My wife has some student loans from 5 years before I met her. We usually file a joint return (although that's less important now that I likely won't get Earned Income Tax Credit). So I have to file a form for injured spouse so that my taxes don't pay for her student loans.
She makes significantly less than the new standard deduction would be. Do I still have to split the standard deduction in half to give her half the credit or can I give her her full gross income (< $10k) and keep the rest to reduce my tax burden ?

If I'm not eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, would I still profit heavily from filing a joint return given the vastly different incomes (she makes less than 20% of what I do) ?

  • 2
    It's not clear why you use the word injured. Can you clarify? – Eric Oct 10 at 19:16
  • Injured spouse is the term the IRS gave it. irs.gov/forms-pubs/form-8379-injured-spouse-allocation (I don't know why). It just means that the other spouse has old burdens that they don't expect the spouse to pay. – xyious Oct 10 at 19:28
up vote 1 down vote accepted

The instructions for that seem pretty straight forward: you split it down the middle and allocate half to each of you. There doesn't appear to be any exemption based on her income, or lack thereof.

Per https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i8379.pdf

Line 15. If you used the standard deduction on your joint tax return, enter in both columns (b) and (c) one-half of the basic standard deduction shown in column (a).

However, if you checked the boxes for age or blindness at the top of page 2 of Form 1040 or 1040A, enter your total standard deduction on line 15, column (a). Allocate your basic standard deduction as explained earlier.

Your basic standard deduction is as follows:
2012—$11,900;
2013—$12,200;
2014—$12,400;
2015—$12,600;
2016—$12,600;
2017—$12,700.

If someone could claim you or your spouse as a dependent, your basic standard deduction is the amount on line 3a of the standard deduction worksheet, found in the Form 1040 or Form 1040A instructions. Then use the following worksheet to allocate the additional standard deduction (the difference between the total standard deduction and the basic standard deduction).

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