Joint Tax Returns And Injured Spouse Form
Every year, millions of American couples file joint tax returns. By filing together, these couples combine their financial information, but they also only receive one refund check. Often, one half of a married couple discovers too late that their spouse has an active order to garnish their income tax refund check. That means that even if the other spouse can rightfully claim a refund, the entire refund check will go to the IRS. To prevent this problem, it is necessary to file an injured spouse form.
Who Needs To Fill Out An Injured Spouse Form?
When a married couple files their taxes as “married filing jointly” they agree that by submitting only one tax form, they will also receive only one tax refund check. Unfortunately, there are a number of reasons why the IRS is legally able to keep a tax refund. Failure to pay student loans, child support, or prior tax debts can all result in an automatic IRS garnishment of a refund check. When this occurs, the IRS garnishes the part or all of the refund up to the amount owed, despite the fact that one spouse might not have any responsibility for the amount owed.
By filling out the Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation, it is possible to recover the portion of the refund belonging to the “injured spouse” that would have otherwise gone towards paying the debts of the spouse. It is very important to realize that only funds that would have gone to the spouse who is not currently under a judgment can be recovered; it is often impossible to recover the full value of a tax refund.
If you are a spouse who is married to someone who is having his or her refunds garnished by the IRS, then you may want to consider submitting an injured spouse form. This form can be filed before or after the joint tax return in which a refund was garnished. We advise our clients to prepare this form ahead of the filing, however, so that there will not be delays when it comes time to receive the refund check. If you are filing jointly with the knowledge that your spouse is under a judgment to have his or her refund garnished, you may want to speak to your tax professional about the possibility of filing separate tax returns in order to avoid filling out the injured spouse form.
Please be aware the injured spouse is a different status from innocent spouse. Innocent spouse protection is granted to spouses who were unaware that the financial information provided by their spouse was inaccurate or fraudulent. In the case of an injured spouse, the taxpayer is acknowledging that all of the information provided to the IRS on the tax return is true and accurate, but the spouse simply does not want his or her portion of the tax refund garnished by the IRS. If you’re unsure whether to file for injured spouse or innocent spouse, contact the tax professionals at Tax Samaritan.
How Do I Fill Out The Injured Spouse Form?
The injured spouse form or Form 8379 is relatively short, but it is crucial to answer all of the questions on the form accurately. Making a mistake could result in the IRS deciding that no refund or a smaller refund than expected is actually owed.
To start, you will need to affirm that you and your spouse filed a joint tax return this year. If you filed separately, you are not eligible for injured spouse status. You will also need to affirm that the IRS withheld a refund because of a legally enforceable past-due debt, and that you are not responsible for the debt. If you have an obligation to pay the debt, you are not eligible for injured spouse status. You will need to confirm the names on the tax return for which the refund was not issued.
In Part III of the form, you will need to parse out your financial information from the information contained on the original tax filing. This will require you to match the figures on the original filing to your numbers on the injured spouse form. Part III of the injured spouse is the portion that tends to give tax filers the most trouble. Remember that a mistake on this part of the injured spouse form can result in the IRS withholding hundreds or even thousands of dollars that should rightfully go into your pocket.
If you’re having trouble filling out the injured spouse form, or if you’re not sure how much protection you qualify for or even if you qualify at all, call the experts at Tax Samaritan. Our team of tax professionals has years of experience helping people just like you deal with all of your tax issues.
At Samaritan Tax Relief, we put our clients first, providing you with superior service for a reasonable fee.
If you are ready to hire a qualified tax representative, contact Samaritan Tax Relief today to get help in submitting an injured spouse form!
Samaritan Tax Relief is a team of Enrolled Agents with over 25 years of experience focusing on US tax resolution services. We maintain this tax blog where all articles are written by Enrolled Agents. Our main objective is to educate US taxpayers on their tax responsibilities and the selection of a tax professional to resolve their tax problem.
When looking for a tax professional, choose carefully. We recommend that you hire a credentialed tax professional such as Samaritan Tax Relief that is an Enrolled Agent (America’s Tax Experts).
Randall Brody is an enrolled agent, licensed by the US Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before the IRS for audits, collections and appeals. To attain the enrolled agent designation, candidates must demonstrate expertise in taxation, fulfill continuing education credits and adhere to a stringent code of ethics.
Every effort has been taken to provide the most accurate and honest analysis of the tax information provided in this blog. Please use your discretion before making any decisions based on the information provided. This blog is not intended to be a substitute for seeking professional tax advice based on your individual needs.