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Federal Withholdings & Offsets FAQ


Tax Refund Offset

The amount of my federal payment (e.g., income tax refund) has been reduced ("offset"). Why?

If an individual owes money to the federal government because of a delinquent debt, the Treasury Department can offset that individual's federal payment or withhold the entire amount to satisfy the debt. The debtor is notified in advance of any offset action to be taken. Individuals may call (800) 304-3107 with questions about a delinquent debt.

My spouse and I filed a joint tax return and our refund was offset for a debt that my spouse owes. What must I do to receive my portion of the refund?

Complete IRS Form 8379, which you can obtain by calling the IRS toll-free at (800) 829-3676 or by downloading the form from the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8379.pdf. For assistance with completing the form, call your local IRS office or the IRS toll-free number (800) 829-1040.

I have already filed an IRS Form 8379; however, my portion of the joint refund was offset to collect my spouse's debt. Whom should I contact to receive my portion of the refund?

Call the IRS toll-free number (800) 829-1040.

Related Resources

  • Treasury Offset Program Call Center
    (800) 304-3107, or for International Calls click here
  • Internal Revenue Service
    (800) 829-1040
    IRS Form 8379

*Child-Support Enforcement

My ex-spouse owes child support. What is the Treasury Offset Program (TOP) and how can it assist me with payment collection?

If your ex-spouse is a federal payment recipient, the TOP allows the state to offset certain types of federal payments in order to collect the delinquent child support owed. Contact your state or local child-support enforcement office to determine whether federal payments to your ex-spouse can be offset through TOP.

For additional information contact the Department of Health and Human Services Office Child-Support Enforcement at 202-401-9373.

My payment was reduced, but I do not owe any debt to the United States, and I do not owe any past-due child support. What should I do?

Contact the federal or state agency collecting the debt, which is listed in the notice you received.

If you need information about whom to contact, call the Treasury Offset Program Call Center toll-free at 800-304-3107.

If your debt has been paid in full, or if you do not owe a debt, the federal agency that authorized Fiscal Service to collect the debt is responsible for returning any part of your payment that should not have been taken from you.

My federal payment was reduced two months ago for delinquent child support. The state has not received the money. Where is it?

Funds collected by the Treasury from your federal payment are sent to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the federal liaison office with the states on child-support enforcement. HHS disburses the funds to the states. To obtain information on the status of a support payment, you should request the state to contact HHS directly.

* PLEASE NOTE: The Fiscal Service's role in child-support enforcement is limited to operation of the Treasury Offset Program whereby, certain federal payments, including federal tax refunds, can be offset to collect delinquent child support obligations. You can seek assistance from your State child-support enforcement agency or from the Office of Child-Support Enforcement (OCSE). Part of the Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families, OCSE assists State governments in operating and managing their child-support programs effectively and in conforming with federal requirements.

Related Resources:

Return to Index of Frequently Asked Questions.



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