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.
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.
You must file Form 8379 within 3 years from the due date of the original return (including extenstions) or within 2 years from the date that you paid the tax that was later offset, whichever is later. Certain circumstances under Code section 6511 may extend this period (see Code section 6511 for details).
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.
Time Need 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.