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Innocent Spouse Relief

Innocent spouse relief

Taxpayers can find themselves in hot water with the IRS because of mistakes or misrepresentations of income on joint tax returns filed with their spouse or former spouse. Often times one party feels they were not the cause of the improperly reported income and should not be held responsible for the back taxes, penalties and interest. In this case, they may be able to file for innocent spouse relief.

IRS requirements for innocent spouse relief:

  • You filed a joint return that has an understatement of tax that is solely attributable to your spouse's erroneous item. An "erroneous item" includes income received by your spouse but which was omitted from the joint return. Deductions, credits, and property basis are also erroneous items if they are incorrectly reported on the joint return
  • You establish that at the time you signed the joint return you did not know, and had no reason to know, that there was an understatement of tax and
  • Taking into account all the facts and circumstances, it would be unfair to hold you liable for the understatement of tax

Types of Innocent Spouse Relief

Classic Innocent Spouse Relief

By requesting classic innocent spouse relief, you can avoid being held responsible for paying tax, interest, and penalties if your spouse (or former spouse) improperly reported items or omitted items on your joint tax return.

Relief by Separation of Liability

Under this type of relief, you divide the understatement of tax plus interest and penalties on your joint return between you and your spouse (or former spouse). This type of relief is only for unpaid tax amounts, there are no refunds allowed.

Equitable Relief

If you do not qualify for the other types of innocent spouse relief, you may still be relieved of responsibility for tax, interest, and penalties through equitable relief. This is the only option that allows you to get relief for the nonpayment of tax.

Injured Spouse Tax Relief

If your spouse owes money for back child support, unpaid alimony, back taxes, outstanding student loans, or other federal obligations that are legally enforceable, the government can take this money out of your tax refund. If you file a joint tax return, the government can take the entire refund to help pay the debt even though only one party is personally responsible for it, but that doesn't have to happen. If the debt does not belong to you personally, you're not obligated to give up your part of the tax refund just because your spouse owes money. You are entitled to your share of the refund and can request it by filing Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation. You can submit this request at the time you file your tax return or afterward

I can help individuals in the Tucson, AZ area and throughout the country get the innocent spouse tax relief they deserve. If you think you qualify, call me now at 520-433-9291. I'll make arrangements for a  consultation to discuss your situation and help you through the process of filing for the appropriate type of innocent spouse relief.