Injured spouse relief is a provision provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to married couples who have filed a joint tax return, but where one spouse’s share of the refund or credit is withheld to satisfy past-due federal tax, state tax, or other federal obligations, such as student loans, child support, or spousal support. The purpose of injured spouse relief is to protect the portion of the refund or credit that belongs to the spouse who did not incur the tax debt. If you are in a similar situation, here are the steps to follow to request injured spouse relief from the IRS:
Understand the Eligibility Criteria
Before applying for injured spouse relief, you need to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria set by the IRS. In general, you may be qualified for this relief if you filed a joint tax return together with your spouse, and all or a portion of the refund or credit is being withheld to pay for your spouse’s past-due federal tax, state tax, or other federal obligations. You must also have reported income or claimed a refundable credit on your joint tax return. Additionally, you must not be liable for past-due debt.
Gather the Required Information
To request injured spouse relief, you need to provide the IRS with specific information about your financial situation. Some of the information that you need to gather includes your joint tax return for the year in question, your current year’s tax return, any Form W-2, 1099, or other tax-related documents for both you and your spouse, and any correspondence from the IRS related to your joint tax return.
Complete Form 8379
The IRS requires you to complete Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation, to request injured spouse relief. This form is used to allocate the portion of the refund or credit that belongs to you and your spouse. You will need to provide your personal information, including your name, Social Security number, current address, and your spouse’s information. You will also need to indicate the tax year in question and the amount of the refund or credit that was withheld.
File Form 8379 with Your Tax Return
You should file Form 8379 with your current year’s tax return as soon as possible, as this will ensure that the IRS receives your request promptly. If you are filing your tax return electronically, you can attach Form 8379 to your tax return as a PDF document. If you are filing a paper tax return, you should mail Form 8379 along with your tax return to the address listed in the instructions for the form.
Wait for a Response from the IRS
After you file Form 8379, you will need to wait for a response from the IRS. The IRS may take up to 11 weeks to process your request, so you should be patient. If the IRS approves your request, you will receive a refund or credit for the portion of the refund or credit that belongs to you. If the IRS denies your request, you will receive a letter explaining the reason for the denial.
Consider Seeking Professional Help
If you are having trouble navigating the injured spouse relief process, or if you are unsure if you qualify for this relief, you may want to consider seeking professional help. A tax professional with tax resolution/consultation services can help you understand the eligibility criteria, gather the required information, and complete Form 8379 accurately. Additionally, a tax professional can help you communicate with the IRS if you receive a denial letter or have any other issues.
Keep Accurate Records
When submitting your request for injured spouse relief, it is important to keep accurate records of all the forms and documents you submit, as well as any correspondence you receive from the IRS. This will help you stay organized and ensure that you can easily reference any information related to your case. Additionally, keeping accurate records can help you appeal any denial of your request if necessary.
Be Prepared for Delays
It is not uncommon for the IRS to take several weeks or even months to process requests for injured spouse relief. Therefore, it is important to be prepared for delays and to remain patient throughout the process. If you have not heard back from the IRS after several weeks, you may want to follow up with them to check on the status of your request. However, keep in mind that it may take some time for them to provide you with an update.
Injured spouse relief can provide much-needed financial relief to married couples who are facing tax debt issues. If you are eligible for this relief, it is essential to follow the steps outlined above to request it from the IRS. By gathering the necessary information and completing Form 8379 accurately, you can increase your chances of obtaining relief and receiving the portion of the refund or credit that belongs to you. If you encounter any issues during the process, don’t hesitate to seek professional help to ensure that your request is handled properly.
If you believe that you may be eligible for injured spouse relief, you should consult a tax professional or the IRS for guidance on how to proceed.