Question

I received a different refund amount (less refund) than I anticipated based on my return. Why is the refund received less than the refund shown on my return?

Answer

The IRS might reduce your refund if you have any of these:

  • Overdue federal tax debts
  • Past-due child support
  • Federal agency nontax debts
  • State income tax debt
  • Unemployment compensation debts owed to a state (for fraudulent wages paid or contributions due to a state fund)
  • Student direct and guaranteed loan repayments
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) loan repayments
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) loan repayments

Debt offset for federal taxes are made by the IRS. All other offsets are made by the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Fiscal Services (BFS). For federal tax offsets, you’ll receive a notice from the IRS.

For all other offsets, you’ll receive a notice from BFS. The notice will reflect these:

  • Original refund amount
  • Your offset amount
  • Agency receiving the payment
  • Address and phone number of the agency

If you don’t get a notice, you can call the BFS at 800-304-3107 or TDD 866-297-0517.

Contact the agency listed if:

  • You believe you don’t owe the debt.
  • You’re disputing the amount taken from your refund money.

Contact the IRS only if your original refund amount on the notice differs from the amount on your return.

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