sure you start getting your tax refunds again is to pay off your balance is full. Otherwise, you can adjust your withholdings or estimated tax payments so that you’ll pay less in taxes throughout the year and get a smaller refund.
The Treasury Offset Program (TOP) allows other government agencies to seize your tax refund. Your refund may be offset if you owe any of the following debts:
- State tax debt
- Federal agency non-tax debt, such as federal student loans
- Unpaid child support
- Some unemployment compensation debts
You should receive a notice that tells you which agency is getting your tax refund money. You’ll have to contact this agency to resolve the issue because the IRS doesn’t administer the TOP.
Spouse’s Pre-Marriage Tax Debts
Your joint tax refund can be seized if your spouse has debts incurred before you were married. The IRS won’t be able to determine which portion of the refund belongs to you or your spouse, respectively, so they’ll just take the whole thing.
You can get around this problem by filing an Injured Spouse Allocation. This form tells the IRS how much of the refund is allocated to your income and other tax items. You’ll receive your portion of the refund, but your spouse’s portion will still be seized and applied to his or her debts.
File this form along with your tax return to prevent a refund offset. If your joint refund has already been offset because of your spouse’s pre-marriage debts, you can still file the injured spouse form and wait for the IRS to send you your tax refund.
The Gartzman Law Firm can help you resolve your tax debt so you start getting your tax refunds checks again. Use our contact form to request a consultation with an Atlanta tax resolution attorney.