Innocent Spouse Relief
Many married taxpayers file a joint tax return because of certain benefits this filing status allows. If you did so, you may be held responsible for monies due, even if your spouse earned all of the income or claimed improper deductions or credits. And this is true even if a divorce decree states that your spouse will be responsible for any amounts due on previously filed joint returns.
However, if you qualify for Innocent Spouse Relief, you may not have to pay the tax, interest, and penalties related to your spouse (or former spouse).
There are three types of relief from joint and several liability for spouses who filed joint returns:
- Innocent Spouse Relief provides you relief from additional tax you owe if your spouse or former spouse failed to report income, reported income improperly or claimed improper deductions or credits.
- Separation of Liability Relief provides for the allocation of additional tax owed between you and your former spouse or your current spouse from whom you are separated because an item was not reported properly on a joint return. The tax allocated to you is the amount for which you are responsible.
- Equitable Relief may apply when you do not qualify for innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief for something not reported properly on a joint return and generally attributable to your spouse. You may also qualify for equitable relief if the correct amount of tax was reported on your joint return but the tax was not paid with the return.