All About Innocent Spouse Relief

Jan 05, 2023 By Triston Martin

How could something possibly occur in the actual world without your knowing about it? Answer: yes, if you and your spouse filed a combined tax return and both of your names appeared on the return.

While this is an extreme case, it is unfortunately not uncommon for a spouse to be questioned about their partner's potentially illegal tax behavior. Usually, it's for a minor issue that can be fixed quickly, so it's not a big deal. We were able to save the marriage.

But there are cases where fraud has been done on purpose, leaving the spouse in the dark to try to explain the situation to authorities. Knowing your partner has been unfaithful and that you will be held responsible for their mess (and possibly their debts) can be a humiliating and terrible experience.

The Innocent Spouse Relief program is a blessing from the IRS. A spouse's criminal acts are forgiven, provided certain conditions are met. Knowing that you won't have to bear the whole weight of the destruction is a tremendous comfort. Other victimized spouses have benefited from our services, and now it's your turn.

Methods of Comfort

Suppose you and your now-ex-spouse or currently-spouse are legally separated or no longer living together due to an item that should have been reported on a joint return but wasn't. In that case, you may be eligible for Separation of Liability Relief. You must pay the whole amount when taxes are calculated and applied to your account. As a result of the protection from joint and several liabilities, refunds are not possible.

Husband or Wife Relieve Without Guilt

To be considered for innocent spouse relief, you must satisfy the following requirements. The tax on your joint return should have been more accurate due to an error made by your spouse. Income received by your spouse that is not reported on the joint return is an example of a mistake. Incorrectly stated deductions, credits, and property basis are also examples of joint return errors.

Protection from Legal Obligations

Joint tax returns are required for separation of obligation relief unless one of the following applies when the relief is requested. You and your spouse (with whom you filed a joint return) are no longer lawfully married to each other.

The death of a spouse has left you alone. You haven't lived with your spouse in the year leading up to your request for relief.

You also can't establish that you were under duress when you signed the joint return, and you can't have had real knowledge of the item that contributed to the deficit when you signed the return.

Fair Redress

you must prove that holding you accountable for the deficiency or underpayment of tax would be unfair under all the facts and circumstances. Further, you must fulfill the other prerequisites outlined in IRS Publication 971, Innocent Spouse Relief. For further information on obtaining equitable relief and whether you qualify, including how the IRS will consider abuse and financial control by the non-requesting spouse, see Revenue Procedure 2013-34PDF.

Registering a Statement

You must file Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, with the IRS if you are applying, or you must file a written statement with the same information as Form 8857 and sign it under penalty of perjury. You can learn more about innocent spouse relief by reading Publication 971. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) must advise your spouse of your request for relief from the joint and several liabilities of a joint return and allow them to respond with evidence supporting your claim.

Suspension of IRS Collection Procedures and Prohibition of Levy

Generally, suppose a spouse files a valid claim for innocent spouse relief. In that case, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is prevented from collecting through a levy or a court proceeding, and the IRS's time to collect is extended or prolonged. From the date the claim is submitted until the sooner a waiver is filed, the date the 90 days for petitioning the Tax Court expires, or the date the Tax Court's decision becomes final, plus an additional 60 days in each scenario. For information on when a law will stop being effective, see FAQ No. 160.

Claims for relief or distribution of a joint and several responsibilities shown on a joint return are considered claims for damaged spouses. In contrast, claims for allocation of a combined refund are considered claims for innocent spouses. If your spouse has a separate federal or state tax, child or spousal support, or federal non-tax debt (like a college loan) that they intend to use their refund from your joint return to pay off, you are an injured spouse.

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