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Injured Spouse Tax Refund Allocation

Refund Claim

The Injured Spouse Tax Refund Allocation mainly applies to couples who file or eFile (a spouse can claim tax refund allocation when preparing and eFiling income taxes on federal or IRS income tax returns with the filing status Married Filing Jointly. In other words, the spouse's claim is limited to portions of the IRS Tax Refund.

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 debt's 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.

Types of debt the IRS might be entitled to pay via the Treasury Offset Program, or TOP,  by reducing the income tax refund as a result of a joint tax return:

  • Non-tax debts with Federal Agencies
  • State income tax obligations
  • Past-due child support payments
  • Student loan
  • Spousal support
  • Unemployment compensation debts (e.g. compensation paid due to fraud and/or contributions owed to a state fund that weren't paid).
  • Take this online interview below to determine if you should file an injured spouse claim or not. The results of this interview might differ from your actual claim: 

Injured Spouse Claim Interview

In order to determine if your debt might be paid or offset via a reduced tax refund, you can contact either the office or agency you have the debt with or contact the Bureau of the Fiscal Services or call 1.800.304.3107 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. In order to claim your tax refund back, you need to file form 8379 either on when you prepare and eFile your income tax return, or by filing the From 8379 Injured Spouse Allocation separately after you have filed your tax return:

  • File Form 8379 when you file or eFile your married joint return.
  • File Form 8379 with your amended - Form 1040X - joint tax return (Note: write "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 other 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 down 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 W-2, W-2G, 1099 forms, 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 resided in a community property state during the given tax year, the IRS will factor in state community property law, as not all debts are subject to a tax refund offset.
  • Find further detailed Instructions for Form 8379 attached to the form or take the online interview below.

Should You File A Form 8379 Claim?

Keep in mind that there is a difference between an Injured Spouse Claim compared to the Innocent Spouse Relief Claim.

If you file Form 8379 separately, mail your form 8379 with the attachments listed above to one of the following US Postal Service addresses: Internal Revenue Service, P.O. Box 120053, Covington, KY 41012. By FEDEX or UPS send to: IRS , 201 W. Rivercenter Blvd., Stop 840F, Covington, KY 41011. Alternatively, fax the form and attachments to 855-233-8558. DO NOT mail your Form 8379 to any other IRS address.

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