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Innocent Spouse Relief. You must meet all of the following conditions to qualify for innocent spouse relief: You filed a joint return that has an understatement of tax that's solely attributable to your spouse's erroneous item. An erroneous item includes income received by your spouse but omitted from the joint return.
What are the four types of innocent spouse relief?
You must file Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, to request any of the methods of relief. Publication 971, Innocent Spouse Relief, explains each type of relief, who may qualify, and how to request relief.
Which taxes are not subject to innocent spouse relief?
For example, Household Employment taxes, Individual Shared Responsibility payments, and business taxes and trust fund recovery penalty for employment taxes are not eligible for innocent spouse relief. The IRS will figure the tax you are responsible for after you file Form 8857
Is wife responsible for husband's tax debt?
A: No. If your spouse incurred tax debt from a previous income tax filing before you were married, you are not liable. ... If your spouse owes back taxes when you tie the knot, file separately until they repay the debt
The IRS cannot take collection action against the separate income of a non-liable spouse. If separate tax returns are filed, only the person who signed and filed the return is legally obligated to pay the taxes. If your spouse did not sign or file a joint return with you, then the IRS cannot collect from him or her.
Legally, debt brought into marriage is typically the responsibility of the person who incurred it. Some married couples choose to pay off separate debts together, but in the event of a divorce, remaining debt brought into the marriage will be owed by the spouse who incurred it.
Many married taxpayers choose to file a joint tax return because of certain benefits this filing status allows them. When filing jointly, both taxpayers are jointly and severally liable for the tax and any additions to tax, interest, or penalties that arise from the joint return even if they later divorce. Joint and several liability means that each taxpayer is legally responsible for the entire liability. Thus, both spouses on a married filing jointly return are generally held responsible for all the tax due even if one spouse earned all the income or claimed improper deductions or credits. This is also true even if a divorce decree states that a former spouse will be responsible for any amounts due on previously filed joint returns. In some cases, however, a spouse can get relief from being jointly and severally liable.
Note: You must request innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief no later than 2 years after the date the IRS first attempted to collect the tax from you. For equitable relief, you must request relief during the period of time the IRS can collect the tax from you. If you're looking for a refund of tax you paid, then you must request it within the statutory period for seeking a refund, which is generally three years after the date the return is filed or two years following the payment of the tax, whichever is later. See Publication 971, Innocent Spouse Relief for additional restrictions on refunds available under innocent spouse relief, equitable relief, and relief based on community property laws.
Separation of Liability Relief
To qualify for separation of liability relief, you must have filed a joint return and must meet one of the following requirements at the time you request relief:
You must also not have had actual knowledge of the item that gave rise to the deficiency at the time you signed the joint return, unless you can show that you signed the return under duress.
If you don't qualify for innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief, you may still qualify for equitable relief. To qualify for equitable relief, you must establish that under all the facts and circumstances, it would be unfair to hold you liable for the deficiency or underpayment of tax. In addition, you must meet the other requirements listed in Publication 971, Innocent Spouse Relief. See Revenue Procedure 2013-34 (PDF) for information about how the IRS will take into account abuse and financial control by the nonrequesting spouse in determining whether equitable relief is warranted.
Form to File
To seek innocent spouse relief, separation of liability relief, or equitable relief, you should submit to the IRS a completed Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief (PDF) or a written statement containing the same information required on Form 8857, which you sign under penalties of perjury. You may also refer to Publication 971, Innocent Spouse Relief for more information. If you request relief from the joint and several liability of a joint return, the IRS is required to notify the spouse you filed jointly with of your request and allow him or her to provide information for consideration regarding your claim.
Community Property States
If you lived in a community property state and didn't file as married filing jointly, you might qualify for relief from the operation of state community property law. Community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Refer to Publication 971 for more details.
Injured Spouse vs. Innocent Spouse
An injured spouse claim is for allocation of a refund of a joint refund while an innocent spouse claim is for relief or allocation of a joint and several liability reflected on a joint return. You're an injured spouse if all or part of your share of a refund from a joint return was or will be applied against the separate past-due federal tax, state tax, child or spousal support, or federal non-tax debt (such as a student loan) owed by your spouse. If you're an injured spouse, you may be entitled to recoup your share of the refund. For more information Call Us (888) 401-0994 Now.