What is tax offset?


Federal and State laws allow Ohio to intercept state and federal tax refunds if the person receiving the refund is behind in court or administrative ordered child support payments.  The tax refund is forwarded to the obligee, which could be the State of Ohio if public assistance reimbursement is owed.  When certain criteria are met, the Support Enforcement Tracking System (SETS) will automatically submit a case for tax offset.  Everyone that is submitted for IRS/ODT offset will receive a notification in the mail.  Please be advised that it is mailed to the last address that the IRS has on file.  It is important that you keep the CSEA updated of your current address so you receive your notices promptly.  There is no official notification mailed to the residential parent notifying them a tax offset will occur or when a tax offset is received.  The CSEA does not make the determination on who is entitled to claim a child on a tax return.


Is there a way to find out what’s going on with my taxes?


Yes, you can, Noble County CSEA will not be able to give out any tax information (other than general information) on your case over the phone.


You will be required to come into the CSEA and present photo identification for us to be able to speak with you about your taxes.


Why do we ask for a photo identification?


Because everyone’s income tax information is confidential.  IRS regulations prohibit discussing tax information with anyone other than the tax payer, including parties in the child support case, attorneys, and courts unless proper release authorization is on file with the CSEA.


I pay child support and you have my taxes, why is it not applied to my case?


Federal Income Tax Offsets must go through a number of steps and procedures before it actually is posted to an obligee’s case.  The entire process from the time the tax refund is intercepted to the time it posts to a case, takes approximately eight to twelve weeks, as determined by the date of the offset notice to the obligor.


  • Upon filing a tax return, an obligor receives notice, via a letter from Financial Management Services (US Treasurer), that his/her refund will be offset.


  • When an obligor’s federal income tax refund is intercepted, the IRS forwards funds to the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE).


  • In accordance with the Federal Offset Collections Schedule, OCSE collects two weeks worth of intercepted tax refund information then forwards the date to OCS. (This step takes two to three weeks, based on the date of the offset notice to the obligor.)


  • Upon receipt of this data, OCS notifies the application state fiscal entities that an intercept has occurred.  Receipt of this information triggers these fiscal entities to begin their processes related to verifying the amount and distribution of these funds and reconciling the funds received with the funds that will be distributed.


  • One week after OCSE sends the intercepted tax refund data to OCS, the US Treasurer sends the funds to the Ohio Treasurer of State, where the funds are held in safe-keeping until they are advised by the Office of Budget and Management (OBM) to release the funds to OCS.


  • Once the state fiscal entities have completed their verification and reconciliation of the funds (for which they have up to 30 days (4 weeks) to complete), they advise OBM.  OBM, in turn advises the Treasurer’s Office to forward the money to OCS’ Child Support Payment Central (CSPC) bank account – a non-interest bearing account – where the funds are then processed and posted to the individual child support cases.  When the payments are posted to the case, if the amount of offset exceeds the amount of arrears due on the case, the excess funds are refunded to the obligor.


I filed a joint return with my current spouse, how can they get their money back?


If a joint return is filed and the agency intercepts tax money, it is placed on hold for a period of six (6) months.  This allows time for the current spouse to file an Injured Spouse Claim with the IRS.  If this claim is filed and approved by the IRS, your spouse will receive the portion of the offset they are entitled to and  the remainder of the offset would be applied to your child support arrearage.  If your spouse does not file a claim against the offset, after the six month period has expired, the amount of the offset will be applied to your arrearage balance.


How do I contact the IRS regarding my offset?


You may call the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Line at 1-877-777-4778.


State Income Tax Offsets, through the Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT), follow the same basic process as the Federal Income Tax Offsets with two exceptions.  For state offsets, the money is sent from ODT to the Ohio Treasurer of State and ODT monies are received weekly instead of bi-weekly.