Specific Instructions

Part I

Line 3.   Not all debts are subject to a tax refund offset. To determine if a debt is owed (other than federal tax), and whether an offset will occur, contact FMS at 1-800-304-3107 (for TTY/TDD help, call 1-866-297-0517).

Filing Form 8379 when no past-due obligation exists will delay your refund.

Line 5.   The community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

  If you live in a community property state, special rules will apply to the calculation of your injured spouse refund. Enter the community property state(s) where, at any time during the year, you and your spouse resided and intended to establish a permanent home. For more information about the factors used to determine whether you are subject to community property laws, see Pub. 555.

  In community property states, overpayments are considered joint property and are generally applied (offset) to legally owed past-due obligations of either spouse. However, there are exceptions. The IRS will use each state's rules to determine the amount, if any, that would be refundable to the injured spouse. Under state community property laws, 50% of a joint overpayment (except the earned income credit) is applied to non-federal tax debts such as child or spousal support, student loans, state unemployment compensation debts, or state income tax. However, state laws differ on the amount of a joint overpayment that can be applied to a federal tax debt. The earned income credit is allocated to each spouse based on each spouse's earned income.

  For more guidance regarding the amount of an overpayment from a joint tax return that the IRS may offset against a spouse's separate tax liability, see the revenue ruling for your state, below.

IF you  
live in. . .
THEN use. . .
Arizona or Wisconsin Rev. Rul. 2004-71  
available at:  
California, Idaho, or Louisiana Rev. Rul. 2004-72  
available at:  
New Mexico, Nevada, or Washington Rev. Rul. 2004-73  
available at:  
Texas Rev. Rul. 2004-74  
available at:  

Line 9.   Refundable credits include the following:
  • Making work pay credit (2009 and 2010),

  • Government retiree credit (2009),

  • American opportunity credit (2009–2017),

  • First-time homebuyer credit from Form 5405 (2008–2011),

  • Credit for federal tax paid on fuels,

  • Adoption credit (2010 and 2011),

  • Refundable prior year minimum tax, and

  • Health coverage tax credit.

Part III

The chart, Where Do I Find The Information To Complete Part III?, will help you find the information you need to complete Part III.

To properly determine the amount of tax owed and overpayment due to each spouse, an allocation must be made as if each spouse filed a separate tax return instead of a joint tax return. So, each spouse must allocate his or her separate wages, self-employment income and expenses (and self-employment tax), and credits such as education credits, to the spouse who would have shown the item(s) on his or her separate return.

Other items that may not clearly belong to either spouse (for example, a penalty on early withdrawal of savings from a joint bank account) would be equally divided.

If you live in a community property state, follow the instructions below to allocate your income, expenses, and credits. The IRS will apply your state's community property laws based on your allocation.

The IRS will figure the amount of any refund due the injured spouse.

Line 13a.   Enter only Form W-2 income on this line. Enter the separate income that each spouse earned.

Line 13b.   Identify the type and amount. Allocate joint income, such as interest earned on a joint bank account, as you determine. Be sure to allocate all income shown on the joint return.

Line 14.   Enter each spouse's separate adjustments, such as an IRA deduction. Allocate other adjustments as you determine.

Line 15.   If you used the standard deduction on your joint tax return, enter in both columns (b) and (c) one-half of the basic standard deduction shown in column (a). Also allocate any real estate taxes, new motor vehicle taxes, and any disaster loss as you determine, if applicable.

  However, if you checked the boxes for age or blindness at the top of page 2 of Form 1040 or 1040A, enter your total standard deduction on line 15, column (a). Allocate your basic standard deduction (including any real estate taxes, new motor vehicle taxes, or disaster loss) as explained earlier. Your basic standard deduction is as follows:  
2008—$10,900; 2009—$11,400; 2010—$11,400; 2011—$11,600; 2012—$11,900; 2013—$12,200.  
If someone could claim you or your spouse as a dependent, your basic standard deduction is the amount on line 4 (for 2008, 2009, and 2010) or line 3a (for 2011 and 2012) of the standard deduction worksheet, found in the Form 1040 or Form 1040A instructions. Then use the following worksheet to allocate the additional standard deduction (the difference between the total standard deduction and the basic standard deduction).
1. Enter here the total number of boxes checked for age or blindness for yourself at the top of page 2 of Form 1040 or 1040A  
2. Enter the additional standard deduction for the year as shown below  
  2008 $1,050 2011 $1,150  
  2009 $1,100 2012 $1,150  
  2010 $1,100 2013 $1,200  
3. Multiply line 2 by line 1. Include this amount on line 15, column (b)  
4. Enter here the total number of boxes checked for age or blindness for your spouse at the top of page 2 of Form 1040 or 1040A  
5. Multiply line 4 by line 2. Include this amount on line 15, column (c)  

  If you itemize your deductions, enter each spouse's separate deductions, such as employee business expenses. Allocate other deductions as you determine.

Line 16.   Allocate the exemptions claimed on the joint return to the spouse who would have claimed them if separate returns had been filed. Enter whole numbers only. For example, you cannot allocate 3 exemptions by giving 1.5 exemptions to each spouse.

Line 17.   Allocate any child tax credit, child and dependent care credit, and additional child tax credit to the spouse who was allocated the qualifying child's exemption. But if you attached Form 8901 to your tax return, allocate the child tax credit as you determine. Do not include any earned income credit here; the IRS will allocate it based on each spouse's income. Allocate business credits based on each spouse's interest in the business. Allocate any other credits as you determine.

Line 18.   Allocate self-employment tax to the spouse who earned the self-employment income.

Line 19.   Enter federal income tax withheld from each spouse's income as shown on Forms W-2, W-2G, and 1099. Be sure to attach copies of these forms to your tax return or to Form 8379 if you are filing it by itself. Also include on this line any excess social security or tier 1 Railroad Retirement (RRTA) tax withheld.

Line 20.   You can allocate joint estimated tax payments in any way you choose as long as both you and your spouse agree. If you cannot agree, the estimated tax payments will be allocated according to the following formula:
Each spouse's 
separate tax liability 
Both separate tax liabilities
× Estimated tax 

  Allocate each spouse's separate estimated tax payments to the spouse who made them.

Where Do I Find The Information To Complete Part III?
Line on Form 8379   Where To Find the Information on Your Tax Return
13a. Income reported  
on Form W-2
  This is the income shown on Form W-2 that you reported on line 7 of Form 1040 or 1040A or on line 1 of Form 1040EZ.
13b. All other income   This is the income you reported in the “Income” section of your tax return (other than the income you entered on line 13a above).
14. Adjustments to income   On Forms 1040 and 1040A, these are the amounts you entered on page 1 in the “Adjusted Gross Income” section. There are no adjustments to income on Form 1040EZ.
15. Standard deduction or itemized deductions   On Form 1040, this is the amount you entered on line 40. 
On Form 1040A, this is the amount you entered on line 24. 
On Form 1040EZ, this is the amount you entered on line E of the worksheet on page 2. If you did not fill out the worksheet, the standard deduction is shown under the worksheet.
16. Number of exemptions   On Form 1040 or 1040A, this is the number you entered in box 6d. 
On Form 1040EZ, this is the number of unchecked boxes on line 5.
17. Credits   On Form 1040, these are the tax credits (except the earned income credit) in the “Tax and Credits” and “Payments” sections on page 2. 
On Form 1040A, these are the tax credits (except the earned income credit) in the “Tax, credits, and payments” section on page 2. 
Do not enter the earned income credit from Form 1040EZ on this line.
18. Other taxes   On Form 1040, these are the taxes in the “Other Taxes” section on page 2. There are no “other taxes” on Forms 1040A and 1040EZ.
19. Federal income tax withheld   This is the amount you entered on the “Federal income tax withheld” line (on page 2 of Forms 1040 and 1040A; on page 1 of Form 1040EZ).
20. Payments   These are on the lines of your return where you entered estimated tax payments, the amount applied from your previous year's tax return, excess social security and tier 1 RRTA tax withheld, and amounts you paid with an extension to file (Form 2350 or Form 4868).

How To Avoid Common Mistakes

Mistakes may delay your refund or result in notices being sent to you.

  • If you file Form 8379 separately, do not include a copy of your joint tax return. This will prevent delays in processing your allocation. Make sure to enclose copies of all Forms W-2 and W-2G for both spouses, and any Forms 1099 showing income tax withheld.

  • If you file Form 8379 with your joint tax return or amended joint tax return, enter “Injured Spouse” in the upper left corner of page 1 of your joint return.

  • Any dependency exemptions must be entered in whole numbers. Do not use fractions.

  • Items of income, expenses, credits and deductions must be allocated to the spouse who would have entered the item on his or her separate return.

  • Make sure the debt is subject to offset (for example, a legally enforceable past-due federal tax, state income tax, child or spousal support, state unemployment compensation debts, or other federal nontax debt, such as a student loan).

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