Tax refunds may be taken to repay jobless benefits

BY THE TRI-CITY HERALDDecember 7, 2012 

The Employment Security Department is notifying more than 25,000 people this week that their 2012 income tax refunds may be intercepted to repay unemployment benefits they shouldn't have received.

The department recently was approved to participate in the federal Treasury Offset Program, which allows Employment Security to cross-match its computer files with the Internal Revenue Service and flag individuals who are delinquent in paying back benefit overpayments.

Federal law also allows states to use the program to recover benefits from people who didn't disclose earnings they received while claiming benefits.

Employment Security only will intercept refunds for those who are past due in repaying what they owe. The 25,000 people receiving notices this week owe a total of $61.7 million.

A year from now, employers with delinquent taxes will be added to Washington's Treasury Offset Program, in time for filing 2013 tax returns.

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