Taxes Owed By Spouse (or Former Spouse)

If your former spouse owes back taxes, and you’re unfairly held accountable, there’s a way to resolve the issue. Although tax law holds you and your spouse equally responsible for taxes filed on a joint return, there are steps you can take for relief. 

You owe the IRS taxes from a joint return with an ex-spouse. What now?

The first thing to do is to determine which tax relief strategy applies to you. Then you should contact Len Stauffenger, Esq., to file the correct forms and put this problem behind you.

Tax relief strategies

The experienced staff at Len Stauffenger, Esq., can walk you through the three types of relief from taxes owed for a joint return filed with an ex-spouse.

  1. Innocent Spouse Relief lets you off the hook for additional taxes owed due to your former spouse failing to report income. It also helps you out if your spouse improperly reported income, deductions or credits.
  2. Separation of Liability Relief lets you pay off your portion of the tax owed separately from your spouse or ex-spouse. When an item hasn’t been reported properly on a joint return, you’re only legally responsible for the amount of tax allocated to you.
  3. Equitable Relief is available when you aren’t eligible for innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief. Use it to try to get out of a joint return generally attributable to your spouse or to pay the portion you owe. The equitable relief clause also applies to situations where the tax has been reported correctly on the return but not paid.

Tax relief requirements

Innocent Spouse Relief would cover you if you filed a joint return with an understatement of taxes due to your spouse’s error. It includes income your ex-spouse received but didn’t report. Deductions, credits, and property basis also apply to this option. You need to show that you didn’t know about the error when you signed the form. Under these circumstances, you should not be liable for the understatement of tax.

To qualify for separation of liability relief, you must have filed a joint return and be divorced, legally separated, widowed, or you must be able to show that you haven’t lived with your ex-spouse during the 12-month period preceding the date you requested relief. If you knew about the error or omission, you don’t qualify for separation of liability relief.

If you don’t qualify for innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief, you might be able to file for equitable relief. To do so, you must show that, it would be unfair to hold you liable for the taxes based on the available facts.

How to file

To apply for any of these tax relief strategies, you must file Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, or send in a written statement containing the same information.

Call our office today

As you can see, the tax relief process for an injured spouse can be quite detailed and may involve dealing with your ex-spouse.  Let the legal team at Len Stauffenger, Esq. help you get through it quickly and without unpleasant personality conflicts.