If you lost all or part of a tax refund because of your spouse’s debts, you may be entitled to something called injured spouse relief, which allows you to recover your portion of the withheld refund. Consult the information below to find out whether you may qualify for this type of relief.
What is Injured Spouse Relief?
Injured spouse relief is a form of relief available to taxpayers whose refunds were withheld and applied to a spouse’s student loan, spousal support, child support, past-due state income tax or past-due federal income tax debts.
How do I Qualify for Injured Spouse Relief?
To qualify for injured spouse relief, you must have had income that was reported on Form 1040 and/or you must have paid tax during the year in question, either by making estimated tax payments or having federal income tax withheld from your wages.
Alternatively, you may also apply for injured spouse relief if you claimed a refundable income tax credit, such as an additional child tax credit or an earned income credit. In addition, you must also be able to show that you were not legally obligated to pay the debt to which your tax refund was applied.
How Do I Apply for Injured Spouse Relief?
If you filed a joint return with your spouse and you think that you may qualify for injured spouse relief, you can apply for this relief by filing Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation . If you know that you will need injured spouse relief before you file your tax return for the year, you can submit this form along with Form 1040 to expedite the process. However, if you receive notification of a refund offset after you have already filed your return, you can submit Form 8379 on its own at a later date.
What if I Live in a Community Property State?
If you live in a community property state, you are subject to special laws with regard to income tax calculation. If you live in one of these states and your refund is going to be used to pay a spouse’s debt, consult IRS Publication 555 to determine whether you may still qualify for injured spouse relief. Alternatively, you can also determine whether you can apply for injured spouse relief by talking to an experienced tax professional.
Tips for Filing Form 8379
- File as early as possible. If you know that you will need to request an injured spouse allocation, file Form 8379 with your tax return to ensure that the IRS processes the request as quickly as possible. If you learn about a refund offset later, file Form 8379 as soon as you can.
- Make sure your form includes both social security numbers. If you file Form 8379 by itself, be sure to include both your social security number and your spouse’s social security number in the same order as they were listed on Form 1040. Otherwise, you may experience unnecessary delays or your request may not be processed by the IRS at all.
- Sign the form. The injured spouse must sign Form 8379 before it can be processed by the IRS.
- Mail any additional documentation. If you need to include any additional documentation with Form 8379, submit the form along with this documentation by mail. Do not submit the form electronically if additional documentation is required.
- Use the right form. Make sure you are filing the right form for your individual situation. Do not file Form 8379 if you want to claim innocent spouse relief. Instead, you should file Form 8857. If you aren’t sure which form to file, consult IRS Publication 971.
- Mail the form to the right place. If you are filing Form 8379 by mail with your joint return, mail both documents to the Internal Revenue Service Center for the area where you live. If you are filing the form separately from your joint return, mail it to the same service center where you sent your joint return. If you filed your joint return electronically but must file Form 8379 by mail, send it to the Internal Revenue Service Center for the area where you live.
- Get help if you need it. Trying to determine whether you qualify for relief from the IRS can be difficult. In addition, if you aren’t sure whether you need to file injured spouse relief or innocent spouse relief, the situation can be even more confusing. If you aren’t sure how to proceed, consult an experienced tax resolution professional, such as Samaritan Tax Relief, for assistance.
Samaritan Tax Relief Injured Spouse Relief Representation
One of your most important rights as a taxpayer is your right to have a qualified tax resolution professional, such as an Enrolled Agent (EA), represent you in front of the IRS and/or States and provide tax resolution for your Injured Spouse Relief request to ensure that it is done accurate and completely and to eliminate any unnecessary delays.
When you hire Samaritan Tax Relief to assist you with your Injured Spouse Relief request, we will guide you through the process while advocating on your behalf and protecting your interests.
Samaritan Tax Relief is here to help you because when you’re dealing with the loss of a refund that you were counting on, the worst thing you can do is to do nothing at all? The best decision is to take the necessary first step and to try to obtain some of your refund back now!
Click on the “Get Help” button at the top of the page to take that first step.