How do I get a return to generate Form 8379?
Part I of Form 8379 consists of questions to determine whether the taxpayer is an “injured spouse”. A taxpayer is an injured spouse if the taxpayer meets all these criteria:
- files a joint return;
- has reported income (such as wages, interest, etc.);
- has made and reported tax payments (such as federal income tax withheld from wages or estimated tax payments), or claimed the earned income credit or other refundable credit; and
- isn't required to pay the past-due support obligation.
In the software, Form 8379 is not produced if the taxpayer on the form does not qualify. To answer the Part I questions accurately, you'll find it helpful to review:
- Form 8379.
- Form 8379 instructions.
- The questions on the 8379 screen, which correspond to, but are worded differently from, the questions on the form itself.
Part I, Should You File This Form? Lines 2, 3, 4 and 9
The 8379 screen states at the top:
Note: If lines 2, 3, and 4 are not selected, and line 9 is marked, this form will not be generated.
The form has four questions (where a particular answer disqualifies the taxpayer as an “injured spouse”. On the 8379 screen, questions 2, 3, 4, and 9 are worded so the taxpayer does not qualify as an injured spouse unless all these conditions are met:
- Boxes 2, 3, and 4 are each marked.
- Box 9 is not marked.
Otherwise, Form 8379 is not generated in the return.
See Form 8379 instructions regarding where and how to file.
Generally, Form 8379 can be filed with a joint return or separately. It can be filed with a 1040X if the return is being amended to claim a joint refund or if a joint return is being amended to claim an additional refund.
Form 8379 instructions (page 1) explain:
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.
On my Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation, why is information displayed below Part IV, beneath the end of the form?
This is where the software displays the detail for line 13b. The Instructions for Form 8379, line 13b, requires taxpayers to identify income and its allocation between spouses (for example, this section may show the allocation of interest, capital gains, taxable pensions, etc.).
If it is e-filed, the information is transmitted. Otherwise, it is there for the IRS to see when the paper return is filed.