Married couples often file their taxes jointly to take advantage of some tax benefits. But sometimes the spouse preparing the taxes gives a less-than-honest report. The other spouse, unaware of the issues on the return, will sign off. Once their signature is on the return, they become jointly and severally liable for all the information included. This means they are equally responsible for the tax, no matter if they earned the income or not, and they can also face penalties for the discrepancies in their filing. People who are on the hook for their significant other’s fraudulent activities may be wondering if they can apply for Innocent Spouse Relief.
How to Qualify For Innocent Spouse Relief
The IRS allows spouses to file for Innocent Spouse Relief in order to avoid being held liable for their spouse’s potential tax crime. To file, a spouse must meet all of the following conditions:
- They filed a joint return containing a tax deficiency for which their spouse is solely responsible. This can mean their spouse did not report all of the income, incorrectly reported income, or claimed deductions for which they didn’t qualify.
They can confirm that they did not know, had no reason to suspect, and didn’t have any way of finding out that their spouse filed false income tax returns; and
- They cannot be held liable for the tax owed, based on the reasons above.
How to File For Innocent Spouse Relief
The IRS form 8857 is used to file for Innocent Spouse Relief. Spouses must return this form within two years of the date that the IRS first tried to collect the tax owed. The spouse filling out the form will need to provide additional items such as their spouse’s contact information and their current financial situation.
How a Tax Attorney Can Help You
If your spouse committed tax fraud without your knowledge, you could be facing serious charges and penalties. Proving your innocence can be tricky, so you may want to enlist the help of an experienced attorney. The team at Robert J. Fedor Esq., LLC has helped clients across the nation with their fraudulent tax returns issues. See what they can do for you, too.