What is an Injured Spouse?

Taxpayers who file a joint return with their spouse and have part (or all) of their share of overpayment applied to a spouse’s past tax debts may be entitled to claim a refund as an . A spouse’s past debts can include:

  • Tax liability
  • Child/spousal support
  • Federal non-tax debt
  • State income tax

Situational Example: Your spouse’s are in arrears, and you file a joint tax return. Any refund owed to you for overpayment of taxes can be withheld by the IRS and put towards the spouse’s arrears, even if the refund is generated solely by your overpayment.

In this scenario, taxpayers who have income and withholdings can request a refund of the amount allocated to them from filing a joint return with Form 8379, Injured Spouse Claim Allocation.


In order to claim your portion of the refund as an injured spouse, the following need to be met:

You are not required to pay any past due amounts, as the responsibility for the debt falls on your defaulted spouse.

You reported income on your joint return, such as wages or taxable interest.

You made and reported payments of taxes, such as Federal Income Tax withholdings or estimated payments, or you claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit or other credit that can be refundable.