(Memphis) If you are like Ray Hayes and owe child support, but pay it every month faithfully trying to catch-up, you may have the same question for the IRS:
“Why would you take my whole income tax refund check?” said Hayes.
Hayes says It just doesn't seem right, “I feel if I am working the full year and paying my child support on time and paying some on my arrearage every week, I should at least get some of my income tax.”
Unfortunately, one thing is standing in his way.
“State law,” said Family Law Attorney Miles Mason.
Mason says if you owe child support, the State doesn't need your permission to take your tax refund, it’s just going to do it. However, “Any parent that owes child support can contest the calculation of the arrearage.”
When the state decides you owe child support, it will send you a letter asking if you would like an administrative hearing.
Mason says you should always say “yes” because it’s your chance to contest how much money you owe.
“The judge had no reason to set my back-pay at ten thousand dollars,” said Hayes. “He was like ‘Uh, its been four years, you owe ten thousand dollars.’ It put me in debt instantly even though I wasn`t working at that point.”
At that point, Mason says Hayes should have requested an administrative hearing if he wanted any chance of getting a tax refund in the years to come.
Mason says, bottom line, if you are backed-up on child support payments, you are not going to get a tax refund unless you can reduce the amount you owe to probably less than a thousand dollars.
If you want to reduce the amount you owe in child support, Mason says you can always ask the state for an administrative review of your file.
However, you may also want to seek help from an attorney.