Why Did I Get a Reduced Refund?

By NexGen Support Team

December 20, 2021

Understanding Potential Refund Reductions: The Role of the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS) and Tax Offsets

There are multiple reasons why you may get less refund than your tax preparer has prepared for you. Your final refund issued may depend on any changes BFS has made to your taxes.

The Department of Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service(BFS) issues IRS tax refunds and Congress authorizes BFS to conduct the Treasury Offset Program (TOP). Through the TOP program, BFS may reduce your refund (overpayment) and offset it to pay:

  • Past-due child support;

  • Federal agency non-tax debts;

  • State income tax obligations; or

  • Certain unemployment compensation debts owed to a state (generally, these are debts for (1) compensation paid due to fraud, or (2) contributions owing to a state fund that weren’t paid).

  • You can contact the agency with which you have a debt to determine if your debt was submitted for a tax refund offset. You may call BFS’s TOP call center at the number below for an agency address and phone number. If your debt meets submission criteria for offset, BFS will reduce your refund as needed to pay off the debt you owe to the agency. Any portion of your remaining refund after offset is issued in a check or directly deposited as originally requested on the return.

    BFS will send you a notice if an offset occurs. The notice will reflect the original refund amount, your offset amount, the agency receiving the payment, and the address and telephone number of the agency. BFS will notify the IRS of the amount taken from your refund once your refund date has passed. You should contact the agency shown on the notice if you believe you don’t owe the debt or if you’re disputing the amount taken from your refund. Contact the IRS only if your original refund amount shown on the BFS offset notice differs from the refund amount shown on your tax return. If you don’t receive a notice, contact the BFS’s TOP call center at 800-304-3107 (or TTY/TDD 866-297-0517), Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST.

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