Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Federal Income Tax Intercept          back to main FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


 
Can federal income tax refunds be offset for past due child support?

Yes, federal law allows for offsets of federal income tax refunds on past due support owed. The Federal Tax Refund Offset Program collects past due child support from the tax refunds of parents who have been ordered to pay child support. This program is a cooperative effort between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), and the state’s child support office, the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS). 

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Does a form need to be signed to start the tax intercept process?

No, a form does not need to be filled out to start the tax intercept process. All IV-D cases (cases with DCSS) that meet the criteria are automatically submitted to the IRS.

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What are the criteria for a case to be submitted for an IRS refund?

The submission requirements when the arrears are owed to the family: The past due child support is over $500, and it has been overdue for more than three months; The submission requirements when arrears are owed to the State (cash assistance has been provided to the family): The past due child support is over $150, and it has been overdue for more than three months. 

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Why is tax refund money that is owed to the State paid first before money that is owed to the family?

Federal distribution rules require that money received through federal tax intercept be applied first to arrears owed the state. If any child support arrearages are owed to the state for assistance payments made to the family, that money has to be repaid first before money that is owed to the family is repaid.

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Under what circumstances would tax refund money not be intercepted for child support arrearages that are owed? 

Taxes would not be collected from a parent who owes child support but has not filed for taxes with the IRS. If the parent is not due a refund, there would not be a collection from the IRS.

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Under what circumstances would a tax refund not apply to the arrears balance right away? 

If a noncustodial parent's (NCP) joint tax return is intercepted by the IRS, the federal government allows DCSS to hold the return for up to 180 days before disbursing the money to the custodial parent (CP). At any time, the noncustodial parent's spouse may make a claim with the IRS for the return of their portion of the intercepted return.

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How can a dispute be made regarding the interception of an IRS tax refund? 

Under Arizona statutes, the obligated party may request an administrative review with DCSS. Documentation must be provided to support the arrears balance dispute along with the request within the statutory timeframe. Written advanced notices called Pre-Offset notices are mailed to the obligated party each October and includes the procedures and timeframes on requesting an administrative review. A request for an administrative review form can be obtained by contacting DCSS Customer Service at 602-252-4045; or can be located on the Applications and Forms Web page.

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What can a spouse who made some of the money that was intercepted do to get his or her share that was taken?

The spouse is entitled to get back the portion of the refund that belongs to him or her. The injured spouse must file an injured spouse claim with the IRS. Please contact the IRS or tax preparer to obtain the proper forms.

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