your tax return may show you’re due a refund from the irs. however, if you owe a federal tax debt from a prior tax year, or a debt to another federal agency, or certain debts under state law, the irs may keep (offset) some or all your refund to pay that debt.
what kinds of debts might be offset?
* past-due federal tax;
* state income tax;
* state unemployment compensation debts;
* child support;
* spousal support; and
* federal nontax debt, like student loans.
the irs makes offsets for past due federal taxes. all other offsets are handled by the treasury department's bureau of the fiscal service (bfs), previously known as the financial management service (fms). for federal tax offsets, you’ll get an irs notice.