Innocent Spouse Relief
What Is Innocent Spouse Relief?
Innocent Spouse Relief is an IRS program that is designed to provide relief from tax debts that were incurred during a marriage that has since ended. In short, someone who is requesting Innocent Spouse Relief is asking the IRS not to hold them responsible for a joint tax debt that was the fault of their former husband or wife.
If the IRS approves your request for relief, they will eliminate your liability for the back taxes and your former spouse will be solely responsible for repayment of the debt.
Is There a Time Limit for Claiming Innocent Spouse Relief?
No! The IRS previously had a limitaton that required you to file for Innocent Spouse Relief within two years of the original date that you filed a tax return. But, the IRS recently removed this requirement and there is no time limit now.
You may file at any time.
Who is Eligible?
There are actually three different types of Innocent Spouse Relief, and each one has slightly different qualifications. A basic overview is given below, but for a more detailed explanation we invite you to download our free guide below:
- Innocent Spouse Relief: you qualify if your spouse did not report income or claimed false deductions, and you did not know about it. Under this program, the IRS will not hold you liable for any of the debt.
- Separation of Liability: you qualify if your spouse did not report income or claimed false deductions, and you did not know about it. Under this program, the IRS will calculate your "fair share" of the tax debt based upon how much of the income on the return was yours and only hold you responsible for that amount.
- Equitable Relief: you qualify if your spouse did not report income or claimed false deductions, OR you just couldn't pay the tax when you filed the return. If your issue is simply one of not being able to pay, this is the only program available to you. Under this program, you explain to the IRS what portion you should be held liable for and why that is the fair thing for them to do.
Being divorced or separated does not automatically qualify you for Innocent Spouse relief, but is a factor that the IRS considers.
My Divorce Agreement Says My Ex is Supposed to Pay Our Tax Debt
The IRS doesn't care what your divorce agreement says. Legally, they were not a party to that agreement and never agreed to only hold one of you liable.
A divorce agreement alone does not qualify you for Innocent Spouse Relief, and it does not stop the IRS from continuing to attempt to collect the debt from you.
If it turns out that you pay your tax debt when your divorce decree said that you wouldn't have to, your only recourse is likely to sue your former spouse for being in contempt of the agreement.
What Should I Do if I Qualify?
Now that the IRS has removed their 2 year time-limit, many people will now qualify for this program who previously did not. We encourage you to call us right now to review whether or not you're a candidate for Innocent Spouse Relief.
Download Our Free Innocent Spouse Guide to Learn More
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