Innocent Spouse Relief

Under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), spouses who file joint income tax returns are subject to joint and several liability for the income tax reported on those returns. In other words, the IRS will hold each spouse responsible for the entire amount of tax due. Sometimes, however, one spouse may be innocent of actions taken by the other spouse resulting in an understatement on the tax return. In such cases, upon a qualifying administrative “innocent spouse relief” request, the IRS may be persuaded to find that joint and several liability is inequitable. When a spouse requests innocent spouse relief, the availability of such relief will depend on current marital status or current household composition. So long as the requesting spouse is no longer married to or living with the spouse with whom he/she filed jointly, then the requesting spouse may be entitled to full or partial relief based on three grounds: 1. Lack of knowledge, 2. Separate return determination, or 3. Equitable relief. For a requesting spouse who is still married to or living with the other spouse, relief may still be sought on grounds of lack of knowledge or equitable relief; however, separate return determination is unavailable as a means to relief. If you are considering innocent spouse relief, please contact us so we can walk you through the process and advise you about your rights and the relief availability.

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