You may have chosen your spouse, but that doesn’t mean you have to choose their back taxes, too. With Innocent Spouse Relief, you can stay happily married while separating yourself from their tax debt.
There are very few instances where the IRS offers total tax debt forgiveness to a taxpayer. One of them is through Innocent Spouse Relief. Under certain circumstances, the IRS will essentially erase your debt. You must prove that your spouse, or former spouse, failed to report or underreported income without your knowledge, or they fraudulently claimed deductions or credits. If you are still married to your spouse, it can be difficult to prove that you had no knowledge of the wrongdoing, especially if you signed the return. In many Innocent Spouse Relief cases, the parties are no longer together.
There are three other forms of spousal tax relief available, including:
Separation of Liability Relief The IRS basically splits the tax liability between you and your spouse. You will only be responsible for the portion allocated to you.
Injured Spouse Relief If your refund is taken to satisfy your spouse’s debt (typically child support), you may be able to get your money back through an injured spouse claim.
Equitable Relief This is typically requested when you are ineligible for the other types of spousal relief. The IRS must agree that it would be unfair to hold you liable for your spouse’s tax debt.
If you’re facing unaffordable tax debt due to your spouse’s negligence, give Tax Defense Network a call. We can help you determine which of the various tax relief options are right for you.
Innocent Spouse Relief Requirements
Like any other tax debt relief program, there are certain qualifications you must meet in order to receive Innocent Spouse Relief. Per the IRS, you may not be responsible for your spouse’s or former spouse’s taxes if all of the following are true:
You filed a joint return for the year(s) in question
The tax liability resulted from erroneous items of the person with whom you filed the joint return (like unreported income or an incorrect deduction, credit, or basis)
You can show that you did not participate or possess any knowledge of the existence of the understated tax existed
Taking all facts and circumstances into account, it would be unfair to hold you responsible for the tax debt
You and your spouse (current or former) have not transferred any property to one another in an effort to defraud the IRS
You must also provide the IRS with adequate information to prove your case before it will grant relief. It is important not to embellish or falsify any information on your application, as this could result in penalties for perjury. At Tax Defense Network, our qualified tax professionals can file an IRS Innocent Spouse Relief request on your behalf, ensuring all information is accurate and no important details are left out.
“[We were looking] for resolution of several years of tax issues lingering over our heads that snowballed into an overwhelming sense of despair. My spouse and I were treated with respect and concern for our situation. Tax Defense Network took care of all our tax issues in a quick and legal manner with excellent results. Our despair turned into joy twofold plus we are 100% compliant. Thanks for all that you do!”
— Katherine W.
Common Questions About Innocent Spouse Relief
Q:How long does Innocent Spouse Relief take?
Once you’ve filed Form 8857 and formally requested relief, the IRS may take up to six months to make a decision on your case. During that time, the IRS will be reviewing your tax information and contacting the spouse or former spouse with whom you filed a joint tax return.
Q:If I am separated or divorced, am I still responsible for my former’s spouse’s tax debt?
Unfortunately, whether you’re married, separated, or divorced, the IRS will not let you off the hook if the tax debt was assessed during your marriage and you filed jointly. IRS Innocent Spouse Relief, however, can relieve your liability for the due balance.
Q:Is there a time limit for filing Innocent Spouse Relief?
Generally, you must file Form 8857 no later than two years after the first IRS attempt to collect the tax debt. There are exceptions to this rule, however, and our tax professionals can help you navigate those confusing guidelines.
Q:Will the IRS contact my spouse/former spouse if I file for Innocent Spouse Relief?
Yes. The IRS is required by law to reach out to your spouse/former spouse. That person will be able to provide information for consideration regarding your IRS Innocent Spouse Relief claim.
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