The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
A tax refund interception, also referred to as a tax refund offset, is the act of an agency responsible for sending tax refunds using all or part of a refund to fulfill an obligation of the taxpayer rather than sending the money to the taxpayer him/herself.
A tax refund or tax rebate is a refund on taxes when the tax liability is less than the taxes paid. Taxpayers can often get a tax refund on their income tax, if the tax they owe is less than the sum of the total amount of the withholding taxes and estimated taxes that they paid, plus the refundable tax credits that they claim.
A taxpayer is a person or organization subject to pay a tax. Taxpayers have an Identification Number, a reference number issued by a government to its citizens.
Some common obligations for which tax refunds are intercepted include student loans, child support, fines, restitution, and wage garnishments; however this is usually done if said debts are in considerable arrears. Debtors who have been making agreed payments on the dot are usually not subject to this as creditors often feel interception unnecessary. While taxes are sometimes intercepted to pay off the balance to a government-operated collection agency, few jurisdictions allow refunds to be intercepted to pay a private collection agency.
A student loan is a type of loan designed to help students pay for post-secondary education and the associated fees, such as tuition, books and supplies, and living expenses. It may differ from other types of loans in the fact that the interest rate may be substantially lower and the repayment schedule may be deferred while the student is still in school. It also differs in many countries in the strict laws regulating renegotiating and bankruptcy. This article highlights the differences of the student loan system in several major countries.
In family law and public policy, child support is an ongoing, periodic payment made by a parent for the financial benefit of a child following the end of a marriage or other relationship. Child maintenance is paid directly or indirectly by an obligor to an obligee for the care and support of children of a relationship that has been terminated, or in some cases never existed. Often the obligor is a non-custodial parent. The obligee is typically a custodial parent, a caregiver, a guardian, or the state.
A fine or mulct is money that a court of law or other authority decides has to be paid as punishment for a crime or other offence. The amount of a fine can be determined case by case, but it is often announced in advance.
In the United States, the Internal Revenue Code allows the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to divert overpayments of taxes to satisfy other federal taxes,certain past-due support obligations, debts owed to other Federal agencies, state income tax obligations, , county taxes, local taxes and unemployment compensation debts. Unlike private debts, refund interception for the said taxation will often occur even if prompt prior payments were made.
The Internal Revenue Code (IRC), formally the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, is the domestic portion of federal statutory tax law in the United States, published in various volumes of the United States Statutes at Large, and separately as Title 26 of the United States Code (USC). It is organized topically, into subtitles and sections, covering income tax, payroll taxes, estate taxes, gift taxes, and excise taxes; as well as procedure and administration. Its implementing agency is the Internal Revenue Service.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the revenue service of the United States federal government. The government agency is a bureau of the Department of the Treasury, and is under the immediate direction of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, who is appointed to a five-year term by the President of the United States. The IRS is responsible for collecting taxes and administering the Internal Revenue Code, the main body of federal statutory tax law of the United States. The duties of the IRS include providing tax assistance to taxpayers and pursuing and resolving instances of erroneous or fraudulent tax filings. The IRS has also overseen various benefits programs, and enforces portions of the Affordable Care Act.
Unemployment benefits are payments made by back authorized bodies to unemployed people. In the United States, benefits are funded by a compulsory governmental insurance system, not taxes on individual citizens. Depending on the jurisdiction and the status of the person, those sums may be small, covering only basic needs, or may compensate the lost time proportionally to the previous earned salary.
In many cases, the Department of Revenue (DOR) has the authority to intercept state tax refunds or refundable credits to repay debts owed to government agencies. Tax refunds may be intercepted to repay debts that are owed to the DOR, child support debts, court ordered restitution debts, debts owed to state or local governments, debts owed to the IRS or federal government, or debts owed across states. If one disagrees with the interception of their refund, then contacting the DOR is the best way to dispute the interception.
Tax refunds are intercepted with the purpose of forcing citizens to comply to their required debts. If one has student loan payments, child support payments, or worker's compensation payments that they have not fulfilled, then their refund will be intercepted and put towards the payments of those obligations.
In order for a debt to be permitted for interception it must: Be a debt greater than or equal to $100 in value. Be owed to a claimant agency that is legally obliged or contractually obligated to collect said debt. Be owed through contract, tort, or some other operation of the law.
When a tax refund has been intercepted, the debtor will receive a notice from the treasury departments Financial Management Service (FMS) that the interception has occurred. This notice will contain information on the original tax refund amount and how much was offset in the interception. It will also contain information on what agency is intercepting the refund along with information on how to contact that agency.
In cases where one feels that their tax refund has been wrongfully intercepted, there are some options for the interception to be appealed. For example, if one has divorced their spouse then the debt is no longer theirs to pay and a copy of your divorce paperwork should be sent to the intercepting agency. In cases where there are disputes, but no direct paperwork to prove ones cause, then it is best to contact the internal revenue service or the other collecting agency directly.
There are other miscellaneous sources of income that are subject to interception. For example lottery winnings and state issued vendor payments may be intercepted if they are over a certain amount of money.
Form 1040 is one of three IRS tax forms used for personal (individual) federal income tax returns filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by United States residents for tax purposes.
In finance, a loan is the lending of money by one or more individuals, organizations, or other entities to other individuals, organizations etc. The recipient incurs a debt, and is usually liable to pay interest on that debt until it is repaid, and also to repay the principal amount borrowed.
A tax credit is a tax incentive which allows certain taxpayers to subtract the amount of the credit they have accrued from the total they owe the state. It may also be a credit granted in recognition of taxes already paid or, as in the United Kingdom, a form of state support.
Garnishment is a legal process for collecting a monetary judgment on behalf of a plaintiff from a defendant. Garnishment allows the plaintiff to take the money or property of the debtor from the person or institution that holds that property. A similar legal mechanism called execution allows the seizure of money or property held directly by the debtor.
Refund anticipation loan (RAL) is a short-term consumer loan in the United States provided by a third party against an expected tax refund for the duration it takes the tax authority to pay the refund. The loan term was usually about two to three weeks, related to the time it took the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to deposit refunds in electronic accounts. The loans were designed to make the refund available in as little as 24 hours. They were secured by a taxpayer's expected tax refund, and designed to offer customers quicker access to funds.
A bad debt is a monetary amount owed to a creditor that is unlikely to be paid and, or which the creditor is not willing to take action to collect for various reasons, often due to the debtor not having the money to pay, for example due to a company going into liquidation or insolvency. There are various technical definitions of what constitutes a bad debt, depending on accounting conventions, regulatory treatment and the institution provisioning. In the USA, bank loans with more than ninety days' arrears become "problem loans". Accounting sources advise that the full amount of a bad debt be written off to the profit and loss account or a provision for bad debts as soon as it is foreseen.
The Offer in Compromise program, in the United States, is an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) program under 26 U.S.C. § 7122 which allows qualified individuals with an unpaid tax debt to negotiate a settled amount that is less than the total owed to clear the debt. A taxpayer uses the checklist in the Form 656, Offer in Compromise, package to determine if the taxpayer is eligible for the offer in compromise program. The objective of the OIC program is to accept a compromise when acceptance is in the best interests of both the taxpayer and the government and promotes voluntary compliance with all future payment and filing requirements.
Section 61 of the Internal Revenue Code defines "gross income," the starting point for determining which items of income are taxable for federal income tax purposes in the United States. Section 61 states that "[e]xcept as otherwise provided in this subtitle, gross income means all income from whatever source derived [. .. ]". The United States Supreme Court has interpreted this to mean that Congress intended to express its full power to tax incomes to the extent that such taxation is permitted under Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 of the Constitution of the United States and under the Constitution's Sixteenth Amendment.
Tax protesters in the United States have advanced a number of arguments asserting that the assessment and collection of the federal income tax violates statutes enacted by the United States Congress and signed into law by the President. Such arguments generally claim that certain statutes fail to create a duty to pay taxes, that such statutes do not impose the income tax on wages or other types of income claimed by the tax protesters, or that provisions within a given statute exempt the tax protesters from a duty to pay.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax forms are forms used for taxpayers and tax-exempt organizations to report financial information to the Internal Revenue Service of the United States. They are used to report income, calculate taxes to be paid to the federal government, and disclose other information as required by the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). There are over 800 various forms and schedules. Other tax forms in the United States are filed with state and local governments.
Attachment of earnings is a legal process in civil litigation by which a defendant's wages or other earnings are taken to pay for a debt. This collections process is used in the common law system, especially Britain and the United States, but in other legal regimes as well.
Cesarini v. United States, 296 F. Supp. 3, is a historic case decided by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, where the court ruled that treasure trove property is included in gross income for the tax year when it was discovered. The case is frequently cited in American law school textbooks as an example of the nuances of income taxation.
An adoption tax credit is a tax credit offered to adoptive parents to encourage adoption. Section 36C of the United States Internal Revenue code offers a credit for “qualified adoption expenses” paid or incurred by individual taxpayers.
A tax levy, under United States Federal law, is an administrative action by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under statutory authority, generally without going to court, to seize property to satisfy a tax liability. The levy "includes the power of distraint and seizure by any means". The general rule is that no court permission is required for the IRS to execute a tax levy. While the government relies mainly on voluntary payment of tax, it retains the power of levy to collect involuntarily from those who persistently refuse to pay. The IRS can levy upon wages, bank accounts, social security payments, accounts receivables, insurance proceeds, real property, and, in some cases, a personal residence. Under Internal Revenue Code section 6331, the Internal Revenue Service can "levy upon all property and rights to property" of a taxpayer who owes Federal tax. The IRS can levy upon assets that are in the possession of the taxpayer, called a seizure, or it can levy upon assets in the possession of a third party, a bank, a brokerage house, etc. All future statutory references will be to the Internal Revenue Code unless noted otherwise.
Commissioner v. Indianapolis Power & Light Company, 493 U.S. 203 (1990), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court addressed whether customer deposits constituted taxable income to a public utility company.
The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act was introduced in the United States Congress on September 25, 2007, and signed into law by President George W. Bush on December 20, 2007. This act offers relief to homeowners who would have owed taxes on forgiven mortgage debt after facing foreclosure. The act extends such relief for three years, applying to debts discharged in calendar year 2007 through 2009. With the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, this tax relief was extended another three years, covering debts discharged through calendar year 2012. Act further extended until January 1, 2014 at section 202 of American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.
A tax protester is someone who refuses to pay a tax claiming that the tax laws are unconstitutional or otherwise invalid. Tax protesters are different from tax resisters, who refuse to pay taxes as a protest against a government or its policies, or a moral opposition to taxation in general, not out of a belief that the tax law itself is invalid. The United States has a large and organized culture of people who espouse such theories. Tax protesters also exist in other countries.
Tax protesters in the United States advance a number of administrative arguments asserting that the assessment and collection of the federal income tax violates regulations enacted by responsible agencies –primarily the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)– tasked with carrying out the statutes enacted by the United States Congress and signed into law by the President. Such arguments generally include claims that the administrative agency fails to create a duty to pay taxes, or that its operation conflicts with some other law, or that the agency is not authorized by statute to assess or collect income taxes, to seize assets to satisfy tax claims, or to penalize persons who fail to file a return or pay the tax.
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