By: Gary M. DellaPosta, CPA
Certain financial debts from your past may affect your current federal tax refund. The law allows the use of part or all of your federal tax refund to pay other federal or state debts that you owe.
Here are six facts that you should know about tax refund 'offsets.'
1. A tax refund offset generally means that the U.S. Treasury has reduced your federal tax refund to pay for certain unpaid debts.
2. The Treasury Department's Financial Management Service (FMS) is the agency that issues tax refunds and conducts the Treasury Offset Program.
3. If you have unpaid debts, such as overdue child support, state income tax or student loans, FMS may apply part or all of your tax refund to pay that debt.
4. You will receive a notice from FMS if an offset occurs. The notice will include the original tax refund amount and your offset amount. It will also include the agency receiving the offset payment and that agency's contact information.
5. If you believe that you do not owe the debt or you want to dispute the amount taken from your refund, you should contact the agency that received the offset amount, not the IRS or FMS.
6. If you filed a joint tax return, you may be entitled to part or all of the refund offset. This rule applies if your spouse is solely responsible for the debt.
If you need to request your part of a refund, you can file Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation, for you.
Gary DellaPosta is a CPA and founder of the firm: Gary M DellaPosta, CPA's & Business Advisors. A graduate of Bryant
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