Can The IRS Keep My Refund?
07 / 10 / 17

Can The IRS Keep My Refund?

Written By: Kathryn Watson

You’ve filed your 2016 return and after months of checking your account for your refund you’re still waiting, or maybe you got a letter from the IRS notifying you that they’re keeping your refund. You’re angry, annoyed, and frustrated and want to know how they can do that! There are a variety of reasons the IRS can keep your refund, the most common being to satisfy past IRS debts. We’re going to explore some of those reasons and talk about some tips so you can make sure you get that money back each year.

  1. You have unfiled returns. If you are missing returns from previous years the IRS may hold your refund until those returns are filed. They do this to ensure you don’t owe a balance on those unfiled returns that your current refund should be applied towards. It’s best to file your returns on time (or by the extension date if requested) each year in order to get your refund.
  2. You’re behind of child support payments. State and federal agencies can put a levy on your refund and use that to satisfy delinquent child support payments. This levy can continue as long as there are unpaid debts and well after the child turns 18, or no longer qualifies for support.
  3. You stopped paying your student loan. The IRS can take your loan and send it to the Department of Education for any student loans you’ve defaulted on.
  4. You filed too late. You have three years from the date the return was due to collect a refund. If you haven’t filed your 2013 return yet, then you can forget about getting a refund. On April 15, 2017 that refund expired and the IRS can keep it and does not have to use it to satisfy other debts.

If the IRS is keeping your refund the best way to get it resolved is to figure out why. If it’s a child support or student loan levy then you’ll need to work it out with the Department of Education, the state or federal agency that placed the levy on your refund in order to get that levy released. If it’s an IRS issue that’s holding up your refund, give us call at 337-233-4210 and we can chat about how we can help!