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Will your tax refund be lower than expected?

If you owe back child support in Virginia, you may end up with a surprise when you get your tax refund this year. The child support office can petition to have all or part of your refund taken to pay the child support you have past due. According to the IRS, the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, which pays refunds, will withhold money for agencies, like child support

You may not know until your refund comes and is smaller than anticipated that child support was taken out. However, you can contact the child support office to see if your refund will be taken. Plus, the BFS will send you a notice that explains what amount was taken, why it was taken and who took it. 

You really have no recourse to get your money back or stop the refund from being taken. However, if you are married and your spouse also earned income, then he or she may be able to get some of the money taken back. This is because your spouse is not responsible for your debt. 

Getting the money back requires filing for injured spouse status on Form 8379. This form can be filed when you file your taxes if you know owe back support payments to protect your spouse's portion of the refund from being taken. It can also be filed after you receive the notice of the offset. Do note all offsets are handled by the BFS and not the IRS, so contacting the IRS will not result in anything being done in regards to your refund. This information is for education and is not legal advice.  

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Jeffrey A. Vogelman and Associates
124 South Royal Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

Phone: 703-836-3400
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