The Department of Treasury’s Financial Management Service (FMS), which issues IRS tax refunds, has been authorized by Congress to conduct the Treasury Offset Program.
Your refund or overpayment may be reduced by BFS and offset to pay:
- Past-due child support;
- Federal agency non-tax debts;
- State income tax obligations; or
- Certain unemployment compensation debts owed to a state. (Generally, these are debts for (1) compensation that was paid due to fraud, or (2) for contributions owing to a state fund that were not paid due to fraud).
Failure to Pay Child Support, Federal Non–Tax and State Income Tax Obligations
The Treasury Offset Program is a centralized offset program, administered by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service’s Debt Management Services (DMS), to collect delinquent debts owed to federal agencies and states (including past-due child support), in accordance with 26 U.S.C. § 6402(d) (collection of debts owed to federal agencies), 31 U.S.C. § 3720A (reduction of tax refund by amount of the debts), and other applicable laws.
You can contact the agency with which you have a debt, to determine if your debt was submitted for a tax refund offset. If your debt 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 you owe. Any portion of your refund remaining after offset will be issued in a check to you or direct deposited for you.
FMS will send you 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. FMS will notify the IRS of the amount taken from your refund. Contact the agency shown on the notice if you believe you do not owe the debt or you are disputing the amount taken from your refund. If a notice is not received contact 800–304–3107 or TDD 866–297–0517. The available hours are Monday through Friday 7:30AM to 5:00PM CT. Spanish speaking assistors are available Monday through Friday 12:30PM to 5:00PM CT. 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.
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 Form 8379 (PDF), Injured Spouse Allocation. Attach Form 8379 to your original Form 1040 (PDF), Form 1040A (PDF), or Form 1040EZ (PDF) 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 file Form 8379 with your original return, it may take 11 weeks for Electronic Filed returns or up to 14 weeks from the date of filing if you file a paper return, to process your return.
Filing Form 8379
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. Follow the instructions on Form 8379 carefully and be sure to attach the required forms to avoid delays. 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. Allow at least 8 weeks for IRS to process your allocation request. We will compute the injured spouse’s share of the joint return for you. If you lived in a community property state during the tax year, we will divide the joint refund based upon state law. For additional information, FMS can be reached at 800–304–3107.