Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler, P.C.

Tax refunds can get taken for child support

As this blog has discussed before, there are many potential consequences a Rockford resident may face should he fall behind in child support payments. In the most serious cases, he may even face the possibility of jail time and a criminal charge.

Even when jail is not on the table, a person can face wage garnishment, license suspension and other penalties, as the state of Illinois and its courts understandably take the enforcement of child support very seriously.

With April 15 rapidly approaching, it is a good time to remind those who have child support obligations that one possible consequence for getting behind is that the state agency in charge of collecting support can ask the Internal Revenue Service to forward all or part of a parent's tax refund to the state agency.

A state agency can request the IRS to do this whenever a person is more than $500 behind in child support. To be clear, the intercept can apply whenever a person owes back support, even if the child in question is no longer receiving ongoing support.

Refunds can get intercepted even when a parent is not intentionally avoiding his obligation. Additionally, state refunds can also get intercepted via a similar process.

What this means in practice is that a parent will not get the benefit of a refund that parent may well have been counting on to meet some financial obligations. This can create an economic hardship.

In many situations, the best a parent can hope for is to work something out with the state agency so that the parent can keep her refund. However, there are some occasions in which a parent may be able to challenge the intercept. For example, the amount she owes may have been miscalculated. An attorney may be able to help a parent understand her options.

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