Treasury Offset Program

  1. What is the Treasury Offset Program (TOP)?
  2. What kinds of debts are eligible for collection under this program?
  3. How can I avoid having my federal income tax refund intercepted for payment of my state tax debt?
  4. How will I know if my federal tax refund or payment was intercepted to pay a state debt?
  5. My spouse and I filed a joint federal tax return and our refund was intercepted for a debt that my spouse owes. How can I get my portion of the refund back?
  6. If I have a payment plan with DOR, will my federal payment or refund still be taken?
  7. What if I don't give you permission to take my federal payment?


  1. What is the Treasury Offset Program (TOP)?

    State and federal law authorize the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) to enter into agreements with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Department of Treasury to intercept, or offset, federal tax refunds and federal payments for state tax debts.

  2. What kinds of debts are eligible for collection under this program?

    Any Wisconsin tax debt can be collected through TOP.

  3. How can I avoid having my federal income tax refund intercepted for payment of my state tax debt?

    Prior to submitting debts to the U.S. Department of Treasury for inclusion in TOP, the department is required to notify each debtor that it intends to refer the debt for federal offset. If you receive this notice, you have 60 days to do one of the following:

    1. Pay your debt in full. A payment coupon is attached to the top of each notice for your convenience.
    2. Provide proof of payment. If you believe that all or part of this debt has already been paid, send documentation to support your claim to the address or fax number shown on the notice.
    3. Provide bankruptcy information. The department will not submit your debt to TOP if you are protected by bankruptcy provisions. Notify us by sending evidence concerning your bankruptcy to the address shown on the notice. This evidence should include the case number, filing date, and the name of the court in which you filed your bankruptcy claim.
  4. How will I know if my federal tax refund or payment was intercepted to pay a state debt?

    After a federal offset occurs, the U.S. Department of Treasury will notify you that the offset has occurred. They will provide information regarding the amount and date of the offset, the state to which the offset was paid, and a contact in the state that can handle your concerns or questions regarding the debt that resulted in the refund offset.

  5. My spouse and I filed a joint federal tax return and our refund was intercepted for a debt that my spouse owes. How can I get my portion of the refund back?

    You must complete federal Form 8379 to get your share of the refund. To obtain the form, call the IRS at 1-800-829-3676, or you can download the form from the IRS website.

    If you have questions about the form, or need help completing it, call your local IRS office or call 1-800-829-1040. The completed Form 8379 should be mailed to the IRS center where you sent your original tax return.

  6. If I have a payment plan with DOR, will my federal payment or refund still be taken?

    Yes. The terms of your payment plan include collecting your state and federal payments and refunds.

    If your payment is a recurring federal payment and the offset is causing you a hardship, call 608-266-7879 or email DORDelinquentTaxIS&ECompl@revenue.wi.gov to discuss your options.

  7. What if I don't give you permission to take my federal payment?

    State and federal laws authorize the TOP Program. The department is not required to secure your permission prior to submitting your unpaid liability to TOP.

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Refund Interception Assistance
PO Box 8901
Madison, WI 53708-8901
Phone: (608) 266-7879
Fax: (608) 261-8978
Email: DORDelinquentTaxIS&ECompl@revenue.wi.gov

December 26, 2013