Form 8379: Injured Spouse Allocation

Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation, is a form filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by a spouse on a jointly filed tax return. It allows the "injured spouse" to reclaim their share of a tax refund that was seized by the IRS to offset a debt owed by the other spouse.

What's the Purpose of Form 8379?

When a couple files a joint tax return, both spouses are considered liable for any tax debts associated with the return. This means that even if only one spouse owes the debt, the IRS can seize the entire joint tax refund to settle the debt.

Form 8379 provides relief to the "injured spouse," the spouse who doesn't owe the debt but is negatively impacted by the seizure of the entire refund. By filing this form, the injured spouse can request the IRS to allocate the refund and release their fair share.

Who is an Injured Spouse?

You qualify as an injured spouse if all of the following apply:

  • You filed a joint tax return with your spouse.
  • The IRS applied your share of the joint tax refund to pay off a past-due debt owed by your spouse. This debt could be federal or state income tax, child support, student loans, or other federal non-tax debts.
  • You were not legally obligated to pay the debt.

How to File Form 8379?

A. When to File: You can file Form 8379 with your original tax return or separately after the IRS has seized your refund.

B. Where to File: You can mail the form to the IRS address mentioned in the instructions or electronically file it if you're submitting it with your tax return.

C. Required Documentation: Attach copies of any documentation that supports your claim, such as a court order for child support or proof that you weren't legally responsible for the debt your spouse owes.

What if the debt is a joint tax liability?

If both spouses owe the past-due tax debt, Form 8379 isn't the right option. You might be eligible for Innocent Spouse Relief instead. Consult the IRS website or a tax professional for further information on Innocent Spouse Relief.

How much of the refund will I get back?

Form 8379 helps determine how much of the refund is attributable to your income and tax withholdings. This portion is then released to you by the IRS. The IRS instructions for Form 8379 provide detailed guidance on calculating this allocation.

What if the IRS Denies My Claim?

If the IRS denies your claim, you can appeal their decision within 60 days of receiving the notice. You'll need to file Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief.