How to Find Out If a Tax Return for Back Child Support Has Been Made


When a couple separates and a child is involved, one party or the other is ordered to pay child support to help support that child. Some people, however, do their best to avoid having to pay and will sometimes quit their job, work under the table or simply not make the payments. When this happens, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will generally step in and withhold the person's tax refund so the legal obligation is paid.

  • Contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Anytime a tax return is filed, the IRS will determine if you are responsible for any debts that have been unpaid, such as back taxes or back child support. Since these types of debts are court ordered, or legally owed, the IRS has the authorization to withhold your tax refund to pay back these types of debts. However, if they are going to do so, then the IRS must contact you in writing stating what they are withholding for that reason. Adjustments will be made to the amount you receive as a return of overpaid taxes.

  • Contact your local child support enforcement agency. In many cases, child support is not paid directly between the parties. In many states, child support enforcement agencies act as the go-between. The payer pays the child support agency and the child support agency pays the payee. In other states, child support enforcement only gets involved if there is a nonpayment issue. Regardless of which case applies to your state, you can contact your local child support enforcement agency to find out if you will be receiving child support from the payer's tax return.

  • Check "Where's My Refund?" on the IRS website. If you are ever in doubt about the status of your refund, the "Where's My Refund?" function on the IRS website is available to check on the status of your return. You will be able to view when you can expect to be paid your refund and even see if there have been any adjustments made to your refund. This will not help, however, if you are trying to see if money has been withheld from another party to pay you.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are expecting back child support, your child support enforcement agency is your best resource to find out if you have income tax return withholdings coming your way.
  • Do not pretend to be someone you are not. Falsely obtaining tax information on another person can result in heavy consequences.


  • Photo Credit Daughter and mother image by Mykola Velychko from
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