Georgia Department of Human Services

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Federal Tax Offset Program

The Federal Offset Program collects past-due support from non-custodial parents by intercepting their Federal income tax refund or other administrative payments such as Federal retirement benefits. Federal authority for the Offset Program is granted by 45 CFR 303.72.

Criteria:

  • Non-custodial parent owes $150 or more on a TANF case
  • Non-custodial parent owes $500 or more on a Non-TANF case
  • Case is active and obligated
  • Court/Administrative order is in place on the case
  • Valid Social Security number for the non-custodial parent
  • The state where the cp has initiated the case.

Certification:

  • Continuous throughout the year and reviewed monthly
  • Qualifying TANF and Non-TANF cases are submitted separately

Multiple Child Support Cases:
If a non-custodial parent has more than one child support case, all cases meeting the criteria for offset are submitted. Any money collected by the Offset Program will be divided among the non-custodial parent’s certified cases.

Criteria to Remove a Case from Tax Offset Certification:

  • Bankruptcy filed prior to October 20, 2005
  • Incorrect Social Security number
  • Incorrect arrears balance on the case
  • Any cases meeting decertification criteria are processed monthly and removed from the list of eligible cases

Collection of Federal Tax Offset:

  • First month of collection each year is February
  • IRS collects and forwards intercepted money to DCSS semi-monthly
  • Processing time from the IRS is approximately 4 to 6 weeks

Distribution of Federal Tax Offset Funds:

  • Custodial Parent Escrow
  • 180 day hold if non-custodial parent filed a joint tax return
  • 30 day hold if non-custodial parent filed a single tax return
  • Indefinite hold if there is a hearing pending on the case
  • Non-Custodial Parent Escrow
  • 15 day hold, but not required if the money is due to the non-custodial parent
  • State Reimbursement
  • No escrow hold
  • If non-custodial parent has more than one case, the money is divided among the non-custodial parent’s certified cases.

State Tax Offset Program

The State Tax Offset Program collects past-due support from non-custodial parents by intercepting their State income tax refund. State authority for the Offset Program is granted by O.C.G.A. 48-7-160 and 48-7-168.

Criteria:

  • Non-custodial parent owes $500 or more regardless of whether the case is TANF or Non-TANF
  • Case is active and obligated
  • Court/Administrative order is in place on the case
  • Valid Social Security number for the non-custodial parent

Certification:

  • Continuous throughout the year and reviewed weekly
  • Qualifying TANF and Non-TANF cases are combined and submitted as one debt

Multiple Child Support Cases:
If a non-custodial parent has more than one child support case, all cases meeting the criteria for offset are submitted. Any money collected by the Offset Program will be divided among the non-custodial parent’s certified cases.

Criteria to Remove a Case from Tax Offset Certification:

  • Bankruptcy filed prior to October 20, 2005
  • Incorrect Social Security number
  • Incorrect arrears balance on the case
  • Arrears balance falls below the amount eligible for certification
  • Any cases meeting decertification criteria are processed weekly and removed from the list of eligible cases

Collection of State Tax Offset:

  • First month of collection each year is February
  • Intercepted monies are held in escrow by the Department of Human Services Office of Financial Services on behalf of DCSS
  • Debt Setoff Unit retains funds for 30 days to allow for due process
  • Offset funds are received by DCSS approximately 45 days from the offset date

Distribution of State Tax Offset Funds:

  • Custodial Parent Escrow
  • 2 day hold if the due process period has expired
  • Non-Custodial Parent Escrow
  • 15 day hold, but not required if the money is due to the non-custodial parent
  • State Reimbursement
  • No escrow hold
  • If non-custodial parent has more than one case, the money is divided among the non-custodial parent’s certified cases.

Frequently Asked Questions about Tax Intercept

Question: Can the non-custodial parent's taxes be offset or intercepted?

Answer: Federal Law 303.72 gives the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) the authority to intercept non-custodial parents' taxes if the case meets established criteria.

Question: My child support payments are being deducted from my wages. I am paying an extra amount toward my arrears. Why has my tax refund money been offset?

Answer: Regulations require that if you owe more than $150.00/Ftax & $500/Stax in total arrears your case must be submitted for tax offset.

Question: I received a notice from the Department of Treasury or the Department of Revenue telling me my tax refund was sent to the Office of Child Support Services. Why isn't the payment showing on my case?

Answer: Notices from the Department of Treasury and Department of Revenue are mailed to the non-custodial parent when his/her tax return is processed. Intercepted funds are transferred electronically to OCSS one time each month, and usually include several hundred payments. Payments usually reach DCSS within 4 to 6 weeks after you receive your notice of the tax offset.

Question: If the non-custodial parent writes a letter stating he will not contest the offset, can it be released before designated time frame?

Answer: No, the offset will not be released early to the custodial parent except in situations of incorrect balance; administrative hearing or IRS adjustment.

Question: I received the non-custodial parent’s state taxes. Why do I have to wait on the federal funds that were offset?

Answer: The state tax offset has been held by Debt Set Off for 30 days before it is released to DCSS so there is no additional hold time and the offset goes out in two days if due the custodial parent.

Question: Tax money was retained by the State for unpaid public assistance, but I never received Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) for my child. I received TANF for a child I had temporary custody of. How can I verify I never received TANF for my child?

Answer: A statement from the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) or DCSS can research.