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Will the IRS withhold my tax refund for this year if they think I owe them from a previous year?

Los Angeles, CA |

I didn't do my 2010 taxes because the unemployment department gave me a 1099G that claimed I received a few thousand more than I actually did, causing me to owe taxes when I shouldn't have. I didn't feel like dealing with it, so I never did my taxes for that year, which snowballed into not doing 2011's taxes, but I should've gotten a refund, not owed for that year also.

Now I'm playing catch up and e-filed my 2012 taxes, while also sending my 2011's taxes by mail. It's been a few days since the IRS accepted my 2012 taxes, but they haven't deposited any money into my bank account. Now I'm getting worried they might withhold it until I finish 2010's taxes, which might take me months to resolve the 1099G issue at the rate the unemployment dept goes.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Absolutely.

    This answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship, Moreover, this attorney is Licensed to practiced law ONLY in LOUISIANA and answers to questions from other jurisdictions or states are meant to provide only general information. Users should contact a local attorney in their jurisdiction or state.

  2. They probably will, although the tax on the other years would typically have to be assessed to have the current refund applied. Your best bet may be to do your best to file the returns (all of them) and see what happens, then if you need to amend you can do that and see if you are entitled to a refund. I would suggest taking the time and effort to review the situation with a CPA, although since you already filed it ma be too late to do anything other than amend if needed later.

    This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website:

  3. The IRS can only withhold a due refund if you have an active IRS balance due on your account or if they have received some sort of notice from another dept. to withhold your refund (ex: child support). If the IRS has not filed your returns for you (called Substitute For Returns or SFRs) then you should receive your refund. It will take more than a day or two for your refund to process. If you have not received anything in a couple weeks I would followup with your tax preparer and make sure that they actually received confirmation that the return was e-file accepted. I would suggest first calling the unemployment office and get them to issue a corrected 1099G so that you can also file your 2010 return. Please contact Taxsmith if you have any additional questions 888.741.0272 or

    THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. The answer to question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation. Ms. Smith is licensed to practice law throughout the state of Florida with offices in Duval County. She is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. Her phone number is 888-741-0272 and her email address is