If you can't pay your taxes in full, the IRS will work with you. But you should know that back taxes or certain past due debts can reduce your federal tax refund. The Treasury Offset Program can use all or part of your federal refund to settle certain unpaid federal or state debts. Here are five facts to know about tax refund offsets.

  1. Bureau of the Fiscal Service. The Department of Treasury's Bureau of the Fiscal Service, or BFS, runs the Treasury Offset Program.
  2. Offsets to Pay Certain Debts. Past due federal tax debt may reduce your tax refund. The BFS may also use part or all of your tax refund to pay certain other debts such as:
    • Past-due child and parent support.
    • Federal agency non-tax debts, such as a delinquent student loan.
    • State income tax obligations.
    • Certain unemployment compensation debts owed to a state.
  3. Notified by Mail. The BFS will mail you a notice if it offsets any part of your refund to pay your debt. The notice will list the original refund and offset amount. It will also include the agency that received the offset payment. It will also give their contact information.
  4. How to Dispute Offset. If you wish to dispute the offset, you should contact the agency that received the offset payment. Do not contact the IRS.
  5. Injured Spouse Allocation. You may be entitled to part or all of the offset if you filed a joint tax return with your spouse. This rule applies if your spouse is solely responsible for the debt. To get your part of the refund, file Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation.

Health Care Law: Refund Offsets and the Individual Shared Responsibility Payment

The law prohibits the IRS from using liens or levies to collect any individual shared responsibility payment. However, if you owe a shared responsibility payment, the IRS may offset that liability against any tax refund that may be due to you.

Additional IRS Resources:

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Upcoming Tax Dates

May 2 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
File Form 941 for the first quarter of 2017. Deposit or pay any undeposited tax under the accuracy of deposit rules. If your tax liability is less than $2,500, you can pay it in full with a timely filed return. If you deposited the tax for the quarter timely, properly, and in full, you have until May 10 to file the return.

May 2 — Federal unemployment tax.
Deposit the tax owed through March if more than $500.

May 2 — Form 720 taxes
File Form 720 for the first quarter of 2017.

May 2 — Wagering tax
File Form 730 and pay the tax on wagers accepted during March.

May 10 — Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during April, report them to your employer Details

May 10 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
File Form 941 for the first quarter of 2017. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the quarter timely, properly, and in full.

May 11 — Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the first 15 days of April.

May 13 — Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the last 15 days of April.

May 16 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in April.

May 16 — Nonpayroll withholding
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in April.

May 25 — Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the last 15 days of April.

May 27 — Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the first 15 days of May.

May 31 — Wagering tax
File Form 730 and pay the tax on wagers accepted during April.

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