A lot of taxpayers are surprised to file their taxes expecting a refund, only to find that the IRS is keeping their refund this year to apply to past due tax liability. In some cases, the taxpayers may not even have previously been aware of the outstanding tax debt. For instance, a spouse (or former spouse) may be surprised to learn of a tax liability he or she never knew existed. There are steps that can be taken to find out what is happening, and in some cases, the taxpayers may find that they are not responsible for the debt. In cases where someone is responsible for a tax liability, there are options to work out your situation even if you are not in a position to full pay the balance. This is not a scenario that you want to embark on alone, however, so be sure to seek competent counsel from someone you can meet in person and ask the questions you need to know to make the best possible decision based on your specific set of facts.