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IRS.gov Website
Publication 971
taxmap/pubs/p971-005.htm#en_us_publink100098651

Refunds(p10)

rule
If you are granted relief, refunds are:
taxmap/pubs/p971-005.htm#en_us_publink100098652

Proof Required(p10)

rule
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.
taxmap/pubs/p971-005.htm#en_us_publink100098653

Refunds Under Equitable Relief(p10)

rule
In the following situations, you are eligible to receive a refund of certain payments you made.
taxmap/pubs/p971-005.htm#en_us_publink100098654

Underpaid tax.(p10)

rule
If you are granted relief for an underpaid tax, you are eligible for a refund of separate payments that you made after July 22, 1998. However, 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.
The amount of the refund is subject to the limit discussed later under Limit on Amount of Refund.
taxmap/pubs/p971-005.htm#en_us_publink100098655

Understated tax.(p10)

rule
If you are granted relief for an understated tax, you are eligible for a refund of certain payments made under an installment agreement that you entered into with the IRS, if you have not defaulted on the installment agreement. You are not in default if the IRS did not issue you a notice of default or take any action to end the installment agreement. Only installment payments made after the date you filed Form 8857 are eligible for a refund.
The amount of the refund is subject to the limit discussed next.
taxmap/pubs/p971-005.htm#en_us_publink100098656

Limit on Amount of Refund(p10)

rule
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.