Injured Spouse Relief
This is a different type of relief sought than that from the three other types of Joint Return Relief (Innocent Spouse Relief, Separation of Liability Relief, and Equitable Spouse Relief) in that the taxpayer’s refund being offset is due to prior activities/debts incurred by the other spouse in which the taxpayer had no responsibility for. Ordinarily, on a jointly filed return, there is joint and several liability for any tax, interest, and penalties meaning the IRS can collect these amounts from either you or your spouse (or former spouse). However, if one can clearly demonstrate that had it not been for the other spouse’s prior activities, they would be entitled to a portion of the refund, this type of relief should most likely be sought.
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An “injured spouse” claim and “innocent spouse” relief have similar-sounding names, but they are entirely different. To be considered an injured spouse, a taxpayer must meet all of the following criteria:
- Have filed a joint return
- Have paid federal income tax or claimed a refundable tax credit
- All or part of the taxpayer’s refund was or is expected to be, applied to their spouse’s past financial obligations and not be responsible for the debt
- A spouse who believes that he is entitled to a portion of the refund on a joint return can file Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation
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