Joint Tax Refunds Married Couples

By | February 23, 2014

What happens when a couple files a tax return as married and then divorces?

It is possible to split a tax refund after a couple who is previously married later files to divorce. There could be many reasons when they want to split the tax refund after being married. When married couples divorce or separate, or when a dispute exists as to how much of the refund each is entitled to, Revenue Ruling 80-7 provides a formula for determining each spouse’s share of the refund and allows the IRS to issue separate refund checks to each party.

Joint Tax Refunds Married Couples

This is a somewhat complicated tax situation and it is recommended that the affected parties seek help of either a CPA or tax lawyer to aid in filing the 1040X for this divorcee tax situation. If the parties cannot decide after negotiations on how to divide the refund, either spouse may request that the IRS issue a separate refund check by filing Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, and making the computation required by Revenue Ruling 80-7.


Filing Form 1040X to Amend Tax Return

The IRS will accept a joint 1040X with only one signature from a divorced or separated taxpayer requesting a separate refund check. The worksheet on the back of Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation, can guide a taxpayer through the computation required to split a tax refund check from taxpayers who filed joint tax returns

It is necessary to file Form 8370 and attach the form to your amended return. Legally, the refund belongs to the spouse whose income, deductions, and tax payments produced the refund as shown on the tax return. Filing jointly  as a married couple does not change who is entitled to the tax refund. Filing jointly only determines the amount of tax a couple has to pay. Therefore, it is perfectly acceptable and not too hard for the IRS to figure out how to issue separate refund checks to spouses.