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Publication 971


If you are granted relief, refunds are:

Proof Required(p12)

The IRS will only refund payments you made with your own money. However, you must provide proof that you made the payments with your own money. Examples of proof are a copy of your bank statement or a canceled check. No proof is required if your individual refund was used by the IRS to pay a tax you owed on a joint tax return for another year.

Limit on Amount of Refund(p12)

You are not eligible for refunds of payments made with the joint return, joint payments, or payments that your spouse (or former spouse) made. For example, withholding tax and estimated tax payments cannot be refunded because they are considered made with the joint return. However, you may be entitled to a refund of your portion of a joint overpayment from another year that was applied to the joint tax for a different year. You will need to show your portion of the joint overpayment.
The amount of your refund is limited. Read the following chart to find out the limit.
IF you file Form 8857...THEN the refund cannot be more than...
Within 3 years after filing your returnThe part of the tax paid within 3 years (plus any extension of time for filing your return) before you filed Form 8857.
After the 3-year period, but within 2 years from the time you paid the taxThe tax you paid within 2 years immediately before you filed Form 8857.