Injured Spouse Tax Refund Allocation
The term injured raises doubts here; what does it mean? If you e-File an MFJ tax return and all or part of your portion of the IRS Tax Refund will be applied to offset your spouse's legally enforceable overdue IRS federal taxes, state income tax, unpaid or overdue child support payments, unemployment compensation debts, or other federal non-tax debt as student loans, etc. In this case, the IRS issues an offset (via a notice of offset) for federal tax debts. The Treasury Office of Fiscal Service issues this notice for past-due obligations.
Here is how you DoIT on eFile.com.
In comparison, the Innocent Spouse Relief applies to IRS income tax debt for current or previous spouses.
If you prepared and filed or e-Filed a married filing joint income tax return and if one spouse is not responsible for the current or past debts of the other spouse, then the spouse might be entitled to request his or her portion of the IRS tax refund back from the IRS in case the IRS has offset the tax refund to pay the spouse's debt.
The following are types of debt the IRS might be entitled to take from your refund and pay via the Treasury Offset Program - TOP - by reducing the income tax refund as a result of a joint tax return:
Not sure if you qualify as an injured spouse? Take the Injured Spouse Interview:
Injured Spouse Claim Interview
In order to determine if your debt might be paid or offset via a reduced tax refund, you can contact the office or agency you have the debt with or contact the Bureau of the Fiscal Services online or by calling 1.800.304.3107 (TOP) or TTY/TDD 866.297.0517.
If you believe you should not owe the debt or if you are disputing the amount taken from the refund, contact the IRS only if your original tax refund amount shown on the notice from the Bureau of the Fiscal Services differs from the tax refund amount shown on your tax return.
Injured Spouse Tax Refund Claim
You can request or claim your portion of a tax refund back from the IRS if you e-Filed or filed a married filing joint tax return and you are not responsible for your spouse's debt. When you prepare and file with eFile.com, we will help you generate and complete the proper forms. The app will help complete and file Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation, in this situation. The form will be filed with your tax return, due on Tax Day. Otherwise, in order to claim your tax refund back, you will have to file Form 8379 separately after you have filed your tax return.
- File Form 8379 with your joint tax return amendment (note: write or enter "Injured Spouse" in the top left corner of the first page of the joint return).
- Submit the form later (the IRS can process Form 8379 before an offset occurs) or after you have received a letter from the IRS or another agency about the tax refund offset. It might take up to 8 weeks for the IRS to process the form by itself. Make sure you read the instructions below.
- If you file Form 8379 by itself, you must write or enter both spouses' social security numbers in the same order as they showed on your joint return. Only the injured spouse needs to sign the form and be sure you include your tax forms (W-2, W-2G, 1099, etc.) to show federal income tax withholding for both spouses if applicable. You do NOT need to attach the previously filed tax return.
- The IRS will calculate the injured spouse's tax refund share. If you reside in a community property state during the given tax year, the IRS would factor in state community property law, as not all debts are subject to a tax refund offset.
- Instructions on how you DoIT on eFile.com.
- It generally takes 14 weeks for the IRS to process the claim and issue the refund or 11 weeks if it is e-filed with your return. If the form is sent by itself, it can take eight weeks.
Keep in mind that there is a difference between an Injured Spouse Claim compared to an Innocent Spouse Relief Claim.
Where and How to Mail Form 8379
If you file Form 8379 separately, mail your Form 8379 with the attachments listed above to the IRS address based on where you live.
If you were unable to e-file this form with your return or it was not included for any reason, you can mail it in separately. It must be mailed within three years of the original due date if you expect a refund or within two years if you paid taxes that you need to be offset. When mailing, include applicable copies of your W-2 for both spouses and any 1099 forms or other statement forms you both received.
Refer to the table below to determine how, when, and where to file Form 8379.
By itself, after filing your tax return
You might also seek assistance from the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Office and consider filing Form 911, the request for taxpayer advocate service assistance form. Alternatively, you may be able to fax the form and attachments to 855-233-8558
More Information on Marriage, Divorce/Separation, & Taxes
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