What is Innocent Spouse Relief?

When you file for innocent spouse relief, you can be relieved of the financial responsibilities tagged on to you from your spouse. These responsibilities would include any taxes, interest, or penalties that resulted from your spouse improperly inputting on their tax return.

Form 8857 is the official document that determines what taxes are forgivable on your behalf. Figuring out the amount is not your responsibility, but the How To Allocate the Understatement of Tax section of Publication 971 allows you to do so.

Please note: this form is not simply a “get out of jail free card”; you still may be responsible for any interest, tax, and penalties that do not qualify.

Who Qualifies for Innocent Spouse Relief?

To be considered for Innocent Spouse Relief, you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Your tax return was filed jointly.
  • Proven evidence that your spouse filed the joint return improperly/displays an understatement of tax due to “Erroneous Items.”
  • Upon your signing of the return, you had no recollection (or any intent of knowing) that the return was filed incorrectly.
  • Given specific conditions, it would be unfair to be held responsible for said unpaid taxes.
  • Erroneous Items are essentially items that were either incorrect or left out of a return. Some of the most common erroneous items include items that went unreported or the occurrence of incorrect deduction, credit, or basis claimed by the spouse. (Ex. claiming a deductible on a state fine for your business, as fines are not deductible).

When To Seek Professional Help

In general, we always recommend seeking professional help to qualify for Innocent Spouse Relief, since it can be so complicated.

Unlike other types of tax relief programs, Innocent Spouse Relief requires proof that you had no recollection of the unpaid tax balance or incorrect filing. It is best to seek a tax attorney to help strategize and present your case to the IRS, as the IRS will actively work against a taxpayer claiming innocence.

If you need assistance or more information about Innocent Spouse Relief, feel free to call one of our certified tax experts at 833-419-RISE(7473).

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