The following is very informative guest post from Shruti Kumar, I hope none of my readers ever face this situation but, in case, if your spouse gets injured, this article might be helpful from injured spouse tax credit perspective.
Some of us may be confused between injured spouse relief and innocent spouse relief. They may sound similar but are quite different when you want to make a claim. In the injured spouse clause one can claim tax relief when the IRS keeps back a joint refund which is due to you to meet the debts or responsibility of the other spouse.
On the other hand innocent spouse relief can be claimed when the other spouse has given incorrect information on the joint returned filed by both the spouses.
What is an Injured Spouse Claim?
Injured Spouse claim is an approach to safeguard that part of the tax refund which corresponds to the income you have stated on the individual income tax return. This has to be filed together under the status “Married Filing Jointly” by your spouse and you. Injured Spouse claim is also used to recall all or a part of joint income tax refund from those years when the joint income tax refund was stopped for any non-marital liability that belonged to your spouse.
There are several married taxpayers who file joint tax returns as collective tax is typically less than when the tax returns are filed separately. It is to be remembered that when this is done the responsibility of paying the tax, which also includes the audit adjustment that is done later, lies with both spouses even in a situation when the entire income is earned by just one spouse.
The other spouse is considered to be an injured spouse in a case when the joint return is filed and the refund which is received is used to compensate one spouse’s past child or due spousal support, overdue past federal debt or an overdue past state income tax. Injured Spouse Claim and Allocation Form 8379 can be used by the injured spouse to ask for his or her share of the overpayment which is stated on the joint tax return refunded to you.
Criterion to get the status of an Injured Spouse
- You have filed a joint income tax return.
- You are getting some income can be it in the form or salary or interest, etc.
- You have made tax payments.
- Your tax payment as well as the income has been reported on the joint return.
- If your refund has been withheld by the IRS to use it for your spouse’s earlier overdue child support, federal tax or any federal non-tax debt like a student loan.
How to qualify for Injured Spouse Claim?
If you have paid any past-due amount that was a debt incurred by your spouse prior to marriage as that is not your liability, but only the responsibility of your spouse.
The income reported on the joint tax return is important. When a joint return refund is withheld, all or some part of the reported income has to be earning from your income, like from investments, job or self-employment. In case you have no income for that tax year, then you will have no “share” in that refund. Keep in mind that TANF, child support, food stamps, SSI, social security retirement benefits, SSDI and GA cannot be used for this claim.
All the income and payments have to be reported in the joint return. Federal income tax withdrawn from your salary, estimated tax payments as well as tax credits that are refundable including earned income tax relief and extra child tax credit come under payments.
Simple steps to file for Injured Spouse Relief Claim!
Make sure that you have filed a joint return with your spouse. Once you are sure, establish the fact that the IRS has withheld your tax refund because of the past due payments of your spouse, for reasons like spouse or child support, any other federal debt or loan.
If case your joint tax return is not filed yet, next step is to get Form 8379 and look at the details required. Fill in your return and make sure to include Form 8379 at the time of filing. Make sure that you mention “Injured Spouse” on the top left corner of the return’s first page. Part 2 of the form requires you to give details of income, credits adjustments and deductions pertaining to you and your spouse. In case you have filed your joint return already fill Form 8379 and send it to the IRS.
The final step would be to send the form to the IRS Service Centre of the place where you live and file your return and if you are living separately it has to be filed in the place you lived earlier. It can be posted separately after the joint return has been filed or even with the joint return. Make sure that you include Form 8379 and copies of all 1099 and W-2 forms that your spouse and you have received. It is possible to get Form 8379 online
In case you are finding the procedure difficult you can take assistance of qualified tax professionals who will take you through the complete process of claiming injured spouse relief which will improve your chances of getting back your share of the withheld tax refund.
Author Bio: Shruti Kumar is a very successful and proactive freelancer contributing on knoji.com and blog writer for Tajo Credit website that provides Finance Solutions in Europe. Shruti writes on different topics including Finance, Health and Travel.