Law & Legal & Attorney Children Law

IRS & Back Child Support

    Significance

    • Financial Management Services (FMS), an arm of the Department of Treasury, is responsible for collecting your refund and forwarding it to the office of Health and Human Services (HHS). Once at HHS, the portion of your refund taken to pay child support will be sent to the child support enforcement office in the state where you owe back child support.

    How It Works

    • Taxpayers who are set to have their refunds offset to pay back child support will receive a letter in the mail from FMS. The letter will provide the taxpayer with the name and state of the agency requesting the back child support, the amount of the original refund as well as the amount by which the refund will be reduced. If you have additional questions, the phone number for FMS, (800) 304-3107, is listed on the notice.

    Considerations

    • The role of FMS in collecting back child support is limited. FMS is not responsible for determining the validity of the request or the accuracy of the amount of back child support requested, but only for intercepting and forwarding funds. If you believe that FMS erroneously offset your refund, or that the amount collected was incorrect, contact your local child support enforcement office.

    Warning

    • If you file a joint return and your spouse owes back child support, then the refund will be offset in the amount of back child support owed by your spouse. You can request that your portion of the refund be sent back to you by filing IRS Form 8379. The form can be downloaded at the IRS website or ordered by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM.

    Early Resolution

    • There is no need to wait until your refund has already been intercepted by FMS to learn that your refund has been flagged for back child support. You can call the IRS at (800) 829-1040 and they can tell you whether there is a debt indicator on your account. A debt indicator indicates that a federal or state agency has flagged your future refund(s) to be offset.

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