Why is my refund direct-deposit or check lower than the amount in Line?

Modified on Fri, 17 Feb 2023 at 03:53 AM

There are a number of possible reasons why the refund amount deposited is lower than the amount shown in Line (which was the amount submitted to the IRS from us). 

In some instances, the IRS may use part of your refund to pay for outstanding government debts you owe. Examples of this include: 

  • Previous tax liabilities
  • Past-due child support
  • Unemployment compensation owed to a state
  • Student direct loan repayments
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) loan repayments

If this happens, it will be handled by the Department of Treasury’s Bureau of Fiscal Services (BFS). If they take refund money to pay a debt, you will receive a notice from the BFS that will provide information about your original refund amount, offset amount, the agency receiving the payment and their contact information.

If your refund is less than expected you can use the IRS Where’s My Refund to learn more.

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