Can self-employed parents’ tax refunds go toward child support?

On Behalf of | Apr 16, 2024 | Family law

When a parent in Florida falls behind on child support payments, it can hurt the child.

To enforce payment, the state has various mechanisms. One involves intercepting tax refunds when a parent is self-employed and cannot have wages garnished in the traditional sense.

Tax refund interception

Tax refund interception is a method Florida uses to collect past-due child support payments. When a noncustodial parent falls behind on child support payments, the department can intercept the parent’s state and federal tax refunds. The state can direct this amount toward child support.

The federal Treasury Offset Program allows states to do this. In Florida, the Department of Revenue works with the IRS and the Florida Department of Financial Services.

Difficulties in wage garnishment

Self-employment can pose unique challenges in enforcing child support payments. Unlike individuals who receive regular paychecks from an employer, self-employed parents may not have a consistent income stream for direct garnishment. This lack of regular wages makes it difficult for traditional wage garnishment methods to be effective.

Other possibilities

Bank account levies, property liens, various license suspensions, passport denial and even imprisonment are other possible avenues to pursue. For example, if a noncustodial parent owns real estate, the Department of Revenue can place a lien on their property. If a sale happens, child support gets subtracted from the proceeds before the parent receives any money.

Intercepting tax refunds for child support enforcement plays a role in ensuring that children receive the financial support they need. In cases of self-employed parents, this mechanism is often necessary.