Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities




Intercepting Federal Tax Refunds


Federal tax refunds are intercepted if the case meets all three conditions below:

  1. The past-due amount owed to the family is $500 or more on a court case -OR- $150 or more if part of the past-due amount is owed to the state.
  2. The child support agency knows the Social Security number or Tax Identification number of the parent who owes past-due support.
  3. The case gets child support services from a local child support agency.

If the three conditions above are met, the paying parent is certified for federal tax intercept.

Who Gets the Federal Tax Refund?

  • Intercepted federal tax refunds pay debts that are owed to the state first, and then pays the past-due support owed to the family.
  • If the family no longer gets cash benefits, and no birth costs or AFDC debts are owed, the family will get the intercepted tax refund.

Holds on Joint Refunds

  • Refunds intercepted from federal joint returns are held for six months.
  • The paying parent gets credit for the refund immediately in the child support system.
  • The hold protects the parent who receives the money from having to repay intercepted refunds if the IRS recalls the payment.
  • The hold does not guarantee that the IRS will not recall the intercepted refund after the six months.
  • After the six month hold, the Trust Fund sends the money to the parent receiving support.

More Tax Resources for Parents