You may be an injured spouse if you file a joint tax return and all or part of your portion of the refund is, or is expected to be, applied (offset) to your spouse's legally enforceable past-due federal tax, state income tax, state unemployment compensation debts, child support, or a federal nontax debt, such as a student loan. If an agency tells you or your spouse that your tax refund will be withheld to pay your spouse’s debt, you may be able to file an “injured spouse” claim with your joint tax return. To find out if you may be eligible for injured spouse tax relief and how to file for it, visit the IRS Tax information for Injured Spouses website.
There are some eligibility requirements to claim injured spouse relief. You must:
- File a joint tax return with your spouse
- Have or expect to have all or part of your share of any tax refund put toward your spouse’s past-due debt
In order to request Injured Spouse Relief, you will need to fill out Form 8379. You should file this form as soon as you know your refund may be at risk of being taken by IRS and applied to your spouse’s qualifying debt. Generally there is a three year window from when the original return was due, or two years from the date you paid the tax that was offset, to request Injured Spouse relief.
If you need help, contact us at Vermont Legal Aid’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic. Fill out our form and we will call you back. Your information will be sent to Legal Services Vermont, which screens requests for help for both Vermont Legal Aid and Legal Services Vermont. You can also call us at 1-800-889-2047.