General Instructions

Future Developments

For the latest information about developments related to Form 8379 and its instructions, such as legislation enacted after they were published, go to www.irs.gov/form8379.

What's New

Overpayments may now be offset to pay state unemployment compensation debts.

Purpose of Form

Form 8379 is filed by one spouse (the injured spouse) on a jointly filed tax return when the joint overpayment was (or is expected to be) applied (offset) to a past-due obligation of the other spouse. By filing Form 8379, the injured spouse may be able to get back his or her share of the joint refund.

Are You an Injured Spouse?

You may be an injured spouse if you file a joint tax return and all or part of your portion of the overpayment was, 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 or spousal support, or a federal nontax debt, such as a student loan.

Complete Part I to determine if you are an injured spouse.

Innocent Spouse Relief

Do not file Form 8379 if you are claiming innocent spouse relief. Instead, file Form 8857. Generally, both spouses are responsible for paying the full amount of tax, interest, and penalties due on your joint return. However, if you qualify for innocent spouse relief, you may be relieved of part or all of the joint liability. You may qualify for relief from the joint tax liability if (a) there is an understatement of tax because your spouse omitted income or claimed false deductions or credits, and you did not know or have reason to know of the understatement, (b) there is an understatement of tax and you are divorced, separated, or no longer living with your spouse, or (c) given all the facts and circumstances, it would not be fair to hold you liable for the tax. See Pub. 971 for more details.

When To File

File Form 8379 when you become aware that all or part of your share of an overpayment was, or is expected to be, applied (offset) against your spouse's legally enforceable past-due obligations. You must file Form 8379 for each year you meet this condition and want your portion of any offset refunded.

A Notice of Offset for federal tax debts is issued by the IRS. A Notice of Offset for past-due state income tax, state unemployment compensation debt, child or spousal support, or federal nontax debts (such as a student loan) is issued by the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Management Service (FMS).

Visit www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc203.html and  
www.fms.treas.gov/faq/offsets.html, for more information about refund offsets and debts.

Where To File

See the chart below to determine where to file your Form 8379.

IF you file  
Form 8379. . .
THEN mail  
Form 8379. . .
with your joint return and your joint return to the Internal Revenue Service Center for the area where you live.*
by itself after you filed your original joint return on paper to the same Internal Revenue Service Center where you filed your original return.*
by itself after you filed your original joint return electronically to the Internal Revenue Service Center for the area where you live.*
with an amended return (Form 1040X) or other subsequent return to the Internal Revenue Service Center for the area where you live.*
*See your tax return instructions for the mailing address.

How To File

You can file Form 8379 with your joint tax return or amended joint tax return (Form 1040X), or you can file it afterwards by itself. File Form 8379 with Form 1040X only if you are amending your original return to claim a joint refund.

If you file Form 8379 with your joint return, attach it to your return in the order of the attachment sequence number (located in the upper right corner of the tax form). Enter “Injured Spouse” in the upper left corner of page 1 of the joint return.

If you file Form 8379 separately, please be sure to attach a copy of all Forms W-2 and W-2G for both spouses, and any Forms 1099 showing federal income tax withholding, to Form 8379. The processing of Form 8379 may be delayed if these forms are not attached, if the form is incomplete when filed, or if you attach a copy of your joint tax return.

Amending Your Tax Return

If you file an amended joint tax return (Form 1040X) to claim an additional refund and you do not want your portion of the overpayment to be applied (offset) against your spouse's legally enforceable past-due obligation(s), then you will need to complete and attach another Form 8379 to allocate the additional refund.

Time Needed To Process Form 8379

Generally, if you file Form 8379 with a joint return on paper, the time needed to process it is about 14 weeks (11 weeks if filed electronically). If you file Form 8379 by itself after a joint return has been processed, the time needed is about 8 weeks.


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