Even after a divorce, marital problems have a way of sneaking up on you months, and even years, later. Finding out that you have a joint tax debt with a former spouse can be very upsetting. Even if you have a divorce decree stating that your former spouse is fully responsible for any past due taxes, the IRS can still come after you for the full amount. In this situation, you may qualify for Innocent Spouse and not be liable for any tax debt at all. This page will help you decide if Innocent Spouse is the right choice.
Only Innocent Spouse can remove your name from a joint tax debt. If you are eligible, this could be the best way to handle your back taxes.
Innocent Spouse: Do You Qualify?
Innocent Spouse is for those who filed a joint return with understated tax debt due to their spouse filing incorrectly. It isn't for people who signed a joint return knowing that they would owe. You can only qualify for Innocent Spouse if you were not aware that there was an understatement of tax on your return.
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Innocent Spouse: Pros and Cons
Innocent Spouse is a great way to eliminate your tax debt. However, there are downsides to filing.
Innocent Spouse Pros
- It doesn't matter if you live in a community property state.
- You qualify as long as you have lived apart for at least 12 months.
- If denied, you'll automatically be reviewed for Equitable Relief.
Innocent Spouse Cons
- It can take six months for the IRS to review your Innocent Spouse claim.
- Your former spouse will be notified, even if you are a victim of spousal abuse.
- He or she can also appeal the decision of the preliminary determination.
Innocent Spouse: How to File
- Download the tax form 8857 from the IRS website or call their toll-free number to request one.
- Gather all W-2s, 1099s, and other income documents you can find from that year.
- Enter all of your income information from that year onto the 8857.
- Provide as much detail as possible on all of your monthly bills and expenses.
- Write a summary about why you shouldn't be held responsible for the tax debt.
- Mail the form 8857 to the correct address separately from your tax return.
After doing all of this, you will be contacted by an IRS representative to do a telephone interview. Be prepared to give him or her any information needed. Participation in the interview is mandatory. Otherwise, your request will be denied.
To see if you qualify for Innocent Spouse or any other tax relief programs, consult a professional. Call now or fill out the form to be contacted by a tax resolution company and learn more about the Innocent Spouse tax relief program! We'll only connect you with a tax debt relief company with Licensed Tax Professionals on staff.