Innocent and Injured Spouse Relief
When filing a joint return, even if one spouse earned all the money, both spouses are jointly and severally liable for all taxes, penalty, interest and additional assessment related to that return, even if they divorce later. Generally, they are also both entitled to refunds related to their return.
The joint and several liability legality means that the IRS holds each spouse equally liable for 100% of the total tax due, even if there is a divorce and the courts determine one spouse is responsible for the tax debt.
WHAT IS INNOCENT SPOUSE RELIEF
In some instances, a spouse can get relief from joint and several liability, after making the request using Form 8857. There are 3 types of relief that can be considered: Innocent Spouse Relief, Separation of Liability and Equitable Relief. Each relief has different qualifications and timelines for acceptance. Determining which relief makes sense for your situation would require a thorough discussion to determine your circumstances.
WHAT IS INJURED SPOUSE RELIEF
Injured Spouse relief is directly related to the recovery of all or a portion of your tax refund. When married couples file jointly and one of the spouses has past due taxes, child support, student loans or other financial obligations, the entire tax refund is usually applied to that obligation.
When a non-liable spouse is entitled to all or a portion of that refund, they are considered to be injured. In this case, the injured spouse can submit a request for relief, using Form 8379, to get their portion of the tax refund returned to them.
Some married couples file separately, hoping to avoid being responsible for the past due obligations of their spouse. However, filing separately can prove to be more costly, which can make it more advantageous to file jointly, and then submit a claim for injured spouse relief. This will allow you to get the tax breaks of joint filers and the refund to which you are entitled.
We take a strong stance against paying more taxes than you are required to pay. We also take a strong stance against you being liable for someone else’s financial obligations. Therefore, our approach to listening, asking the right questions and determining the best relief strategy for our clients, has resulted in us successfully securing innocent and injured spouse relief for the many people who are entitled to it.