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Can child support take your tax refund?

The state of Massachusetts takes child support collection seriously. If you owe back child support, you should expect to see it taken out of your tax return. The state has the right to petition the Bureau of Fiscal Service, which issues the refunds, to request a deduction based on your owed back child support, according to the IRS.

When money is taken from your refund, it is called an offset. The offset is requested by the child support agency based on your child support payment records. The agency has every right under the law to take some or all of your refund to pay for back child support obligations. You may or may not be notified beforehand that this offset will occur.

You will get a notice from the BFS at some point, which usually is after you have already seen your refund. This notice explains how much was taken, who took it and why. 

If you know that you owe child support and it will be taken from your refund, your spouse can file for injured spouse relief. You can contact the child support office to see if they filed an offset. Even if you are not aware beforehand, your spouse can still file the Form 8379 to get his or her portion of the refund that was taken by child support back. This is because he or she is not responsible for this debt and only your money can be taken to pay it. This information is for education only and is not intended as legal advice. 

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Kajko, Weisman & Colasanti, LLP

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Lexington, MA 02420

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