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4 Answers

What do I put in Line 20 on IRS Form 8379 Injured Spouse Allocation?

Asked by: megan 1797 views YA Discussion

This will be my 4th year filing Form 8379. This will be my 4th year asking what I should put in Line 20 to maximize my refund. I have asked countless times, to countless people (“professionals” I was willing to pay included). I have yet to receive an answer to the question, “WHAT DO I PUT IN LINE 20 TO GET THE BIGGEST REFUND!” Every answer is a version of the IRS instructions (whom I will not be listening to since my desire is to get the largest refund possible.) Every year, a VAST majority of the refund is taken (if not all).

So another year, another shot:

Married, 2 kids, wife is a homemaker and owes for student loans
Wages – 45,500 (45,500/0)
Deduction – 11,600 (5,800/5,800)
Exemptions – 4 (3/1)
Credits – 2,000 (2,000/0)
Withheld – 998 (998/0)
Payments – ????????????????????

How others found here:

  • form 8379 line 20
  • form 8379 2012
  • 2012 form 8379

4 Answers



  1. Bostonian In MO on Feb 01, 2012 Reply

    Payments are the quarterly estimated payments that you and your spouse made using Form 1040-ES. If you made no estimated tax payments the only legal or possible answer is $ 0 in all three columns. You can’t just make stuff up to get a larger refund!

    The instructions are QUITE CLEAR about what goes on line 20. Putting false information to try to get a larger refund will get you in serious trouble. Among other things, the IRS already has a record of any payments made so made up numbers can’t influence your refund. For another, wage earners very rarely need to make estimated payments so any amount there will be questioned if your only source of income is wages subject to withholding.

    What state do you live in? The allocation is made based upon state law and in some cases it does not matter what you put on Form 8379, most if not all of any joint refund will be taken and applied to the debt.

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  2. card-ron on Feb 01, 2012 Reply

    Did you or your spouse make any estimated tax payments? If not, you have nothing to put on line 20. If so, and if you both agree, allocate all of the estimated tax payments to the person whose refund you want to maximize.

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  3. mrreliable3599 on Feb 02, 2012 Reply

    If you’ve had “countless” tax professionals who can’t answer the question about what to put on line 20, get back on your space ship and come home because you’re not on this planet.

    “Payments” means estimated tax payments.

    Did you actually pay for advice? If you’re calling around trying to freeload free tax advice, you probably will get really vague, useless answers. They’re too busy with their paying customers.

    There’s nothing you can make up to enter on line 20 that will maximize your refund.

    You’re not going to listen to IRS instructions? Because your desire is to get the largest refund possible? What?

    What, are you going to bamboozle the IRS, and trick them into sending you money? Not going to listen to the IRS instructions?

    If you’re avoiding the rules and don’t want to follow IRS instructions, my bet is you’re not filling out the form properly.

    I’d suggest getting professional advice from someone who knows what estimated taxes are. Actually, if you are actually willing to pay a tax professional a fair fee for their knowlege and their work, I’ll bet they get real smart real quick.

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  4. Chelle on Jul 05, 2012 Reply

    In the original question’s defense, some of us out there genuinely don’t know what the term “estimated tax payment” means. I believe I filled it out wrong, because I was thinking this was the payment that we were supposed to get back to us (refund), and I filled out the form, splitting it into what I felt I deserved. I now know that since the both of us do not actually send in quarterly payments, we are supposed to leave this blank (hopefully I have it correct now), so please…. don’t insult someone’s ignorance of the subject (I was in the same boat).

    This is the same reason students are scared to ask questions in school…people always have something negative and wise to say when someone could actually be confused…God help us all

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