Tax Minute

INJURED SPOUSE RELIEF

When you file a federal income tax return the IRS can take your refund to pay past due federal and state income taxes, late child support payments, late alimony payments, and other federal debt such as unpaid student loans. They will withhold this refund on a joint return even if only one spouse owes the money. Most married couples want to file a joint return because it generally results in a lower federal income tax bill, but they don't want to file a joint return if their refund is going to be taken. Fortunately, the IRS is aware of this problem and has a solution. Form 8379 (Injured Spouse Allocation) can be used to allocate the income, deductions, and credits on a tax return to each spouse and allocate the refund on a tax return to each spouse. This form can be filed with your tax return each year and can also be filed after the fact if the IRS has taken a refund that was due to the non-owing spouse. If you file this form you will get your refund that the IRS owes you, but it usually takes more than three months for them to process returns that have an injured spouse allocation associated with them.

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