Treasury Offset Program - Tax Refund Lower Than Expected

What is the Treasury Offset Program and how can it affect a tax refund?


The Treasury Offset Program enables the treasury department to garnish the taxpayer's refund or other federal funds and wages to repay a past-due debt. Common debt types include child support payments and delinquent student loans. If the taxpayer is subject to offset, their expected refund may be lowered or brought to zero pay for their past due debt. This is sometimes referred to as administrative offset. 

Student loan debt offset (collection) has been paused by the U.S. Department of Education due to the COVID-19 pandemic through May 1, 2022.