Filing For Innocent Spouse Relief
It is a common practice for married couples to file joint tax returns, primarily because filing jointly provides certain benefits. However, by filing together, both individuals risk later being held legally responsible for the entire amount even if the couple goes through a divorce or if one spouse earned most of the income. Fortunately, in some cases, spouses can get a certain measure of relief from liability by applying for innocent spouse relief. There are specific deadlines for filing for innocent spouse relief, so if you filed a joint tax return with your spouse, but have since obtained a divorce, it is important to retain the services of an experienced tax attorney who can help ensure that your application is completed and submitted on time.
Basic Innocent Spouse Relief
There are three types of innocent spouse relief, the first of which is basic innocent spouse relief. A person may be eligible for relief if the applicant’s spouse or former spouse:
- Failed to report income;
- Reported income improperly; or
- Claimed improper deductions or credits.
In order to qualify for relief, an applicant must satisfy a series of requirements, including that:
- He or she filed a joint return;
- The return had a tax deficiency that is attributable to an error made by the applicant’s spouse;
- The applicant can demonstrate that when he or she signed the joint return, the applicant had no knowledge of the deficiency; and
- Based on all the facts and circumstances, it would be unfair to hold the applicant liable for the tax deficiency.
If these conditions are met, an applicant must submit a request by completing Form 8857 and filing it with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Alternatively, applicants can submit a signed and written statement that contains the same information found on Form 8857. Once the form is submitted, the IRS must notify the applicant’s spouse of the request, which allows him or her the opportunity of providing additional information.
Finally, a request for innocent spouse relief must be filed within two years of the date that the IRS made its first attempt to collect the tax or the applicant will be barred from obtaining relief.
Contact an Experienced and Dedicated Florida Tax Attorney Today
Owing back taxes can have financially and emotionally devastating consequences for taxpayers, including wage garnishment, bank levies, and the placing of liens on valuable property. Penalties and interest can accumulate gradually, driving taxpayers further into debt, so if you are being investigated by the IRS, it is vital to contact a dedicated tax attorney who can help protect your interests. If you live in the Daytona Beach, Orlando, Miami, or Jacksonville areas, please contact Ronald Cutler, P.A. by calling 386-788-4480 and a member of our legal team will help you schedule a free consultation. We understand that our clients lead busy lives, so we make an effort to work around your schedule as much as possible. If you are unable to set-up an appointment during the week, we would be happy to reserve an appointment for the weekend to ensure that you receive the one-on-one attention that your case deserves.