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Can the IRS take your tax refund for child support?

If you pay child support in Minnesota, you understand it is your legal obligation to pay it as ordered by the court. However, many people fall behind in their payments. This often leads to a balance of back child support owed. When tax times rolls around, you may be surprised when your tax refund is much lower than you anticipated due to the IRS taking money to pay your back child support. 

The IRS explains one of the rights of the Bureau of Fiscal Services, which pays the actual refunds, is to take money from your return for child support that is past due. The child support office contacts the BFS to submit a claim for the amount owed. Once this claim is submitted, your refund will be taken to pay it.

You will get a notice from BFS is money is taken, but you will often not know beforehand. You can contact the child support office to see if it submitted a claim to the BFS, so you are not surprised.

Once there is a claim and you file your taxes, there is nothing you can do to get the money back. The one exception is your spouse can file a Form 8379. Because your spouse is not responsible for your debt, he or she can get part of the taken refund back. This form can also be filed along with your taxes if you know child support will be taken so your spouse's portion is not taken or it can be filed afterward. This information is for education and is not legal advice. 

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