Innocent Spouse Relief
What Is Innocent Spouse Relief?
The Innocent Spouse Relief rule enables someone to seek relief from the penalties associated with an underpayment of taxes by their spouse. This helps protect those people who have a spouse or former spouse who was not truthful about their financial situation. It protects the “innocent spouse” from being punished for the errors made by their spouse on a joint tax return. The errors made commonly involve inflated deductions or unreported income.
Who Is Eligible For Innocent Spouse Relief?
Applying for Innocent Spouse Relief requires filling out the IRS form 8857. There are a few criteria that will either qualify or disqualify you from being eligible for this type of relief.
- You must apply within two years of the IRS initiating collection
- You may not have had any knowledge of the error
- You must have filed the joint return with an inaccurate understatement of tax responsibility directly related to your spouse
If you are no longer married to your spouse, you can apply for separate election liability, which provides similar relief.