California Unemployment Insurance Benefits

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The EDD may have a Judgment against you that you don't even know about. Learn how to find out.

Did you receive a letter from the EDD notifying you that they intend to take your tax refund?

Acting promptly is important if you want any chance to prevent interception of your tax refund in the future.

My Income Tax Refund Was Taken.

What Can I Do About It?

Your income tax refund was taken by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) because the EDD claims you owe them money for a past overpayment of unemployment insurance benefits.

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One way the EDD has to collect that debt is through the Treasury Offset Program (TOP). This is a federal law that allows the EDD to collect on final, unpaid, and legally enforceable unemployment insurance benefit fraud overpayment debts. The law permits the EDD to notify the IRS that you have been overpaid unemployment insurance benefits, and it allows the IRS to send your income tax refund directly to the EDD to help pay off your debt.

Legally Enforceable Debt

The EDD can only collect on a legally enforceable debt. This can be a judgment that the EDD has obtained against you in a Superior Court in California. It is usually filed in Sacramento County Superior Court, which is where the EDD home office is located. To find out if a judgment has been entered against you go to the Sacramento County Superior Court website and search for cases by your first and last name. There is a charge of $1.00 for each search, and you will need to set up an account first, but it is easy and well worth it to find out if you have a judgment against you. I also recommend that you print or download the documents you find in your Court file. If you do not find your case in the Sacramento County Superior Court online records, the EDD may have obtained a judgment against you in another County in California, perhaps in the County of your last known address with them. All Counties in California should have the ability to do an online search of records.

60-Day Notice


Before using the TOP, the EDD must notify you at least 60 days in advance that they intend to take your federal income tax return. This 60-day notice must advise you that you have the right to present evidence that all or part of the debt is not legally enforceable or is not a covered unemployment compensation debt. The EDD must consider the evidence you present and determine if the debt is legally enforceable. U.S.C. Title 26, Section 6402(f)(3). For more information on how the EDD can use the TOP program to take your tax refund click here.

Interest Continues to Accrue

The EDD can continue taking your tax refund until the debt is paid in full. Keep in mind that the debt is also accruing interest at the government permitted 10% per year, so the amount you owe next year may be even greater than this year. Therefore, it is important that you act promptly to stop the debt from getting bigger.

What Can You Do?

Having your income tax refund intercepted by the EDD may be the first you learned that you owed money to the EDD. If so, give us a call to discuss what options you have to prevent your tax refund from being taken in the future. Our office has been successful in getting judgments reversed, and money already taken by the EDD has been returned to our clients. You can reach us from anywhere inside or outside the State of California at 650.320.1616 or email us at

For more information on how the EDD can use the TOP program to take your tax refund click here.