How IRS Tax Refunds are Collected

Due to the number of fraudulent income tax filings, the Child Support Program is authorized to hold tax refund offsets until the IRS completes a review.

The IRS generally completes their review within 90 days, but the review may take longer. When the IRS review is complete, the IRS notifies the Child Support Program that they will either reverse the collection (take it back), or that the Child Support Program can process the collection. If the IRS review is not completed in six months, the Program will remove the hold.

Not every intercepted tax refund held is due to possible fraud. Federal regulations also allow the Child Support Program to hold tax refunds from a joint tax return. These offsets are held for six months to provide the joint filer who does not owe past-due support time to file an amended return with the IRS for their share of the refund.

The IRS website provides more detail about fraudulent tax filings and information on personal identity theft.

If the parent due support has received cash assistance, the IRS offset may be kept by the state to repay public assistance.