An injured spouse is a taxpayer who files a joint return and all or part of the portion of the joint overpayment (refund) is, or expected to be, applied against legally enforceable past obligation of the other spouse. An injured spouse is different from an innocent spouse which is a taxpayer that believes, taking into account all the facts and circumstances, only their spouse or former spouse should be held responsible for all or part of the tax liability, including related penalties and interest.
By filing Form 8379, the injured spouse may be able to get back his or her share of the refund. The following examples are legally enforceable debts that could apply for this purpose:
• Child or spousal support • State income tax • Past-due federal tax • Federal non-tax debt (such as a student loan)
File Form 8379 if all three of the following apply:
* The injured spouse is not required to pay the past-due amount,
* The injured spouse reported income such as wages, taxable, interest, etc., on the joint return, and
* The injured spouse made payments such as federal income tax withheld or estimated payments, or claimed the EIC or other refundable credit on the joint return.