Can I or my spouse claim part of a refund being applied toward a debt owed by the other spouse?


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This interview will help you decide if you should file a claim for part of a refund that was jointly applied toward a spouse's past due debt for which you weren't responsible (federal/state tax, child/spousal support, student loan, etc.).

It doesn't cover filing a claim under the innocent spouse program. An innocent spouse is someone who filed a joint return but believes the tax should be paid by the other/former spouse because the other/former spouse omitted or erroneously reported income, deductions, etc. The innocent spouse is claiming that he or she didn't know what the other/former spouse was up to. Refer to Publication 971, Innocent Spouse Relief for more information on this topic.

The tool is designed for taxpayers who were U.S. citizens or resident aliens for the entire tax year for which they're inquiring. If married, the spouse must also have been a U.S. citizen or resident alien for the entire tax year. For information about nonresidents or dual-status aliens, please see International taxpayers.


Conclusions are based on information provided by you in response to the questions you answered. Answers do not constitute written advice in response to a specific written request of the taxpayer within the meaning of section 6404(f) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Estimated completion time: 5 minutes

Please note: After 30 minutes of inactivity, you'll be forced to start over.

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