1997 Tax Help Archives  

Failure to Pay Child Support and Other Federal Obligations

This is archived information that pertains only to the 1997 Tax Year. If you
are looking for information for the current tax year, go to the Tax Prep Help Area.

Your tax refund may not be refunded to you if you are delinquent in child support payments or you have a past due Federal debt (such as a student loan). Under the law, State and Federal agencies refer names of taxpayers who are behind in their support payments, taxes and loans to the IRS so that their refund may be used to pay debts owed.

Before a refund can be issued to you, the IRS must determine if you owe any federal taxes from prior years. Your refund would first be applied to any unpaid federal taxes; any remaining amount would be applied to any delinquent child support, state taxes and other federal debts. The money would be sent to the agency that reported your past due debt.

You will receive a notice from the IRS if your refund is applied against your past due debt. The notice will give you the amount of your total refund, the amount that has been applied to your past due debt, and the name, address and telephone number of the agency that received the money. If there is any refund remaining after the debt has been satisfied, you will receive a check (or have the amount applied to your estimated tax) about the same time you receive the notice. If you disagree with the amount taken from your refund, you should contact the agency at the telephone number shown at the top right corner of the notice.

If you are married and filed a joint return and both of you had income and payments reported on the return, the spouse who did not owe the debt may request his or her share of the joint refund. If this situation applies to you, you must file Form 8379, Injured Spouse Claim and Allocation, to recover your share of the joint refund. Form 8379 may be obtained by calling 1-800-829-3676. The Form 8379 must show the social security numbers of both spouses in the same order as they appeared on the original return. Your Form 8379 must indicate how any income, deductions, exemptions, payments and credits should be divided between you and your spouse. You must furnish this information before any adjustment can be made. The Form 8379 must be signed by the injured spouse, that is, the spouse that did not owe the debt. Send your completed form to the service center where you filed your original tax return. To expedite your request, attach a copy of your W-2 Forms, Form 1040 Schedule C and any estimated payments you made.

The service center will figure the injured spouse share of the joint refund. In community property states, IRS must divide the joint refund according to state law. If you have not yet filed your original federal income tax return, the non-obligated spouse may obtain his or her portion of the joint refund by filing Form 8379 with the original income tax return. Attach Form 8379 to the back of the Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ. Write "INJURED SPOUSE" at the top left of the Form 1040, 1040A,or 1040EZ.

All matters concerning your liability for the debt must be referred to the agency where the obligation is owed. Only that agency has the authority to make any determinations concerning your obligation. IRS applies your refund only at the agency's request.

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