Usually, if you already know that you have overdue taxes, child support owed, and/or student loan debt that you have accrued over time, then you should somewhat expect the IRS to seize most, or all, of your tax refund. If you happen to be unaware of the debt, or neglect to think your debt is a high priority, then the IRS will typically send you a notice via mail or email before the filing period. The notice should inform you that if you do not pay back whatever debt you owe, whether in full or in parts, then they will feel obligated to seize your tax refund for however much they need in order to settle your debt for you. It is basically them saying they do not trust you enough because you've let your debt grow without doing anything about it. If you are still unsure about your tax refund status, then you should call the IRS and ask them upfront.