Can I Qualify For Innocent Spouse Relief?
For many people, particularly the spouses of business owners, taxes are something that they let their husband or wife handle. After all, he or she knows their business, and they can be trusted to make sure that the IRS gets the money that is owed to them. In some cases, though, a spouse makes a mistake or deliberately tries to hide assets or income from the IRS. This is where the possible need for innocent spouse relief arises.
In cases where a married couple both signs off on a tax form, however, this means that the other spouse is stating that everything is true and correct and they agree to be jointly liable for the tax return and any resulting tax liability. When problems emerge years later, the IRS has the right to pursue anyone who signed the jointly filed tax form in order to collect the money that is owed. Fortunately, there is a section of the law that gives some protection to spouses who were not aware of the business activities of their spouse – innocent spouse relief. However, claiming it can be complicated.
What Is Innocent Spouse Relief?
For millions of American couples, it’s common practice to file annual taxes jointly. Typically, a couple pools their financial information together and fills out one common tax form, signing both of their names at the end. By doing this, both spouses attest that they believe all of the information on the forms to be true.
In some cases, however, there is really no way for one spouse to know if the financial information given by one spouse is the complete truth. This is most common in cases where one spouse owns a business, giving him or her ample opportunity to make mistakes or hide income and assets. When the IRS audits the business, they have the legal right to pursue back taxes from both spouses who signed the tax form.
This can mean that a person who knew nothing about his or her spouse’s daily business operations will also be liable to pay the back taxes and penalties and will deal with enforced collection action by the IRS. In order to avoid this, there are several laws in place that protect these “innocent” spouses from having to pay the debts of the other spouse.
Do I Qualify For Innocent Spouse Relief?
The laws regarding innocent spouse relief are very complicated. Originally, these laws were designed to protect spouses who could show that they did not have any knowledge of mistakes or fraud attempts by their partners. Of course, proving this can be difficult, particularly in cases where a business was co-owned by both partners. Furthermore, there are several regulations regarding how long a spouse has to file for relief. The rules get more complicated if the spouses are currently divorced or if one member of the marriage has passed.
For these reasons, it’s a good idea to speak with the Enrolled Agents at Samaritan Tax Relief who have experience with innocent spouse relief cases. We can help you to determine whether or not you qualify. Keep in mind that even if you don’t qualify under the rules set in place for innocent spouse relief, there may be other ways to protect yourself from the IRS.
What Factors Can Determine If I Qualify For Innocent Spouse Tax Relief?
Because laws regarding innocent spouse relief change frequently, it’s important to consult with an Enrolled Agent before trying to file for this protection. Even if you qualify, the amount that you owe can be determined by several factors including:
- The amount of time that has passed. Typically innocent spouse relief can only be applied for two years after the first collection attempt.
- Your involvement with the business or entity that was audited. If you were a joint owner or had involvement with the business, it may be harder to prove that you were innocent.
- The terms of your divorce agreement. If your divorce settlement stated who was responsible for paying back taxes, it could affect your eligibility and the total amount that you owe.
The laws regarding innocent spouse relief and similar programs are very complicated, and they change frequently. Because tax audits and collection can date back several years, it’s important to work with an Enrolled Agent who is familiar with all versions of the tax law. Fortunately, a good tax resolution professional, such as Samaritan Tax Relief, can guide you through the process, including the submission of the Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief to help relieve you of IRS debts brought upon by actions of your spouse.
Samaritan Tax Relief Innocent Spouse Relief Representation
One of your most important rights as a taxpayer is your right to have a qualified tax resolution professional, such as an Enrolled Agent (EA), represent you in front of the IRS and/or States and provide tax resolution for your Innocent Spouse Relief request to ensure that it is done accurate and completely and to eliminate any unnecessary delays.
When you hire Samaritan Tax Relief to assist you with your Innocent Spouse Relief request, we will guide you through the process while advocating on your behalf and protecting your interests.
Samaritan Tax Relief is here to help you because when you’re dealing an unexpected tax debt due to your spouse’s actions, the worst thing you can do is to do nothing at all? The best decision is to take the necessary first step and to try to obtain some tax debt relief!
Click on the “Get Help” button at the top of the page to take that first step.