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Form 8379 – Injured Spouse Allocation

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)
If the IRS has applied your client’s refund against the spouse’s tax liability, or your client is concerned that the IRS may do so, select Form 8379.  The form requests identifying information for your client and spouse, and information needed to determine how much of the tax – and refund – is attributable to each spouse. The IRS makes the actual calculation that divides the refund between your client and his or her spouse.


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.

Updated on July 12, 2018

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