A refund offset is when the money from a federal or Georgia income tax refund is used to pay, or offset, an existing debt owed.
Treasury Refund Offset
Under federal law, the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) can take your federal income tax refunds to reduce or pay income tax debt you owe to the state of Georgia. To take your federal income tax refund, the Department files an offset claim with the United States Department of the Treasury (Treasury Department).
When a refund offset is determined:
- A letter is sent to your last known address, notifying you of the intent to file an offset claim
- After 60 days, DOR will file a claim with the Treasury Department
- The Treasury Department will inform you that they will use all or part of your federal refund to reduce or pay income tax owed to the state of Georgia
This process may take up to several weeks to complete
There are exceptions, DOR:
- Cannot take your Social Security income to offset your state income tax debt
- Will not take federal payments if you are in bankruptcy
Treasury Offset Refund FAQs provide more information.
State Refund Offset
Georgia law allows other agencies to use individual income tax refunds to pay outstanding obligations.
Your state refund may be applied to a debt with the IRS, another state agency, or the Georgia Department of Revenue.
You will receive a letter to your last known address notifying you of the refund offsets to another agency.
If you have questions or need more information about the offset, you should contact the appropriate agency. Possible recipients of offset refunds: