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Will the IRS take my tax refund if I owe retroactive child support in a Title IV-D case?

Tucson, AZ |

I still owe the IRS for my 2009 taxes and was going to use my tax refund this year to pay off the debt. However, I expect that the State of Arizona will ask for the three years of back support according to A.R.S. 25-809(b) in the Title IV-D hearing this month. Will I still be able to pay off the IRS debt or will the State intercept my refund?

Attorney Answers 2


The IRS will have priority regarding any refunds before child support so your refund will go first to pay back taxes owed, then any remaining amounts go to child support. If anything's left after that, it will get to you.

Good luck.

Evan A. Nielsen is licensed to practice law in California. The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice for a particular matter. This response does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult an attorney.

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The authority of the IRS to intercept tax refunds was established pursuant to Title IV-D of the Social Security Act and the Internal Revenue Code. The program is known as TRIP, or the tax refund intercept program.

The TRIP program is not absolute and it provides safeguards for the taxpayer. A delinquent parent does have rights. A delinquent parent is one who owes at least $500.00 in past due child support. This parent must first be certified by the office that administers the TRIP Program in your state to the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement. If the intention exists to intercept the taxpayer's refund, he or she must be given 30 days advance notice in which to challenge the action.

You may feel that the amount of child support arrears that is owed may be inaccurate, or you believe that there are no arrears or delinquencies. Don't delay in bringing this to the attention of the court. Get a hearing scheduled and get the matter clarified before year end. It will save you a lot of time and energy by taking a proactive approach with this issue, rather than a reactive one.

These materials have been prepared by Fred E. Walker, P.C. for informational purposes only and are not legal advice, do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Fred E. Walker, P.C. or any of its attorneys or clients, and are not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date. This site is not intended to create, and access to or receipt of information included in this site does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. No one should act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. Although we would be pleased to communicate with you by e-mail or otherwise, do not send us information until you speak with one of our lawyers and get authorization to send that information to us. Please be aware that if you communicate with us by e-mail or otherwise in connection with a matter for which we do not already represent you, your communication may not be treated as privileged or confidential. If you communicate with us by e-mail in connection with a matter for which we already represent you, please remember that Internet e-mail is not secure and you may wish to take steps to encrypt sensitive or confidential materials before sending them on the Internet.

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