What Is IRS Injured spouse relief – Form 8379
If you file an income tax return jointly with your spouse and apply all or part of your Injured spouse relief – Form 8379 refund to his or her unsecured debts, you can file Form 8379 if you later learn that the refund check was lost or cashed by the IRS. However, if you are currently claiming innocent spouse relief, then you should explore more information on innocent spouse relief by referring to the links provided.
If you file jointly and your tax refund goes towards (or is expected to go towards) your spouse’s past-due federal tax, past-due state tax, child or spousal support, federal non-tax debt (like a student loan) you may qualify for injured spouse relief.
Types of Injured spouse Relief
- Innocent Spouse Relief
- Separation of Liability Relief
- Equitable Relief
Innocent Spouse Relief
You filed a joint return that’s been determined to have an error. The good news is, the IRS found that the issue of your joint return was solely attributable to your spouse’s action or inaction. As long as you can demonstrate that (Injured spouse relief – Form 8379) at the time you signed and submitted the joint return you didn’t know about this error and there was no reason for you to have known about it such as if it wasn’t brought up in conversation before filing then you are not liable for any additional amounts owed on the list at hand.
If you don’t qualify for innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief, you may still be considered as an equitable relief case by the IRS if you meet all other qualifications which are incorporated in Publication 971. For more information about qualifying for equitable relief and what factors will be taken into consideration when determining whether it’s appropriate to grant this type of tax relief.
Separation of Liability Relief
You’re divorced or legally separated from the spouse with whom you filed your last tax return. You haven’t lived in the same household as your ex-spouse for any extended length of time during the past year (Injured spouse relief – Form 8379). To receive tax relief, you’ll need to prove that you didn’t have actual knowledge of a given amount on your taxes last year, even if you signed off on them unless you can clearly show they were due to extenuating circumstances beyond your control.
Who Can File Form 8379: Injured Spouse Allocation?
If a spouse has fallen behind on child support, alimony payments, taxes, federal non-tax debt such as student loans, or certain unemployment compensation debts, the Department of Treasury is authorized to take a taxpayer’s refund and apply it toward the past-due debt.
If you are still technically married for instance but have separated from your spouse and have set up an individual taxpayer identification number then you can fill out Form 8379 to request that the IRS release their share of a joint tax refund.
Considerations When Filing Form 8379: Injured Spouse Allocation
If you live in a community property state, the rules may differ. In general, these states consider debts and assets acquired during a marriage jointly owned among the spouses.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. Since each state has their own laws when it comes to community property, the IRS uses the state’s own set of guidelines for determining injured and non-injured parties (Injured spouse relief – Form 8379) when disbursing a refund that would have been kept by an injured party if they were in fact injured parties. Community property states include Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana , Nevada , New Mexico, Texas , Washington , and Wisconsin .
Not: Injured spouse relief is not the same as innocent spouse relief. This is a separate form that can be filed if one spouse has been made responsible for back taxes, interest, or penalties from improperly reported tax filings.
Filling out the form
- Part I is a series of yes-or-no questions to determine whether someone really is an injured spouse and, if so, how to proceed
- Part II provides information about the joint return that produced the refund in question
- Part III is for determining exactly how much of the refund (Injured spouse relief – Form 8379) is attributable to the injured spouse and should be released by the IRS
- Part IV is for use only if the form is being filed separately from a tax return; the injured spouse signs and dates this section
What is the difference between an injured spouse and an innocent spouse
A variety of situations may be present, but typically:
- Gilt Fund – Meaning, Features, Risk
- An injured spouse (Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation) is asking the IRS not to apply his or her part of a refund from a joint return to a past-due debt owed by the other spouse. Form 8379 can be e-filed.
- An innocent spouse (Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief) is asking the IRS not to hold him or her liable for tax resulting from actions of the other spouse in a joint return. Form 8857 is not transmitted with an e-filed return but must be paper-filed separately.
How To Avoid Common Mistakes
Mistakes may delay your refund or result in notices being sent to you.
● Make sure to enclose copies of all Form(s) W-2, W-2G and any Form(s) 1099 for both spouses showing income tax withheld to prevent a delay in processing your allocation.
● Clearly write “Injured Spouse” in the upper left corner of page 1 of your joint return.
● Any dependency exemptions must be entered in whole (Injured spouse relief – Form 8379) numbers. Do not use fractions.
● Make sure the debt is subject to offset (for example, legally enforceable past-due federal tax, state income tax, child or spousal support, or other federal nontax debt such as a student loan).