How Do I Request An When Should I Request An
Injured Spouse Claim?
Injured Spouse Claim?
You can request an injured spouse
If you received a letter from an agency
telling you that your tax refund would
claim by filling out IRS Form 8379. be withheld to pay your spouse’s debt,
you should request an injured spouse
n If you have not filed your joint tax claim when you file your joint tax
return, attach Form 8379 behind your return. You can attach Form 8379 to “Was Your Tax Refund Withheld
return and enter “Injured Spouse” in your tax return and mail it to the IRS.
the upper left corner of the return. You can also file Form 8379 to Pay Your Spouse’s Debt?”
n If you have already filed your joint
tax return, sign the back page of If you did not receive a letter telling you
that your tax refund would be withheld,
Form 8379 and send to the IRS. Mail
you should file for an injured spouse
the form to the Internal Revenue claim as soon as the FMS keeps your tax
Service Center where you lived refund.
when you filed the joint return.
What If I Don’t Agree With the
n If you lived in Rhode Island when
Amount of My Injured Spouse
you filed the joint return, you You should write to the IRS and ask for
should mail Form 8379 to the a copy of the Injured Spouse Claim
Internal Revenue Service Center, Worksheet or call Rhode Island Legal
Andover, MA 05501-0002
How to Get Help
n Please include copies of all W-2 and Rhode Island Legal Services, Inc.
To find out if we can help, call toll-free
1099-R forms of both spouses Low Income Taxpayer Clinic
1-800-662-5034 56 Pine Street, Suite 400
showing income tax withheld attach
the copies to Form 8379. NOTE: This information cannot Providence, RI 02903
take the place of advice from a (401) 274-2652
or toll free
n You can get Form 8379 on the lawyer. Each case is different 1-800-662-5034
internet at www.irs.gov or by calling and needs individual legal
Rhode Island Legal Services. . advice. You should contact a
lawyer if you need The Rhode Island Legal Services Low Income
It can take the IRS up to eight weeks to representation on a tax matter or Taxpayer Clinic is funded by a grant from the
process the injured spouse claim. if you have questions. IRS.
Introduction for Innocent Spouse Relief (Form 8857). had with Lisa. Bob is behind on
his child support payments.
ü Did you file or did you plan to file a Mary is not required to pay
joint tax return with your spouse? When you file a joint income tax Bob’s past-due child support.
return, the United States Treasury 2. You reported income on the joint tax
Department’s Financial Management
ü Did you expect a tax refund? Service (FMS) can apply all or part of
return. This means some or all of the
income on the tax return belongs to you.
the joint refund to one spouse’s past-
ü Did you receive notice that the IRS due tax, child support, or federal non-
Income includes wages and self-
would keep your refund, OR has your tax debt, such as a student loan.
tax refund already been kept? If this happens, FMS will send
Example: Mary and Bob filed a
you a notice. The notice will tell you
joint tax return. Mary made
ü Was the tax refund kept to pay your the name, address and telephone
$5,000 as a cashier. Bob made
spouse’s past-due tax, child support number of the agency with the debt.
$3,000 as a mechanic. Mary
or federal debt, such as a student reported $5,000 of income on the
How Do I Qualify For An
loan? Injured Spouse Claim? joint return.
If you answered yes to all four questions, You qualify for an injured spouse 3. You made and reported payments
you might be able to file an claim if you meet all three of the on the joint return. Payments include
injured spouse claim. following conditions: federal income tax withheld from your
wages, estimated tax payments, or re-
What Is An Injured Spouse 1. You are not required to pay the past- fundable credits, such as the earned
Claim? due amount. This means that the tax income tax credit or additional child tax
debt occurred before you got married credit.
Injured Spouse Claims can help OR your spouse is the only one who
you get back your part of the tax refund owes the debt. Example: Mary and Bob filed a
that was withheld to pay your spouse’s Examples include past-due child joint tax return. Mary made
debt. support, defaulted student loans, $5,000 as a cashier. Mary’s W-2
An injured spouse claim will not foreclosures on federal loans, un-paid shows income tax withheld of
help you get relief from a joint tax debt. state income taxes and other federal $300. Mary reported the $300 on
A joint tax debt is one that both you and debts. her tax return. Mary made and
your spouse owe. If you need relief reported payments.
from a joint tax debt, contact the Rhode Example: Mary is married to
Island Legal Services Low Income Bob. Bob is required to pay
Taxpayer Clinic or a lawyer about filing child support on a child that he