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What is Notice of Intent to Offset

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Alisson Ward

Tax Professional | Content Writer

Notice of Intent to Offset

Understanding the Notice of Intent to Offset and Protecting Your Tax Refund

Receiving your tax refund is a moment of joy and relief. But what if you’re confronted with a Notice of Intent to Offset from the IRS? This notice can be perplexing and concerning, as it signals that your expected refund might be diverted to cover an outstanding debt. Understanding the implications of this notice and knowing your rights is crucial.

Decoding the Notice of Intent to Offset

A Notice of Intent to Offset is a formal notification from the IRS, indicating their intention to withhold all or a portion of your tax refund to settle a debt owed to a federal or state agency. Here’s what you should be aware of:

  • Types of Debts: This debt could pertain to various federal or state obligations, including unpaid taxes, defaulted student loans, delinquent child support payments, or other federal agency debts.
  • Offset Amount: The notice specifies the amount of your tax refund that the IRS intends to use to clear the outstanding debt. This amount can vary based on the nature and size of the debt.
  • Prior Notifications: Before issuing a Notice of Intent to Offset, the IRS typically sends several notifications, informing you about the debt and providing an opportunity to address it. Disregarding these notices can result in the offset.

Safeguarding Your Tax Refund

Receiving a Notice of Intent to Offset can be distressing, but you do have rights and options to protect your tax refund:

  • Debt Verification: Start by verifying the accuracy of the debt mentioned in the notice. Ensure it’s legitimate and that you indeed owe the stated amount. If you believe there’s an error, contact the relevant agency mentioned in the notice to dispute the debt.
  • Review Request: You can request a review of the offset decision. If you can demonstrate financial hardship or other exceptional circumstances, the IRS may consider adjusting the offset amount or postponing it.
  • Exploring Settlement: Investigate settlement options for the debt. For instance, you might be able to negotiate a payment plan or an Offer in Compromise to resolve the debt, preventing the offset.
  • Appealing the Decision: If you disagree with the outcome of the review, you have the right to appeal the decision. This allows for a further evaluation of your case.

Facing a Notice of Intent to Offset demands a thoughtful evaluation of your options and a proactive approach to secure your tax refund.


Receiving a Notice of Intent to Offset can be a source of stress, but it’s crucial to remember that you have rights and options. Whether it’s verifying the debt, requesting a review, exploring settlement options, or pursuing an appeal, taking proactive steps is essential to protect your tax refund.

Navigating this situation can be complex, and that’s where professional assistance can be invaluable. Consider seeking advice from experts who specialize in tax-related matters like Priority Tax Relief to ensure your rights are upheld and that you have the best chance of retaining your hard-earned tax refund.

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