The Department of Treasury's Bureau of Fiscal Service (BFS), issues IRS tax refunds, and Congress authorizes BFS to conduct the Treasury Offset Program (TOP). Through the TOP program, BFS may reduce (overpayment) and offset it to pay:
You can contact the agency with which you have a debt to determine if your debt was submitted for a tax refund offset. You may call BFS' TOP call center at the number below for an agency address and phone number. If your debt was submitted for offset, BFS will reduce your refund as needed to pay off the debt and send it to the agency you owe. Any portion of your refund remaining after offset is issued in a check or direct deposited as originally requested on the return.
BFS will send you a notice if an offset occurs. The notice will reflect the original refund amount, your offset amount, the agency receiving the payment, and the address and telephone number of the agency. BFS will notify the IRS of the amount taken from your refund. You should contact the agency shown on the notice if you believe you do not owe the debt, or if you are disputing the amount taken from your refund. If you do not receive a notice:
If you filed a joint return and you're not responsible for your spouse's debt, you're entitled to request your portion of the refund back from the IRS. You may file a claim fo rthis amount by filing Form 8379 (PDF), Injured Spouse Allocation.
You may file Form 8379 one of the following ways:
When filing a Form 8379 with your joint return or amended return, write INJURED SPOUSE in the top left corner of the first page of the joint return.The IRS can process your Form 8379 before an offset occurs. If you file Form 8379 with your original or amended joint tax return, it may take 11 weeks to process an electronically filed return or 14 weeks if you filed a paper return. If you file the Form 8379 by itself after a joint return has been processed, then processing will take about 8 weeks. To avoid delays, be sure to follow the Form 8379 Instructions (PDF)