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Form 8379

Definition

Form 8379, also known as the Injured Spouse Allocation, is a form provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the U.S. It is used when a married person files a joint tax return and wants to get a portion of any refund that might be offset due to past-due obligations of the spouse, such as back taxes, student loan debts, or child support. Therefore, this form is often filed by spouses who don’t want their portion of a tax refund seized because of their partner’s debts.

Phonetic

The phonetics for “Form 8379” would be “F – O – R – M – eight – three – seven – nine.”

Key Takeaways

1. Use for an Innocent Spouse: Form 8379 is the Injured Spouse Allocation form in the United States. It is used when a taxpaying spouse believes their share of a tax refund was, or is expected to be, applied against the debts of an individual with whom they filed a joint tax return, when those debts are not their responsibility.

2. Not for Joint Debts: It’s important to note that this is not applicable for debts that are jointly owed by both partners, such as joint income tax debt. In such cases, the Injured Spouse Allocation cannot be used to protect the non-defaulting taxpayer’s share of a refund.

3. Separate Forms for Each Year: For each tax year that you are requesting injured spouse relief, a separate Form 8379 must be filed. This form may be filed with a joint tax return or an amended joint tax return, or it can be filed on its own after a joint return has been processed.

Importance

Form 8379, also known as the Injured Spouse Allocation form, is critical in specific financial circumstances where a couple files join tax returns but one spouse has past-due obligations such as federal student loans, child support, or past-due federal or state income tax. The form is designed to prevent the IRS from applying the entire joint refund to the spouse’s past-due amount. So, the other spouse, referred to as the “injured spouse,” can use this form to ensure they receive their rightful share of the tax refund. Therefore, it’s an essential document for protecting one’s financial interests in these complex marital situations.

Explanation

Form 8379, also known as the Injured Spouse Allocation, is a form provided by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for married taxpayers who have filed a joint tax return. This form serves an important purpose: it provides an avenue for the so-called “injured” spouse to regain their share of a joint tax refund in case it was used to cover the past-due federal debts, spousal or child support, or state taxes of the other spouse.Without submitting Form 8379, the entire joint refund could be directed towards paying off these debts, even if only one spouse is responsible for them. By filling out and submitting this form, an “injured” spouse can recoup their portion of the joint tax refund, which is relative to their contributions to the total income reported on the joint tax return. It provides financial protection and fairness to spouses who should not be held accountable for their partners’ financial liabilities.

Examples

Form 8379, known as the ‘Injured Spouse Allocation’ form, is a document issued by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This form is used when a joint tax return has a refund which the IRS has, or potentially could, offset against past-due obligations of one spouse, and the ‘injured’ spouse wants their share of the refund protected. Here are three real-world examples:1. Example 1: Jane and John are married and filed their tax returns jointly. However, before marriage, John had defaulted on his student loans. The IRS could potentially seize their tax refund to offset John’s debt. Jane, having no part in this debt liability, could file Form 8379 to ensure her portion of the refund is not used to pay off John’s student loan.2. Example 2: Mark and Lisa are married and have filed their tax returns jointly. Lisa had prior unpaid child support obligations from a past relationship. The state agency informed them that it intends to intercept any tax refunds to cover the unpaid child support. Mark, who is not responsible for Lisa’s child support, can use Form 8379 to claim his portion of the refund. 3. Example 3: Emily and Tom are a married couple who filed their taxes jointly. However, Tom owed back taxes to the IRS from before they were married. Emily, who was not responsible for this debt, can file Form 8379 so that her portion of any joint tax return is not used toward paying off Tom’s back taxes.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Form 8379?

Form 8379, also known as the Injured Spouse Allocation, is a special IRS document that allows taxpayers to claim their share of a tax refund if it has been or will be applied to past-due federal or state debts, child or spousal support, or federal non-tax debt, such as a student loan.

When should I use Form 8379?

You should file Form 8379 if your share of your joint tax refund was, or is expected to be, applied against your spouse’s past due federal debts, state taxes, or child or spousal support payments.

How do I file Form 8379?

You can file Form 8379 in conjunction with your joint tax return or amended joint tax return. Alternatively, you can file it separately after receiving a notice about a refund offset.

What information is needed to complete Form 8379?

To file Form 8379, you’ll need both spouses’ social security numbers, information about who owes the debt, and details of each spouse’s income, deductions, and credits.

How long does it take the IRS to process Form 8379?

The IRS typically processes a stand-alone Form 8379 within eight weeks. If you file Form 8379 with a joint return, anticipate a delay of about 11 weeks.

Can I e-file Form 8379?

Yes, you can e-file Form 8379 along with your joint federal income tax return.

What if I don’t file Form 8379 and my spouse’s debt eats up our return?

If you failed to file Form 8379 and your joint return refund was offset by your spouse’s federal debt, you may still file Form 8379 to regain your share of the refund.

Does Form 8379 guarantee I receive part of the tax refund?

No. Using Form 8379 doesn’t ensure that you’ll receive part of the refund. The IRS determines the division based on each spouse’s contribution to the income.

Related Finance Terms

  • Injured Spouse Allocation
  • Joint Tax Return
  • IRS (Internal Revenue Service)
  • Tax Refund Offset
  • Community property laws

Sources for More Information

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