Sometimes tax refunds are taken for debt that is not owed to the IRS. The most common examples are child support debt, student loan debt, and state tax debts. When refunds are taken for non-IRS debt, it is done through the Treasury Offset Program (TOP).
Once a state or federal agency puts a debt into TOP, the IRS has no power to decide whether the debt is valid. The IRS must pay the IRS refund to the agency. If you disagree that you owe the debt or with the taking of your refund, you have to dispute it with the agency that put the debt into TOP. Read more about the Treasury Offset Program.
You can call the Treasury Offset Program at 1-800-304-3107 to see if there is a debt under your social security number.
If you you are married and have debt in TOP that is only owed by your spouse, think about filing an Injured Spouse claim with your tax return.