Tax questions

February 20, 1999

Members of the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants are answering readers' tax questions through April 15.

I owe back child support to my former wife and get a payment from the earned income credit. I'm currently with another woman and we have children together. Will the money from my earned income credit be diverted to pay the back child support?

The answer could vary based on your particular facts and circumstances and may involve some complex legal issues. However, as a rule, federal income tax overpayments may be used to offset past-due child support or certain other federal nontax debts, such as student loans. If you received advanced earned income credit payments from your employer, it is possible that these amounts could also be subject to general garnishment rules. To determine whether offsets have been filed against you, contact the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Management Service. For advice regarding your legal rights and those of your former spouse, you should contact an attorney.

Christopher Getty, CPA PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

The above advice is for general purposes only and is not intended as legal, accounting or tax advice. Specific situations may vary.

To ask a tax question, call Sundial, The Sun's telephone information service, at 410-783-1800. Call 410-268-7736 in Anne Arundel County, 410-836-5028 in Harford County, 410-848-0338 in Carroll County. Using a Touch-Tone phone, punch in the four-digit code 6225 after the greeting. To submit questions by e-mail and access an online tax guide, go to The Sun's Web site at www.sunspot.net/tax.

Selected questions will be answered in the Business section. No questions will be answered personally.

Pub Date: 2/20/99

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