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My federal refund was $4012. The direct deposit I received was 3629.01. Please explain the ($383) difference.

2 Replies
Expert Alumni

My federal refund was $4012. The direct deposit I received was 3629.01. Please explain the ($383) difference.

I do not know the exact reason that the IRS did not refund the amount that you were expecting to receive, but one common reason that could have resulted in your refund being lower than you expected, is that your refund was reduced by the government to correct a calculation error, correct a discrepancy between information reported on your return and information reported to them from other sources, or through a refund offset. A refund offset is when an IRS refund is reduced or intercepted to pay off debt, such as past-due child support, outstanding student loans, or unpaid state income tax.

You will receive a notice in the mail if an adjustment or offset occurs. The notice will include the original tax refund amount and the revised amount. It will also include the agency receiving the offset payment and that agency’s contact information. If you believe you do not owe the debt or you want to dispute the amount taken from your refund, you should contact the agency that received the offset amount.

If you have questions regarding the offset of your federal tax refund or offset of another U.S. government-issued payment, you can call the Treasury Offset Program (TOP) Call Center to obtain agency contact information during our customer service hours.

Have Questions about an Offset?

    • Toll Free: 800-304-3107

    • TDD number: 866-297-0517

More information about refund offsets can be found in the following IRS Tax Topic:  Tax Topic 203 - Refund Offsets for Unpaid Child Support, Certain Federal and State Debts, and Unemployment Compensation Debts.

The IRS Where's My Refund tool will contain a disclaimer if your refund may have been offset. You'll get an explanatory letter from the government if your refund differs from what was on your filed return.  

If you suspect your refund is being held, sometimes people make progress contacting their local IRS center or a Taxpayer Advocate.

Please see the link below to find your local Taxpayer Assistance Center.

The link below will offer your more guidance on Taxpayer Advocates.


Level 3

My federal refund was $4012. The direct deposit I received was 3629.01. Please explain the ($383) difference.

I have used TT for over 20 years, currently the Home & Business version on CD. I file for my married son with 3 young children, military stationed in Japan. He recently received a "notice" form the IRS stating that his refund would be $900 less (explanation to follow by letter) than the one e-filed via TT. There were no errors indicated by the TT review, so I'm curious to find out what the discrepancy is. $900 is a very "round" number for it to be a computation error, so it must be related to a credit somewhere. There have been a lot of issues with TT updates recently with regard to delays and inaccuracies related to pandemic credits, especially for unemployment compensation. They've been a "day late and a dollar short" on this and I'm beginning to wonder what other problems may exist with the software.

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