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If you have back child support, don’t count on that refund

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2023 | Child Support

It is tax season, and many people are already making plans for their tax refunds. However, for those that owe back child support payments, they may discover that the federal government intercepts (offsets) their refunds to pay down or pay off that Hollywood, Florida, child support debt.

Federal Income Tax Refund Offset

The program that intercepts, offsets or takes federal income tax refunds to pay down or pay off child support debt is called the Federal Income Tax Refund Offset program. It is run by the United States’ Internal Revenue Service.

Debt required

If the receiving parent also receives Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits, the paying parent qualifies for the IRS’s FITRO program when the outstanding child support reaches $150. Otherwise, the child support debt threshold is $500.

IRS’s FITRO program notification

When the IRS receives notification from the Florida agency about the outstanding child support debt, and the IRS determines that it qualifies for the FITRO program, the paying parent will receive a pre-offset notice. This is the only pre-notice the non-custodial will receive for this balance, even if multiple offsets will occur.

The offset

Once the offset actually occurs, the IRS sends an offset notice to the paying parent. Each time an offset occurs, the IRS will send an offset notice, which are sent from the United States Department of Treasury’s Financial Management Service. Each notice includes the specific amount taken, the type of payment that was taken, why the payment was taken and the date of the offset.


Florida, non-custodial parents can appeal these offsets through administrative reviews. The contact information for requesting an administrative review appears on each notice. In addition, if the non-custodial parent filed a joint return, their current spouse could appeal for a refund too. The spouse would file IRS form 8379 (Injured Spouse Claim and Allocation) and mail it to the IRS.