Many married taxpayers opt to file a joint tax return because of the advantages that this filing status provides. Even if they subsequently divorce, both taxpayers are equally and severally responsible for the tax and any additional tax, interest, or penalties resulting from the joint return if they file jointly.
In most cases, both filers are accountable for the tax bill on joint tax returns. Innocent spouse relief, on the other hand, is a means to avoid paying more tax to the IRS if your spouse or ex-spouse committed serious mistakes on your joint tax return.
So, what exactly is innocent spouse relief, and how to qualify for it?
Innocent spouse relief is an IRS method that permits persons to avoid paying more tax, interest, and penalties if their spouse or ex-spouse failed to declare income, reported the income wrongly, or claimed tax deductions or credits improperly.
It is not easy to obtain innocent spouse relief. The IRS has the authority to decline your request, and the procedure can take up to six months. The IRS Publication 971 has all of the facts, but here are five guidelines to qualify for innocent spouse relief:
- You must submit your taxes together.
- The mistake must be due to the other individual.
- You must demonstrate your innocence.
- The situation must be persuasive.
- In general, you must apply for innocent spouse relief no later than two years after the IRS began attempting to collect the tax from you. (A few exceptions exist.)
How to File For Innocent Spouse Relief?
Fill out IRS Form 8857 to obtain innocent spouse relief or a written statement containing the same information, which you sign under penalties of perjury. The IRS will assess how much tax you must pay. If you file a joint return and request relief from joint and several duties, the IRS must notify the spouse with whom you filed jointly of your request and allow him or her to provide material for consideration on your claim.
Types of Innocent Spouse Relief
If you are not eligible for innocent spouse relief, you may have two alternative solutions:
- Separation of Liability Relief – When not correctly recorded on a joint return, it allows for the division of additional tax payable between you and your previous spouse or your present spouse you are legally separated from or not living with. You are then liable for the amount of tax that has been assigned to you. Separation of responsibility relief does not allow for refunds.
- Equitable Relief – This relief can be used if you do not qualify for innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief for anything that was not properly disclosed on a joint return and was usually attributable to your spouse. You may also be eligible for equitable relief if the amount of tax declared on your joint return is correct but the tax was not paid with the return.
For more in-depth information or get the best help for your innocent spouse relief needs, contact us here at Tax Expert for America today! We have the best tax expert team, always ready to provide you the best help you need and deserve! Also, we offer: