The state of Oklahoma has a vested interest in making sure that its children are cared for. Every parent has an obligation to support their children. Sometimes though, parents fall behind in that obligation. When courts order child support, that order is enforceable. If a parent falls behind in child support, the law provides a number of tools to collect that child support. Tax refund intercepts are one such tool. It is important to understand how and when to use this tool. Your Okmulgee child support attorney can help you understand this tool and how it might be used in your case.
Oklahoma Works With The Federal Government In Tax Refund Intercepts
Tax refund intercepts are exactly what they sound like. The tax refund, federal or state, that a parent is expecting to receive is intercepted and used to pay child support obligations instead. If state assistance has been paid out to the child’s family, those benefits will be reimbursed before funds collected are released to the custodial parent.
The program at the federal level is called the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program. The “offset” is the intercepted tax refund. The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) works with the Financial Management System (FMS) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These offices work in concert with state offices. In Oklahoma, that is the Child Support Services (CSS) arm of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS).
Because of this coordination between state and federal government, this collection tool must be used through DHS.
Procedure With The Department Of Human Services
In order to use this tool, a parent seeking to enforce a child support order must have an open case with the Department of Human Services. There are a couple of ways that this may happen.
The first involves a parent and child who have obtained social benefits through DHS. This can include benefits through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or SoonerCare. SoonerCare is Oklahoma’s Medicaid program.
At one time, this tax refund intercept program was restricted to child support debts owed in public assistance cases. That changed in 1984. It is now available to include child support debts in non-assistance cases.
If the family is receiving benefits, there must be an arrearage of at least $150 to qualify for a tax return intercept. If the child received only SoonerCare benefits or no benefits, the arrearage must be at least $500.
When a custodial parent with no previous assistance history for their child has an arrearage of at least $500, the parent must open a case with DHS to request a tax refund intercept. It is worth noting that DHS and the other federal agencies involved are often backlogged.
Your Attorney Can Help Coordinate Tax Refund Intercepts
It can take a long time for the intercept to come through. Sometimes, because of backlogs, DHS may drop the ball. It can really be worth it to have your own Okmulgee child support attorney work with DHS to coordinate the tax intercept and any other collection tool that you may be seeking through DHS.
As long as the non-paying parent has a tax refund coming, the custodial parent may intercept it. This is true even if the non-paying parent has remarried and is filing taxes with their new spouse.
Bring your questions and concerns about child support in your case to an experienced Okmulgee family law attorney. We are here to help.
Free Consultation With An Okmulgee Attorney
Call 918-756-9600 now for a free consultation with a qualified Okmulgee attorney at Wirth Law Office – Okmulgee.
Or, enter your legal question or concern in the firm at the top right of this page, and one of our attorneys will email or call you.