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Innocent Spouse
We Solve IRS Tax Problems

Do you owe the IRS money on a joint tax return? Are you divorced and being held liable for tax debts you did not accumulate?

Marriage provides many benefits, and tax advantages are a prime example. However, marriage can also bring risks and tax liabilities. When filing a joint tax return, the tax liability is shared between both parties. If there are any unpaid tax debts, the IRS can pursue both parties in effort to collect on the debt.

This can present problems for married couples, in which one member earned the bulk of the taxable income. Divorced couples can also be at risk for equal tax liability after they separate. Joint tax returns may become problematic down the road if the IRS determines that there are unpaid tax debts. Typically, the IRS will send a notice of adjustment to both parties, whether married or divorced. There are instances in which one member does not feel they are equally liable for the tax debt, regardless of marital status.

Innocent Spouse Relief

The IRS understands that there are circumstances in which two members of a joint tax return are not equally liable for a tax debt. They created Innocent Spouse Relief, to protect the member that is not responsible for accumulating the tax debt. The innocent spouse may be eligible to be relieved from taxes, penalties and interest that was acquired from a joint tax return that was (a) completed fraudulently by the other spouse or (b) contained errors or missing information.

If your spouse, or ex-spouse, is responsible for the majority of your tax debts, you may be able to find relief under this program. There are three types of Innocent Spouse Relief:

  • Classic Innocent Spouse Relief—for those that filed a joint tax return that reported an understated amount of tax. (This involves underestimating taxable income, overestimating deductions, adding in false taxable items, calculation errors or over estimation of exemptions.)The innocent spouse is relieved of liability due to divorce, unknowingly participating in the underestimation or your spouse abandoned you.
  • Relief by Separation of Liability—separates the unpaid tax liability between the innocent spouse and the other member. The innocent spouse is only held liable for their portion of the tax debt. The relief is provided due to divorce, widowed or legally separated for 12 or  more months when the tax return was filed.
  • Equitable Relief—for those who have unpaid or understated tax liabilities and do not meet the criteria for other types of relief.

If you feel you are unjustly held liable for a tax debt as the result of a joint tax return, contact us today! We can help you determine if you qualify for Innocent Spouse Relief and guide you through the process of finding relief from your tax debts.