Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Recovery Rebate Credit and the Treasury Offset Program (TOP)
The Recovery Rebate Credit is authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020, and the COVID-related Tax Relief Act, signed into law on December 27, 2020. The Recovery Rebate Credit was eligible to be paid in two rounds of advance payments during 2020 and early 2021. These advanced payments of the Recovery Rebate Credit are referred to as Economic Impact Payments.
TOP, which collects delinquent federal and state debts, has prepared the following frequently asked questions (FAQs) to address debtor inquiries regarding whether and to what extent the advance payments of the Recovery Rebate Credit (i.e., the Economic Impact Payments) can be offset.
Economic Impact Payments under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021:
No, the Economic Impact Payments, authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, are not subject to offset for any reason through TOP.
Economic Impact Payments under the CARES Act:
The Economic Impact Payment under the CARES Act can be offset through TOP only to collect delinquent child support obligations that have been referred by the state to TOP.
Your entire Economic Impact Payment authorized by the CARES Act can be offset, up to the amount of your child support debt.
If you are receiving your Economic Impact Payment Payment authorized by the CARES Act jointly with your spouse and only the spouse owes the child support debt, you can file an injured spouse form with the IRS. Please visit the IRS website at https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-8379 to file your claim.
If you have questions regarding whether you owe a child support debt that has been referred to TOP, you can call the TOP Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system at 800-304-3107.
Recovery Rebate Credits under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the CARES Act:
If you are eligible for a refund of your 2020 income tax, the amount you receive for the recovery rebate credit will be included as part of your 2020 tax refund. It will not be issued separately.
For more information about the recovery rebate credit, please visit IRS’s website at www.irs.gov/newsroom/recovery-rebate-credit-topic-e-receiving-the-credit
If you owe debts to the United States or certain state agencies, your 2020 tax refund may be reduced to pay those debts.
For general information about tax refund offset, please visit our TOP webpage at https://fiscal.treasury.gov/top/.
These questions, and others, can be answered by visiting the IRS website at www.irs.gov/newsroom/recovery-rebate-credit and www.irs.gov/newsroom/economic-impact-payments-what-you-need-to-know.
During this time, TOP will continue to collect all certified delinquent nontax and state debts through TOP from all eligible payments. For debts that remain active for collection in TOP, offsets will continue until a debt has been paid in full or until we have been directed by the federal agency or state to stop offsets.
If you have questions about the collection of your federal tax debt, please visit IRS at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus.
A full list of payments that are exempt from offset are available at https://fiscal.treasury.gov/files/dms/dmexmpt.pdf.
TOP’s IVR at 800-304-3107 can provide you with information about what debts remain subject to collection through TOP.
If you are experiencing a financial hardship due to COVID-19, or for other reasons, you should contact the federal agency or state to which the debt is owed to discuss any options that may be available. TOP’s IVR at 800-304-3107 can provide you with the direct contact information for the federal agency or state the debt is owed to.
For more information on the Treasury Offset Program, please visit our website at www.fiscal.treasury.gov/TOP.