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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I receive a tax refund if I am currently making payments under an installment agreement or payment plan for a prior year’s federal taxes?

No. As a condition of your installment agreement, any refund due to you in a future year will be applied against the amount that you owe.

  • The IRS will automatically apply the refund to the taxes owed.
  • You must continue making your installment agreement payments as scheduled and in full because your refund is not applied toward your regular payment, and therefore any payments due under the installment agreement must still be made in full.
  • Regardless of whether you are participating in an installment agreement or payment plan with the IRS, you may not get all of your refund if you owe certain past-due amounts, such as federal tax, state tax, a student loan, or child support. For more information you can contact Financial Management Service (FMS) toll-free at 800-304-3107.

Are child support payments deductible by the payer or can the payer claim an exemption for the child?

Child support payments are not deductible by the payer.

  •  Child support payments are neither deductible by the payer nor taxable income to the payee.

The payer of child support may be able to claim the child as a dependent.

  •  The parent with whom the child lived for the greater part of the year is the custodial parent.
  •  Generally, the child is the qualifying child of the custodial parent, and the custodial parent is allowed an exemption for the child if the other dependency tests are met.
  •  The noncustodial parent  may claim an exemption for the child if the custodial parent signs a Form 8332 (PDF), Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent, or a substantially similar statement, and the noncustodial parent attaches it to his or her return.

What is a split refund?

A split refund lets you divide your refund, in any proportion you want, and direct deposit the funds in up to three different accounts with U.S. financial institutions.

If I claim my daughter as a dependent because she is a full-time college student, can she claim herself as a dependent when she files her return?

If you claim your daughter as a dependent on your income tax return, she cannot claim herself on her income tax return.

  • If an individual is filing his or her own tax return, and the individual can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return, the individual cannot claim his or her own personal exemption.
  • In this case, your daughter should check the box on her return indicating that someone else can claim her as a dependent.

What should I do if I made a mistake on my federal return that I have already filed?

It depends on the type of mistake that you made:

  • Many mathematical errors are caught in the processing of the tax return itself so you may not need to correct these mistakes.
  • If you did not attach a required schedule, the IRS will contact you and ask for the missing information.
  • If you did not report all your income or did not claim a credit, you should file an amended or corrected return using Form 1040X (PDF), Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.
  • When filing an amended or corrected return:
  • Include copies of any schedules that have been changed or any Form W-2 (PDF) you did not include. File 1040X only after you have filed your original return. Generally, for a credit or refund, you must file Form 1040X within 3 years (including extensions) after the date you timely filed your original return or within 2 years after the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.
  • Please allow the IRS 8-12 weeks to process an amended return.

How much does an unmarried dependent student have to make before he or she has to file an income tax return?

If you are an unmarried dependent student, you must file a tax return if your earned and/or unearned income exceeds certain limits.

To find these limits refer to Who Must File, Dependents in Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information.

Even if you do not have to file, you should file a federal income tax return if you can get money back (for example, had income tax withheld from your pay; you qualify for the earned income credit; you qualify for the additional child tax credit). See Who Should File in Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information, for more examples.

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