Many married taxpayers choose to file a joint tax return because of certain benefits this filing status allows that generally reduce the income taxes you are required to pay. When you file a joint return, the law generally makes both you and your spouse responsible for the entire tax liability even if you later divorce or separate. However, in certain circumstances it is unfair that the obligations of one spouse be applied to another. Accordingly, certain relief provisions are available to married, divorced or separated taxpayers that qualify.
Ã¢â‚¬¢ Are you the Ã¢â‚¬Å“victimÃ¢â‚¬?
Ã¢â‚¬¢ Did you file your taxes jointly with your spouse?
Ã¢â‚¬¢ Were you denied your tax refund?
Ã¢â‚¬¢ Are you being asked to pay your spouse or former spouseâ€˜s obligations?
Ã¢â‚¬¢ Is it unfair for you to be held liable for these obligations?
Injured Spouse Relief
If you filed a joint return and all or part of your share of the overpayment was, or is expected to be, applied against your spouseâ€˜s past-due debts, you may be able to obtain relief when:
1. You have made, or reported tax payments, claimed a refundable tax credit or
2. You are not legally obligated to pay the past-due amount
Other Relief Provisions
In some cases, a spouse will be relieved of the tax, interest, and penalties on a joint tax return. Three types of relief are available.
1. Innocent spouse relief.
2. Separation of liability.
3. Equitable relief.
Innocent Spouse Relief
By requesting innocent spouse relief, you can be relieved of responsibility for paying tax, interest, and penalties if your spouse (or former spouse) improperly reported items or omitted items on your tax return. Generally, the tax, interest, and penalties that qualify for relief can only be collected from your spouse or former spouse.
You must meet all of the following conditions to qualify for innocent spouse relief.
1. You filed a joint tax return;
2. There is an understated tax on the return that is due to erroneous items of your spouse (or former spouse;
3. You can show that when you signed the joint return you did not know, and had no reason to know, that the understated tax existed;
4. Taking into account all the facts and circumstances, it would be unfair to hold you liable for the understated tax
Separation of liability
Under this type of relief, the understated tax (plus interest and penalties) on your joint return is allocated between you and your spouse (or former spouse). The understated tax allocated to you is generally the amount you are responsible for. This type of relief is available only for unpaid liabilities resulting from the understated tax (refunds are not allowed). The relief discussed here does not apply to any part of the understated tax due to your spouseâ€˜s erroneous items of which you had actual knowledge except where you were the victim of spousal abuse or domestic violence.
If you do not qualify for innocent spouse relief, separation of liability relief, or relief from liability arising from community property law, you may still be relieved of responsibility for tax, interest, and penalties through equitable relief.
You may qualify for equitable relief if you meet all of the following general conditions.
1. You are not eligible for innocent spouse relief, separation of liability relief, or relief from liability arising from community property law;
2. You have an understated tax or an underpaid tax;
3. You have not paid the tax;
4. Taking into account all the facts and circumstances, it would be unfair to hold you liable for the understated or underpaid tax;
5. You did not transfer assets to one another as a part of a fraudulent scheme, or to avoid tax or payment of taxes
How Can We Help You?
Meet or talk with us to see if you qualify. If you qualify, we can help guide you through the process, represent your before the IRS and prepare the paperwork fairly quickly and easily.