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Innocent Spouse Relief

When you file a joint return with your spouse, both of you are liable for all tax, penalties, and interest. Therefore, the IRS or the States can legally go after both spouses or just one of you for the tax debt. But even if you get divorced and the decree says that your ex is responsible for the bill, the IRS can still go after you. Luckily, there is innocent spouse relief (ISR).

Innocent Spouse Relief

When you file a joint return with your spouse, both of you are liable for all tax, penalties, and interest. Therefore, the IRS or the States can legally go after both spouses or just one of you for the tax debt. But even if you get divorced and the decree says that your ex is responsible for the bill, the IRS can still go after you. Luckily, there is innocent spouse relief (ISR).


When it Comes to Innocent Spouse Relief, don’t be Innocent About Your Responsibility and Your Options.

Here’s how it works. According to the IRS, when filing jointly, both taxpayers are jointly and severally liable for the tax and any additions to tax, interest, or penalties that arise from the joint return even if they later divorce. Joint and several liability means that each taxpayer is legally responsible for the entire amount. Be clear about this part: That means that both spouses filing jointly are on the hook for all the tax due, even if one spouse earned all the income or claimed improper deductions or credits. This is also true even if a divorce decree states that a former spouse will be responsible for any amounts due on previously filed joint returns.

What Are Your Choices?
There are three categories of IRS innocent spouse relief:

There is the classic innocent spouse relief, which provides 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. For you to qualify, there are very specific requirements and the issue must be related to an understatement of tax owed.

Then there is the separation of liability relief. With this type of relief, the IRS separately allocates the tax owed between you and your ex-spouse or current spouse, as if you filed separately. By the way, this allocation does not have to be split equally and can vary based on who’s responsible for what. In addition, you must be separated or no longer married to qualify.

The third category is equitable relief, where, quite simply, you can apply for this type of relief if you have understated or underpaid tax. This option helps if you don’t qualify for the other types of relief. And in this instance, you must prove that it would be unfair for the IRS to hold you responsible.

When requesting an ISR, there are strict filing requirements. It also helps to submit a letter explaining the situation in detail.

Sound complicated? It can be.  
The process itself is not easy. The IRS will conduct an evaluation of the requesting spouse’s education, work experience, relationship status (still married, divorced, or separated), physical or mental disabilities, and level of involvement in household finances to determine whether the spouse can qualify.

And, just in case you were wondering, simply saying that your spouse lied to you or that you did not know what you were signing is not sufficient to qualify for innocent spouse relief. After all is said and done, innocent spouse relief is very difficult to obtain and is granted on a case-by-case basis.

Give Yourself an Advantage.
You can be assured that this is not an undertaking you want to go into by yourself. Even If you can meet all of the rules set down by the IRS, you may find relief, but your best bet is to have the pros at Tax Problem Solver help you navigate the often-complex waters of innocent spouse relief.

If this is an option that you feel is right for you, the Tax Problem Solver team of eminent tax attorneys and highly qualified tax professionals can help you decide if you are likely to qualify for ISR.

Larry Heinkel and the Tax Problem Solver group offer you the knowledge and guidance only 35+ years of experience in dealing with the IRS can provide.

They leverage this experience on your behalf, helping you determine whether you are a good candidate for relief, how to file the necessary forms and most importantly, represent your situation in a way that will likely get your innocent spouse relief petition approved by the IRS.

You can get many of the answers you are looking for with a FREE consultation from Larry Heinkel and his team at Tax Problem Solver. Relief could be just a click away!

Don’t Ignore the IRS – Things Get Bad Quickly!

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