We Demand That the Stimulus Package Address Child Support Evasion Tactics
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The United States Congress and President have the ability to change the legislation.
Recently, President Trump signed the largest stimulus package in United States history to help families and businesses dealing with economic struggles from the Coronavirus. Under the law, most individuals and families will receive a stimulus check. These checks will be distributed regardless of whether the individual owes money to federal or state governments such as back taxes or other payments. There is one exception. Individuals that owe 60 or more days in back child support will either not receive a stimulus check or they will receive a reduced amount with the IRS intercepting the payments and in the same way that income tax refund checks are intercepted, re-routing that money to the parents who are owed back child support.
As a step one, this is a great victory. We thank the federal government for stepping up to the plate and acknowledging the debts that these parents owe, especially in a time when so many are feeling a sense of financial uncertainty.
However, parents that are owed back child support are already struggling with maintaining the financial and well-being responsibilities of their children without the assistance of the other parent. In these unprecedented and uncertain times, those struggles are exacerbated by the extraordinary status of our economy. Yes, the money needs to be paid to the parent that is owed but the stimulus does not address willful child support evaders.
Child support evaders work as 1099 workers - gig workers and ride-share drivers are some examples, they work under the table, in cash-based business and more - all to avoid paying child support. They frequently do not file a tax return or they collect 1099's and thus are never expected to receive a tax refund to be offset. The stimulus check follow the same IRS offset rules which means that children and the custodial parents who are raising them are still left in the lurch. At a time like this - children need support more than ever. Parents who are rightfully owed past due support need that money now.
We demand the legislators and administration continue to put children first with this stimulus offset and for any and all stimulus payments throughout this crisis.
We demand that people who don’t have a return filing obligation and use the "non-filer" tool to provide basic information to the IRS to receive the Economic Impact Payment, and who owe back child support also have their stimulus checks redirected to the parent to whom they owe child support so that they can no longer evade their obligation.
We demand that The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service launch a similar web tool that will allow those owed back child support to provide information to the IRS when they are able to report off-the-books employment and 1099 gig work of the non-payor so that stimulus payments are rightfully diverted, despite non-filer applications not being completed by willful child support evaders.
We demand that enforcement measures for child support do not cease during this crisis.
We demand that child support payors who claim to have reduced or lost income during this crisis, file for unemployment benefits as a condition to receiving a stimulus benefit.
We demand that business owners who set their own salary show proof that they have applied for Payroll Protection to avoid salary reduction within their business if they claim a reduction in salary for the purposes of child support modifications or non-payment.
The needs that children have will not end during this crisis and parents need the child support payments more than ever. Children now home during the day are requiring more food, utilities, and other resources. Rents and mortgages are still due, and bills must still be paid. Now is not the time to slow enforcement procedures.
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