The Department of Treasury's Financial Management Service (FMS), which issues IRS tax refunds, has been authorized by Congress to conduct the Treasury Offset Program. Through this program, your Federal tax refund, or the overpayment you asked us to apply to next year's estimated tax, may be reduced by FMS and offset to pay any past–due child support, Federal agency non–tax debts, or state income tax obligations you may owe.
An offset will not occur until the IRS has verified your overpayment amount and either certifies the refund for payment by FMS or applies the overpayment as a credit to your estimated tax. As a result, the IRS cannot determine before certifying your refund or making the credit whether an offset will be made. If you owe a past due child support, Federal agency non–tax debt, or state income tax obligations, you should contact the agency you owe to determine if your debt was submitted for tax refund offset. If your debt was submitted to FMS for offset, as much of your refund as is needed to pay off the debt will be taken by FMS and sent to the agency you owe. Any portion of your overpayment remaining after offset will be issued in a check, direct deposited, or credited to next year's estimated tax as you requested.
FMS will send you a notice if an offset occurs. The notice identifies your original refund amount, your offset amount, the agency receiving the payment, and the address and telephone number of the agency. The IRS will not be informed of the agency receiving the offset but FMS will notify us of the amount taken from your refund. You should contact the agency shown on the notice if you believe you do not owe the debt or you are disputing the amount taken from your refund. You should contact the IRS only if your original refund amount shown on the FMS offset notice differs from the refund amount shown on your tax return.
If you filed a joint return and you're not responsible for the debt, but you are entitled to a portion of the refund because you reported income, payments, or credits on the return, you may request your portion of the refund by filing Form 8379 (PDF), Injured Spouse Claim Allocation. You may attach Form 8379 to your original Form 1040 (PDF), Form 1040A (PDF), or Form 1040EZ (PDF) or file it by itself after you are notified of an offset. If you file a Form 8379 with your return, write "INJURED SPOUSE" at the top left corner of the Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ. Because the IRS will process your claim before an offset occurs, filing Form 8379 with your original return may delay your refund by 6 to 8 weeks.
If you are filing Form 8379 by itself, it must show both spouses' social security numbers in the same order as they appeared on your income tax return. You, the "injured" spouse, must sign the form. Please follow the instructions on Form 8379 carefully and be sure to attach the required forms to avoid delays. Send Form 8379 to the Service Center where you filed your original return. Please allow at least 8 weeks for IRS to process your claim. We will compute the injured spouse's share of the joint return for you. If you lived in a community property state during the tax year, we will divide the joint refund based upon state law.
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