By Robert L. Mues   |   June 2nd, 2008

The IRS is treating the stimulus checks as if they were tax refunds. On their website, the IRS indicates that the amount of the stimulus check will be reduced or seized if :

  • You are single and your net income tax liability is less than $600. If you file Form 1040 net income tax liability is the amount shown on Line 57, plus the amount on Line 52.
  • You are married and your net income tax liability is less than $1,200.
  • You are single and your adjusted gross income (AGI) is more than $75,000. On Form 1040, AGI is the amount on Line 37.
  • You are married filing a joint return and your AGI is more than $150,000.
  • You owe back taxes that reduced your payment.
  • You have non-tax federal debts such as unpaid student loans or child-support obligations that reduced your payment.

If the IRS is reducing or seizing your stimulus check, they are supposed to mail you a letter of explanation.

So what do you do if you and your spouse have filed a joint return and your spouse owes back child support if you want to avoid having the IRS seize your share? Well, you may fall in the category of what the IRS calls an “injured spouse”. To get your share of the stimulus payment, you can file Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation. You will then get your share of these payments, and your spouse’s share will be applied to his or her past-due federal or state income taxes or non-tax federal debt such as student loans and child support.

Also, remember that the IRS NEVER initiates any email to taxpayers, so don’t fall for one of those internet scams about receipt of your stimulus check!

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Robert L. MuesAbout The Author: Robert L. Mues
Robert Mues is the managing partner of Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, and has received the highest rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability. Mr. Mues is also a founding member of the "International Academy of Attorneys for Divorce over 50" blog.

If You Owe Back Support, Don’t Expect Your Stimulus Check

4 thoughts on “If You Owe Back Support, Don’t Expect Your Stimulus Check

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  • November 6, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    my boyfriend and i live in nj and he owes child support for about 300 dollars if his stimilus check was 600 wouldnt he recive 300 once that back amount was deducted and what about federal income tax if its like 6000 wouldnt they give him a check for 5700. thanks monica

  • March 6, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    I have a question? Father was behind on support last year before. I had got proof from child support but he still recieved his income tax. This year he is behind over $1200.00 will they end up stopping any money owed to him and send to his children

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