If you owe money
because of certain delinquent debts, the IRS or the Department
of Treasury's Financial Management Service (FMS), which issues
IRS tax refunds, can offset or reduce your federal tax refund or
withhold the entire amount to satisfy the debt.
Here are seven
important facts to know about tax refund offsets:
If you owe
federal or state income taxes your refund will be offset to
pay those taxes. If you had other debt such as child support
or student loan debt that was submitted for offset, FMS will
take as much of your refund as is needed to pay off the
debt, and send it to the agency authorized to collect the
debt. Any portion of your refund remaining after an offset
will be refunded to you.
You will receive
a notice if an offset occurs. The notice will reflect the
original refund amount, your offset amount, the agency
receiving the payment, and the address and telephone number
of the agency.
contact the agency shown on the notice if you believe you do
not owe the debt or you are disputing the amount taken from
If you filed a
joint return and you're not responsible for the debt, but
you are entitled to a portion of the refund, you may request
your portion of the refund by filing IRS Form 8379, Injured
Spouse Allocation. Attach Form 8379 to your original Form
1040, Form 1040A, or Form 1040EZ or file it by itself after
you are notified of an offset.
If you file a
Form 8379 with your return, write "INJURED SPOUSE" at the
top left corner of the Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ. IRS will
process your allocation request before an offset occurs.
If you are
filing Form 8379 by itself, it must show both spouses'
social security numbers in the same order as they appeared
on your income tax return. You, the "injured" spouse, must
sign the form. Do not attach the previously filed Form 1040
to the Form 8379. Send Form 8379 to the Service Center where
you filed your original return.
The IRS will
compute the injured spouse's share of the joint return for
you. Contact the IRS only if your original refund amount
shown on the FMS offset notice differs from the refund
amount shown on your tax return.
instructions on Form 8379 carefully and be sure to attach the
required forms to avoid delays. If a notice is not received
contact the Financial Management Service at 800–304–3107, Monday
through Friday from 7:30AM to 5 PM (Central Time).
For assistance with
completing Form 8379, call the IRS toll-free number