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State Accounting

Offset Program - Held Payments

This program is a method used by the State of Iowa to collect money owed to the State under Chapter 8A.504 of the Code of Iowa. The Iowa Code directs the Department of Administrative Services, State Accounting Enterprise to establish and maintain a procedure to collect against any claim owed to a person by a state agency, and then apply the money owed to the person against the debt owed by the person to the State of Iowa.

Payments Held by the Federal Government  flag

Contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 or visit the IRS website "Where's My Refund?" for your refund status if the Federal Government has offset (held) your federal tax refund.  The Offset Program staff is not provided any information by the Federal Government and is unable to respond to your requests.

Agency Contact Information

If you received a letter of notification that your money has been offset, the offsetting Agency was identified in your letter.  Click here to locate contact information for the Agency you need to communicate with.  Agency Contact Information.

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

If your money has been offset (held), the Frequently Asked Questions below will help you sort out what you need to know and who to contact. Or if you prefer, you can view a printable version of the Held Payments FAQ.


Q1: Can the Offset Program hold my federal tax refund?
A1:

No, the Offset Program does not hold federal income tax refunds. If your federal tax refund has been held, contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 or go to the IRS web site "Where's My Refund?" for more information.


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Q2:
I want to contact the agency that held my money. How?
A2:

A listing of agency information is located at this web site: das.sae.iowa.gov/offsets/agencycontacts.html


Q3: How do I find out who is holding my money and why?
A3:

If your money has been held, then you received a letter containing the name of the agency that held your money. You must contact that agency to find out why you owe the money. The Offset Program staff does not have access to the details of the debt and cannot answer your questions about why you owe money. They also cannot change your status within the program. If you want to contact the agency that held your money, their information is located on our "Agency Contacts" web page.


Q4:
Does the Offset Program staff know why my money is being held?
A4:

NO.  The Offset Program staff does not know why your money is being held. The only information they received from the offsetting agency was your social security number or federal tax ID number and the amount of money owed. No other information was provided to them. You must contact the agency identified in your notification letter to find out why your money is being held.


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Q5:
I worked out a Payment Plan with the agency that held my money. Is it
true the Offset Program staff has to release my money now that I have
told them ?
A5:

Because it is the offsetting agency's determination to hold or release money that matched on the Offset Program, it is released only when that agency contacts the Offset Program staff and instructs them to release your money. The Offset Program staff has no authority to release your funds unless authorized to do so by the offsetting agency. Because of that, the offsetting agency you have a Payment Plan with must contact the Offset Program staff to release your funds, not the person who had money held.


Q6: I want to appeal my debt. Who do I contact?
A6:

If you want to appeal your debt or the amount of your debt, you must contact the agency that placed you with the program. Their agency name is located in the letter you received stating your money was being held. If you need agency contact information, it is located on the "Agency Contacts" web page. The Offset Program Staff does not have the authority to resolve these issues.


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Q7: When should I contact the Offset Program staff instead of the agency that held
my money?
A7:
There are two specific reasons why you should call the Offset Program Staff:

If you filed a joint or combined tax return and your money has been held. If you wish to request a division of your tax refund, you should contact the agency that held your money or the the Offset Program staff.

OR

You received a Notice of Held Warrant instead of a payment. In this case, you can contact the Offset Program staff by either email or by phone to find out what agency is holding your money. The Offset Program Staff cannot answer your questions about why the payment was held because they do not receive that information, but they are able to direct you to the offsetting agency. The offsetting agency (the agency that held your money) will be able to tell you how much you owe and why you owe it. The agency will then contact the Offset Program staff with instructions on how to process the held payment.

When leaving a telephone message for the Offset Program staff, state your name, telephone number including area code, and your social security number or federal tax ID number. Speak clearly and slowly so your information will be accurately understood.

Because email is not considered secure, do not include your social security number or federal tax ID number when emailing the Offset Program staff. To send an email, click here: Offset Program Staff.

The Offset Program staff is unable to change your status in the program or to access information about why you owe money. You must contact the agency that held your money to discuss these issues.


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Q8: What is a "state agency"?
A8:

"State agency" means a board, commission, department, including the department of administrative services, or other administrative office or unit of the state of Iowa or any other state entity reported in the Iowa comprehensive annual financial report, or a political subdivision of the state, or an office or unit of a political subdivision. "State agency" does include the clerk of the district court as it relates to the collection of a qualifying debt. "State agency" does not include the general assembly or the governor.


Q9: I don't agree with the method of this program. Who do I tell?
A9:

If you want to contest the validity of the right to offset, you can file a written notice of protest. Mail your letter to:

DAS - Legal Counsel, 3rd Fl
Hoover State Office Building
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

The authorization for this program is located in Chapter 8A.504 of the Code of Iowa.


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March 2010