Treasury Offset Program (TOP)
What is the Treasury Offset Program and How Does It Work?
How Does It Work?
Payment agencies prepare and certify payment vouchers to Fiscal Service and disbursing officials at other federal agencies that are non-Treasury disbursed (such as the Department of Defense), who then disburse payments. The payment vouchers contain information about the payment including the name and Tax Identification Number (TIN) of the recipient.
Before an eligible federal payment is disbursed to a payee, disbursing officials compare the payment information with debtor information, which has been supplied by the creditor agency, in Fiscal Service's delinquent debtor database. If the payee's name and TIN match the name and TIN of a debtor, the disbursing official offsets (withholds) the payment, in whole or in part, to satisfy the debt, to the extent legally allowed.
Fiscal Service transmits amounts collected through offset to the appropriate creditor agencies. Fiscal Service maintains information about the delinquent debt in the TOP delinquent debtor database and continues to offset eligible federal payments until the creditor agency suspends or terminates debt collection or offset activity for the debt.
A creditor agency will suspend collection if the debt is subject to a bankruptcy stay or if other reasons justify suspension. A creditor agency will terminate collection of a debt if it is paid in full, compromised, discharged, or if other reasons justify termination.
Where Does the Fiscal Service Get the Authority to Offset Federal Payments?
If you have questions regarding the offset of your federal tax refund or offset of another U.S. government-issued payment, you can call our Treasury Offset Program (TOP) Call Center to obtain agency contact information during our customer service hours.