On top of signaling the impending arrival of summer, there is another reason why so many in Plantation look forward to springtime: It is tax season! Every year, countless local residents likely anticipate receiving a big check from Uncle Sam. Some may plan to use that money to pay off debts (such as child support arrears). Yet if potential return recipients have no intention of using those funds to fulfill their child support obligations, those who are expecting it need not worry; the law allows for that money to go directly to them. 

Per the Office of Child Support Enforcement, one can petition that the U.S. Treasury Department to intercept the tax return of the person that owes him or her child support arrears and withhold all or part of it to cover those expenses. Those funds are then diverted to the appropriate local OCSE office, and then given to the support obligee. Not every case, however, qualifies for this Federal Tax Refund Offset program. To be eligible one must first know whether the child support obligor will be receiving a refund at all. If he or she will, then withholding funds is only an option if he or she owes at least $150 in arrears and the custodial parent receives financial assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. If the custodial parent does not receive such assistance, then the obligor must owe more than $500 in arrears for a case to qualify for this option. 

Given that information shared by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that only 68.5 percent of the $32.9 billion owed in child support in 2013 was collected, those that rely on such support may want to strongly consider enforcement options like the Federal Tax Refund Offset program to help ensure their abilities to provide for their kids.