If you are behind in child support and your state child support enforcement office collects your payments from you, the IRS will take your tax refund to cover the arrears (often called a tax refund seizure). The IRS will then give the money to the appropriate child support agency.
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 were not paid).
More info about refund offsets, including contact info and the appeals process, is on IRS.gov (Tax Topic 203)