Eligibility for Innocent Spouse Relief from the IRS

Our True Resolve Tax Professionals in NYC, New York work with clients who often ask about eligibility for innocent spouse relief from the IRS. Right out of the gate, here are important questions to answer:

  1. Did you file a joint tax return that has an understatement of tax?
  2. Was this understatement due to mistakes made solely by your spouse?
  3. When you signed this joint return, did you not know or have any reason to know about an understatement – including under-reporting income or claiming an improper deduction?
  4. Based on your situation, would it be unfair for the IRS to hold you liable?

If you said yes to every item on the list, then you might qualify for innocent spouse relief. And that’s a big might. In fact, securing your eligibility for innocent spouse relief from the IRS is an uphill battle.

No Matter What, the IRS Wants to Be Paid in Full

Being married and living together inherently leads to filing a joint tax return with the IRS. However, this also means you’re both liable for any taxes owed, as well as interest and penalties. And if there’s ever an audit, you’re both on the hook for whatever the audit uncovers. This holds true even when one spouse makes all the money and manages all of your household finances.

Now what if you file jointly, get divorced shortly after, and the court designates your ex-spouse as liable for the tax bill? Unfortunately, this does not protect you from the IRS. They will doggedly pursue you to the full extent of their powers to collect all taxes owed on that jointly filed return.

You likely know by now that saying, “I had no idea” about an underpayment or exaggerated deduction is not going to be enough. Your best option is to contact the True Resolve Tax Professionals and speak with one of our licensed, IRS Enrolled Agent. With decades of experience assisting in a variety of situations, we’re uniquely qualified to help you with eligibility for innocent spouse relief from the IRS.

Making Your Innocent Spouse Case with the IRS

At True Resolve, we’ll first assess your circumstances and determine the best path forward. While there are never any guarantees with the IRS, we’ll help you present the best possible case. We’ll look at all the facts that go into establishing your knowledge of the errors, including:

  • The nature of the error – type, complexity, and amount – relative to other items in the return
  • Your financial situation as spouses (even if you’re currently separated or divorced)
  • Your education, business experience, and participation in the activity that resulted in the error
  • Whether or not you asked questions about items or omissions before or when you signed it
  • If the error represents a departure from a recurring pattern in the returns from prior years

Another area we’ll focus on innocent spouse relief is question 4, would it be unfair for the IRS to hold you liable? We’ll address whether: you received a significant benefit from the actual understatement or the return, your spouse deserted you, or you and your spouse have been divorced or separated.

Because many of these items are subjective, it’s important to fill out the paperwork and word things just right in order to have the best chance at securing your eligibility for innocent spouse relief from the IRS.

Take the Next Step to Apply for Innocent Spouse Relief

Even if you don’t qualify for standard relief, you may be able to secure separation of liability or equitable relief which have their own requirements. At True Resolve, we’ll untangle the complexities and help you find the best possible option for dealing with your IRS issue. We can even work with the IRS directly on your behalf. To learn more about your potential eligibility for innocent spouse relief from the IRS, get in touch with us today to schedule your 30-minute consultation.