An Injured Spouse is different from an Innocent Spouse
An “Injured Spouse” should not be confused with an “Innocent Spouse.” A taxpayer who has filed a joint return with their spouse where all or part of their share of a refund (very common over-payment) was applied against their spouse’s past debts such as…
- Unpaid student loans
- Unpaid spousal support payments
- Unpaid child support payments
- Unpaid state income taxes
- Unpaid or past due federal taxes
…meets the basic qualifications to file a claim with the IRS to be ruled as an “injured spouse” and request the refund of the their share of the over-payment be refunded to the spouse who did not owe the debt(s) of the other spouse.
Requirements for those wanting to make an injured spouse claim:
- You have filed a joint tax return;
- You and your spouse have reported wage or interest income;
- You have reported and/or made tax payments
- (federal income tax, estimated tax payments, claimed earned income credit, or other refundable credit);
- You are due a refund that can be or has been applied against spouse’s past-due debts;
- You are not required to pay the past due debt(s) – only your spouse is responsible;
- You must fill out and submit IRS Form 8379 to attest to your “injured” status.
Take Action – File Injured Spouse Claim and Allocation Form 8379
If the IRS has applied your over-payment portion (your part of the tax refund) against your spouse’s past-due liabilities you need to fill out and submit IRS Form 8379 (Injured Spouse Claim and Allocation). IRS Form 8379 requests identifying information for you and your spouse, and specific facts necessary to determine how much of the tax, and any potential refund amount is allocated to each spouse. The IRS will make the calculation that determines the refund allocation between you and your spouse.
When and how should I file?
With your joint return – If you are concerned about a return not yet filed, and you desire to pro-actively head-off the IRS from using your portion of an over-payment (tax refund) for retirement of debts owed by your spouse, you should attach Form 8379 to your return when filing your joint return. Attach the Form 8379 to your joint tax return in the order of the attachment sequence number and TYPE or HAND PRINT “Injured Spouse” in the upper left corner of the return.
When you have already filed – If you meet the requirements of an injured spouse for a return that’s already been filed and you are worried that the IRS may use your portion of an over-payment for your spouse’s past and separate debts, you should file IRS Form 8379 with the IRS Service Center by mailing or electronically-filing Form 8379 by itself to the same IRS Service Center where you lived when you filed your joint return. It is good practice to include copies of all Form W-2, Form W-2G, and any Form 1099-R showing income tax withheld for both spouses.
Innocent Spouse and Injured Spouse Links:
Get some help —Make that call!
The Tax Resolution Lawyers at Vincent W. Davis & Associates, provide a no-obligation, confidential consultation and have appointments available for evenings and weekends. Moreover, we accept all major credit cards and can make other payment arrangements so that we can help you get your tax problems straightened out without adding additional layers of financial burden on you and your family. We have seven convenient offices throughout Southern California, including Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County. To schedule a confidential free consultation with one of our Tax Resolution Lawyers, call 626-446-6442.
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