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Community Manager

Why is my federal refund less than I expected?



Your refund may be different if you used the Refund Processing Service to pay your TurboTax Online fees. If you did, your TurboTax fee plus the additional processing fee is deducted from your federal tax refund.


Some taxpayers, regardless of tax preparation method, may see a discrepancy in their tax refund amount.  The most common reason for this is a refund offset.  All or part of a taxpayers refund may have been used (offset) to pay off past-due federal tax, state income tax, state unemployment compensation debts, child support, spousal support, or other federal nontax debts, such as student loans. Taxpayers may also see a change in their refund amount because the IRS made a change to their tax return.


Taxpayers will receive a notice explaining the refund offset.  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. The IRS Where’s My Refund? will also reflect the reasons for the refund offset when it relates to a change in your tax return.


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.