What is Innocent Spouse Relief?
Did you recently come to find out that your spouse or ex-spouse, lied about their income or debt without your knowledge of the past joint tax return? Is the IRS trying to hold you responsible for somebody else’s tax debt? In that case, there’s a chance you might qualify for Innocent Spouse Relief.
Requirements to Qualify as an Innocent Spouse
In order to qualify as an innocent spouse, you need to meet all of the following criteria:
You filled a joint tax return.
Your spouse or ex-spouse improperly reported income on the joint return. For example:
Other unpaid payments
When you signed the joint return, you didn’t know that the return was incorrect.
Due to the circumstances, it would be unfair to hold you liable.
Unfortunately, whenever you put your signature on a joint tax return, the IRS will hold you responsible for the debt. However, if you are innocent, you should apply for an innocent spouse relief. To avoid the possibility of being in this situation, it’s recommended to have a tax audit before submitting a tax return to the IRS.
Requesting Innocent Spouse Relief
If you think you qualify for innocent spouse relief, file Form 8857 with the IRS to separate yourself from your spouse’s debt.
What is an Injured Spouse?
Make sure you don’t confuse “innocent spouse” with “injured spouse”. An injured spouse is when you file a joint return and instead of getting a tax refund, your money is applied to the past tax debts of your spouse. In that case, you can file for Injured Spouse Allocation and request to get your share of the money back.