Questions Parents ask about Intercepting Tax Refunds

Questions From Parents Who Owe Support

How will I know if my tax refunds have been intercepted?
The U.S. Treasury and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue will mail you a notice when they intercept your refund. The notice will tell you the amount they intercepted and where they sent the money. You can call the IRS at 1-800-304-3107 to get more information about your intercepted federal tax refund.

Will my tax refunds be taken to pay birth costs even if I live with the mother and our child?
Yes, if:

What happens if I paid all the past-due support before my tax refund was intercepted?
The IRS and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue only intercept the reported amount owed at the time they process your tax return. If your intercepted refund is more than the support amount owed when the Trust Fund gets your intercepted refund, the Trust Fund will immediately send the rest of the refund to you.

If I am paying on my past-due support (or birth costs), will my tax refunds still be intercepted?
Yes, if your case meets the requirements listed on the "Federal Tax Refunds" and "State Tax Refunds" pages.

I plan to file a joint return with my new spouse. Will the IRS take my new spouse's tax refund, too?
No, not if you file an "Injured Spouse Claim" (IRS form 8379) with your federal joint return. The Injured Spouse Claim will allow your spouse to receive his or her share of the refund. If you have questions about the Injured Spouse Claim, or if your spouse's portion of a refund was intercepted after you filed an Injured Spouse Claim, contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. Click here to download the Injured Spouse form from the IRS web.

You do not need to file an Injured Spouse Claim with your joint Wisconsin state tax return. The state Department of Revenue calculates your share of a joint refund and only intercepts your share. The Department of Revenue will send your spouse's share of the refund to your spouse.

I owe $500 in past-due support. Why did they take $500 from both my federal and my state refund?
Child support sends the names of parents who owe past-due support to both the IRS and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. If the IRS and state Department of Revenue process your returns at the same time, both agencies might intercept your refunds. If just one of your refunds pays the entire amount owed, your other refund is immediately returned to you. On the other hand, if the first refund did not pay the entire debt, the rest of your debt will be taken from your second refund. When you pay your support in full, the remaining refund is sent to you immediately.

From Parents Who Receive Support

When will I receive the child support payment from tax intercept?

First, the parent owing support must file a tax return and have a refund due. Then:

  • You will usually get the support payment from federal joint returns about six months after the Trust Fund gets the payment.
  • You will usually receive the support payment from all state refunds and federal non-joint refunds about two days after the Trust Fund receives the tax intercept.
  • If the paying parent requests a hearing about the tax intercept, the money cannot be sent to you until after the hearing.

How do I find out when I am going to get the tax intercept?
Payments from intercepted tax returns listed on the Child Support Online Services website will list the source as "other." The date listed for a federal tax intercept from a joint return is the date the Trust Fund gets the money. You can expect the payment about six months later.

The Child Support Online Services website is updated every night except Sundays.

Do I pay a fee for getting an intercepted tax refund?
Yes. The fee is 10% of any collection of $10 or more. The fee will not be more than $25. Click here for fee information.

The other parent owes past-due support to two families. How much will I get?
The state refund must first pay any current support for all the payer’s court orders that are certified for tax intercept. Then any remaining state refund is split among the families who are owed past-due support and whose cases are certified for tax intercept. Click here for more information about how state refunds are paid out and how federal refunds are paid out.

Please remember: The federal refund first pays any assigned birth costs and assigned AFDC past-due support.

More Information on Intercepting Tax Refunds


Updated June 21, 2012

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