Refund Offset Bypasses


Refund Offset Bypasses

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

With the tax filing season set to start on January 28 this year, many taxpayers are eagerly looking forward to their refunds. However, if you have unpaid Federal tax debts from past years, the IRS may instead apply your refund toward this debt.


A “refund offset bypass” can help if you are experiencing economic hardship. You can request a bypass if you are facing an eviction, utility shut-off, or similar hardship. You should make the request at the same time you file your return. The IRS may then issue a refund up to the amount needed to keep your utility on or keep you in your home.


In addition, look at whether the debt that would ordinarily trigger an “offset” of the refund belongs to only one spouse. If so, the other spouse can still request that the IRS pay her portion of the refund, even if the spouses file together.


If you are due a refund but worry that the IRS will keep it for any reason, you should call the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic at the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York. We can help you with this and many other income tax issues. The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic can be reached at 518-462-6765 or 1-800-462-2922. This clinic does not generally provide tax return preparation services.