An innocent spouse defense is used to get relief from the typical joint and several liability that exists for joint tax returns. If you filed a joint return, and your spouse erroneously understated the amount of tax owed, you can attempt to claim innocent spouse relief. If you are successful, the IRS will not attempt to collect the understated tax from you.
An injured spouse is a spouse whose portion of a joint tax refund has been offset due to the other spouse’s financial obligations. An injured spouse can use form 8379 to attempt to reclaim their portion of a refund, but only if they are not responsible for the spouse’s financial obligation that caused the offset, and if the injured spouse either paid federal tax during the year or is due a refundable tax credit.
Why Tax Refunds Are Offset