What is an IRS innocent spouse claim? Spouses left with a joint tax liability as a result of financial neglect or other adverse actions by their spouse (or ex-spouse) may qualify for tax relief by utilizing the Innocent Spouse program. The IRS provides three different kinds of relief under this program; Innocent Spouse Relief, Relief by Separation of Liability, Equitable Relief.
A taxpayer who qualifies under the innocent spouse program will be relieved of the joint tax liability either in full or in part, along with penalties and interest. In cases where full removal of the back taxes is warranted, the innocent spouse would no longer be responsible for the tax liability, and any previously filed tax lien would be removed.
Claims are made using Form 8857 Request for Innocent Spouse Relief. The claim package must be properly completed and include all required documentation to substantiate a taxpayer’s qualification. It is important to note that the IRS is required by law to contact the taxpayer’s spouse (or ex-spouse) as part of the determination process, even in the case of domestic violence or spousal abuse. Because of the complicated and often sensitive nature of innocent spouse tax relief, taxpayers are encouraged to seek assistance from a qualified tax professional.
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