Question: I’m currently separated from my spouse, who owns his own business, and we are in the process of getting a divorce. I have always filed jointly with my husband and now the IRS is sending me notices stating I owe $65,000. I have no idea how they are coming up with this amount as my spouse said he was always taking care of this and paying the IRS what was owed.
Answer: You may be able to avoid this liability entirely under the IRS’s Innocent Spouse Relief rules. Under federal law if an income tax return is signed by both husband and wife, both spouses are 100% responsible for the taxes owed. However, the law permits special consideration where a spouse cannot be held responsible for the underreporting of income or the understatement of tax that are attributable to the other spouse.
If you meet the following criteria you may be able to apply for innocent spouse relief: Your spouse didn’t report all their income; and you were not aware of it and no reason to know about it when you signed the tax return; and it would be unfair to hold you liable for the taxes owed due to your spouse’s error. If you feel you were deceived by your spouse or tricked into signing a return you thought was correct this will help your case too. There are many other ways you may be eligible for relief under the IRS’s innocent spouse rules and we can help sort this out and determine the proper path for resolution.
You may send a request (Form 8857) to the IRS to have the debts of your spouse (or former spouse) relieved if your spouse improperly reported items or omitted items on your tax return. If approved, the IRS will “split the transcript” and you will no longer be responsible for paying tax, interest, and penalties. In some instances, the IRS can issue partial relief and reduce your portion of the liability.
In most cases, innocent spouse relief is limited to those who are no longer married.
At McCauley Law Offices, P.C., our lawyers will find a solution to your tax problems, no matter how complex your IRS issue is. View our services and contact us (or call 610-388-4474) to schedule a free consultation with one of our tax attorneys. View and purchase Gregory McCauley’s published work “TAXJAMS: Simple Solutions” on Amazon. From our office in Chester County, Pennsylvania, we find tax solutions for clients throughout the country.