There are few things worse than owing loads in back taxes—but finding out you owe them because of your former spouse’s mistakes? That takes the cake. Unfortunately, if you and your former spouse filed a joint tax return, you’re on the hook for whatever taxes are owed – and you’re both responsible for penalties if those taxes go unpaid. Luckily, there could be a way out. If certain factors apply to your situation, you may be eligible for innocent spouse tax relief, which takes the burden of your spouse’s tax mistakes off your shoulders.
Could You Be Eligible?
To seek innocent spouse tax relief, it must be within two years from the date the IRS originally attempted to collect from you. Additionally, you must meet these requirements:
- Your former spouse must have failed to report income, reported income improperly or claimed improper deductions on your joint tax return.
- The tax errors must be attributable to your spouse, meaning they must pertain to either income he or she earned, or to deductions, credit or property they’ve claimed.
- You were unaware or did not have the ability to know your spouse was committing the error.
- It would be unfair to hold you liable for the tax debts or penalties under the given circumstances.
If you meet all the requirements for innocent spouse relief, you’ll need to file a Form 8857 with the IRS. Your best bet is to contact an experienced tax adviser that can guide you through the process and work alongside you with the IRS. This will give you the best shot at wiping the slate clean in terms of your tax liabilities.
Need Tax Relief Due to a Spouse?
In some cases, you may also be due funds in an injured spouse claim, which you can file if part or all of your joint refund went toward your former spouse’s past-due taxes, child support, student loans or other debts. Want to see if you’re eligible for an injured spouse refund or get help filing for innocent spouse tax relief? Contact Five Stone Tax Advisers today.