What to do if your tax refund is being seized by the IRS to pay child support arrearages - Injured Spouse Form
Are you behind on child support and your state child support enforcement agency collects your payments from you? If so then the IRS will take any money you were supposed to get as a tax refund and send it to your local child support enforcement agency to cover the arrears. This is commonly referred to as a tax refund seizure.
FOR PARENTS BEHIND ON CHILD SUPPORT:
Things you can do to prevent your tax refund from going to your ex:
- You can adjust your withholdings. You can adjust, raise or lower, the amount withheld from your paycheck in taxes so as to obtain a smaller refund at the end of the year. However, you should exercise care before doing this. While doing this may prevent your ex from getting your tax refund you could also end up owing money to the IRS comer tax season.
- If you are married to someone else, you can file separate returns (married but filing separately).
- If the child support debt belongs to your spouse and you want to avoid having your portion of the refund seized, you can file separate tax returns. However, if you file married but separate then you will lose out on the tax exemptions awarded to married individuals. Depending on how you set up your withholdings, (married, single, etc) when you first started your job and filled out tax paperwork, you could end up owing money on taxes at the end of the year.
- If you are married to someone who owes child support debt, but you do not, you can file an “Injured Spouse Allocation” form.
Injured Spouse Form - Stepparents Are Not Responsible for Child Support Payments!
If you are married to someone who owes child support debt (arrearages) for a child that is not yours, you are not responsible for that debt. Stepparents are not responsible for child support payments or debt!
- The IRS allows spouses to file a special form entitled “Injured Spouse Allocation,” which, if you filed your taxes married filing and jointly, allows you to keep your portion of the refund.
- The IRS typically calculates this amount based on how much money your employer withheld from your paycheck for taxes the previous year.
- It is important to file this form as soon as possible to ensure your portion of the tax return is not seized by the IRS and given to your spouse's ex.
- Accordingly, if you know your spouse is behind on his child support, you should ideally file this form when you file your taxes, or immediately after receiving notice of seizure.
FOR THE PARENT WHO IS OWED CHILD SUPPORT:
What to Do If You Are Owed the Child Support And You Want The IRS to Seize Your Ex's Tax Return
If you want the IRS to seize the refund of the person who owes you child support whether or not you need to take any action will depend on how your child support is collected and paid. Do you receive payments directly through your ex or through your local child support enforcement agency?
- If your local child support enforcement agency collects payments from your ex then you do not need to do anything, your ex's refund will be seized automatically.
- However, if you do not receive your child support payments through your local child support enforcement office, then you need to petition the court to request it be collected in this way. If the court grants your petition then the IRS will send your ex's future refunds directly to you to satisfy the arrearage.