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MYTH: Child Support can’t take my IRS refund if I file jointly with my new spouse.

FACT: Child Support Enforcement CAN take your IRS refund if you are behind on your child support payments—EVEN IF you file jointly with a new spouse.

In fact, the IRS does not discriminate between what portion of the refund is yours and what portion is your spouse’s. Once the intercept occurs, it will then be your burden to prove up what portion of the return belonged to your spouse if you wish to try to recover that money, and you have a limited timeframe to do so.

Your best bet is to remain current on your child support, and if you absolutely can’t make the full payments, then speak with a Dadvocacy attorney about whether you qualify for a modification. If you are behind on your child support, you should receive a letter from the IRS called a Notice of Offset which details how much you owe, explains that all or a portion of your IRS refund has been taken, and instructs you to contact your local child support agency for further information. You have thirty days to contest the intercept if you believe it is incorrect or if you have filed a joint return. It is critically important to take action within the appropriate timeframes and file a motion for relief or request a hearing.

The Florida Department of Revenue reports the names and current balances of past-due child support payors to the IRS each year. Typically, by September of each year, those names have been reported. In order for us to help protect your spouse from an IRS intercept, we need a lot of gain time, and it’s best to call us by July to schedule your initial consultation in order to discuss your tax refund for the following year.

If you are involved in child support or custody litigation, or if you believe your IRS refund has been improperly intercepted, contact an experienced Dadvocacy attorney to take steps to recover your IRS refund and protect future IRS refunds at 305-371-7640.