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. One-half of a married couple often discovers too late that their spouse has an active order to garnish their income tax refund check. This means that even if the other spouse is entitled to a refund, the IRS will get the entire refund. To prevent this problem, filing an injured spouse form is necessary.
Who Needs To Fill Out The Form 8379?
When a married couple files their taxes as “married filing jointly,” they agree by submitting only one tax form. And that they will receive only one tax refund check. Unfortunately, there are several reasons why the IRS can legally keep a tax refund. Failure to pay student loans, child support, or prior tax debts can all result in an automatic IRS garnishment. When this occurs, the IRS garnishes 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.
Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation
By filling out 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 spouse’s debts. It is very important to realize that only funds that are eligible to go to the spouse who is not currently under a judgment can be eligible for an allocation of a portion of the refund. It is often impossible to recover the full value of a tax refund.
If you are a spouse who is married to someone who has his or her refunds garnished by the IRS, 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. 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 to avoid filling out the injured spouse form.
Different Than Innocent Spouse Protection
Please be aware the injured spouse is a different status from innocent spouse. Innocent spouse protection is available 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 acknowledges that all of the information provided to the IRS on the tax return is true and accurate. But, the spouse 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 our tax professionals for guidance.
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 is due. Or, a smaller refund than expected is actually owed.
To start, you must 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 there was no issuance of a refund.
Form 8379, Part III
In Part III of the form, you will need to parse out your financial information from 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, unsure how much protection you qualify for, or even if you qualify at all, call the experts at Peace Of Mind Tax Help. Our team of tax professionals has years of experience helping people just like you deal with all of your tax issues.
At Peace Of Mind Tax Help, we put our clients first, providing you with superior tax resolution services for a reasonable fee.
Contact Peace Of Mind Tax Help today to get help in submitting the injured spouse form!