Innocent Spouse Relief

Many married taxpayers choose to file a joint tax return because of certain benefits this filing status allows that generally reduce the income taxes you are required to pay. When you file a joint return, the law generally makes both you and your spouse responsible for the entire tax liability even if you later divorce or separate.

The IRS created certain provisions for innocent spouse tax relief where it would be unfair to hold one spouse liable for the tax debt created by another which may allow you to escape the tax, penalties and interest that were acquired from a joint tax return that you filed with your spouse or ex-spouse.

Relief provisions are available to married, divorced or separated taxpayers that qualify

  • Are you the victim?
  • Did you file your taxes jointly with your spouse?
  • Were you denied your tax refund?
  • Are you being asked to pay your spouse or former spouse’s obligations?
  • Is it unfair for you to be held liable for these obligations?

Injured Spouse Relief

If you filed a joint return and all or part of your share of the overpayment was, or is expected to be, applied against your spouse’s past-due debts, you may be able to obtain relief when:

  1. You have made, or reported tax payments, claimed a refundable tax credit or
  2. You are not legally obligated to pay the past-due amount

Other Relief Provisions

In some cases, a spouse will be relieved of the tax, interest, and penalties on a joint tax return. Three types of relief are available:

  1. Innocent spouse relief
  2. Separation of liability
  3. Equitable relief

Innocent Spouse Relief

By requesting innocent spouse relief, you can be relieved of responsibility for paying tax, interest, and penalties if your spouse (or former spouse) improperly reported items or omitted items on your tax return. Generally, the tax, interest, and penalties that qualify for relief can only be collected from your spouse or former spouse.

You must meet all of the following conditions to qualify for innocent spouse relief.

  1. You filed a joint tax return;
  2. There is an understated tax on the return that is due to erroneous items of your spouse (or former spouse;
  3. You can show that when you signed the joint return you did not know, and had no reason to know, that the understated tax existed;

Taking into account all the facts and circumstances, it would be unfair to hold you liable for the understated tax.

Separation of Liability

Under this form of tax relief, the underpayment of tax is separated between you and your spouse or former spouse thereby holding you liable only for the portion of the tax that you are responsible for. To qualify

  1. You must have filed a joint tax return;
  2. Your are no longer married to your former spouse or you are legally separated from the spouse you filed the joint returns that you are requesting relief from, or;
  3. You are not a member of the same household as the spouse with whom you filed the joint tax return at any time during the 12 month period ending on the date you filed the Request for Innocent Spouse Relief (Form 8857)

Equitable Relief

Equitable relief is a mechanism of the innocent spouse provisions where you can qualify if you do not meet the innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief provisions. If you do not qualify for relief under the innocent spouse relief or separation of liability provisions, the IRS will then determine if you qualify for tax relief under this final provision.

How Can We Help You?

Meet or talk with us to see if you qualify. If so, we can help guide you through the process, represent your before the IRS and prepare the paperwork fairly quickly and easily.

You can also complete the “Get Your Free Tax Evaluation” form located on the right-hand side of each page of our website. Provide your name, email, phone number and a brief description of your problem. A licensed representative will call you.

This is a paid service from licensed, certified public accountants, experienced, knowledgeable and highly qualified in IRS problem resolution and tax representation. Typical fees can range from $2,500 and greater dependent upon difficulty associated with your case and the potential liability reduction afforded.