If you owe certain government debts, your tax refund may be in danger of being intercepted via the Treasury Offset Program. The Treasury Offset Program is a way for federal and state agencies to collect on debts owed to them. Past-due child support, unpaid state income tax obligations or federal non-tax debts are all reasons why your income tax refund might be confiscated by the Financial Management Service -- the government agency responsible for managing the Treasury Offset Program.
Call the FMS at 800-304-3107 before you file your taxes and ask whether any agencies have requested a treasury offset. The FMS will be able to give you the name of any agency listed on your account as having requested a tax intercept.
Repay your debt. If you can't afford to pay the debt in full, consider taking out a loan where you can make payments over time.
Agree to a payment plan with the agency you owe money to. Some agencies may work with you to establish an acceptable payment plan. For example, the Maryland Department of Human Resources -- the agency responsible for allocating federal food stamp benefits in Maryland -- will work with you if you've had an overpayment of benefits.
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File for bankruptcy. This is a drastic step and will not erase certain debts, such as child support or student loans. If you are considering bankruptcy, contact a lawyer to find out how bankruptcy would affect your debt.