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Am I entitled to any part of my tax refund if I owe back child support?

Aurora, IL |

I owe back child support for a child but I want to file my taxes and claim the two children I have with my wife. My concern is that my refund will be taken to pay that back child support I owe but if I am claiming the two children I have with my wife arent I entiltled to that part of the refund (child tax) since these children are not the child in question as far as back child support goes? Will I loose out on both of my federal and state refunds due to the back child support or do they just take one of them and if so which one? My wife wants me to claim the kids because she made over her income limit to get the child tax credit so she wants me to claim them this year since my gross income was much less.

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

Unfortunately, while you are in arrears your refund can be taken for the child support. The components of the refund are not separated. If you have a refund it can be taken until this matter is cleared up.

Any individual seeking legal advice for their own situation should retain their own legal counsel as this response provides information that is general in nature and not specific to any person's unique situation. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Advice given in this response cannot be used to eliminate penalties with the IRS or any other governmental agency.


If there's an arrears, and it's through the IV-D system; then depending on how much you owe, they can (and do) intercept it. If you take steps to address your arrears, you can avoid this nasty annual surprise. Contact a family law attorney in your area for specific guidance.



This whole case was odd because I found out about this child when she was 10 and I am on a waiting list for a DNA test but in the meantime I hired a lawyer and this whole case was put in arrears and child support started over. I went a few months without a job so I fell behind again but now I have a steady job and income so I have been making payments weekly as ordered.


If you owe more than the refund is worth, they can take it. You can file for Injured Spouse Relief for your wife, and then she will receive her portion of the joint refund every year. Technically, none of your income, credits, and deductions are related to the other children. That is not what determines whether it is subject to tax. There is no "deductions and credits related to new children" exception.

If you file Married Filing Seperately, you will lose out on many of those credits anyway. They simply will not let you shift deductions and credits to the lower earning spouse. So if you file Married Filing Seperately, you both must take the standard deduction, and most credits will be disallowed.

Christopher Larson
Insight Law



My wife but not legally, we have been together 13 years and with her insurance through work we are considered domestic partners so we file seperatley at tax time. My wife usually claims our 2 kids but since she was over her income limit she will lose the child tax credit so she wanted me to claim the kids. Although, if the credit I earn for my kids is going to be taken because of back child support for a lady with a child she claims is mine then my wife said she will claim them herself and take the loss.

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