According to federal tax law, those who are married can choose to file their income tax returns either separately or jointly.
This decision may be of importance. For instance, if a married couple neglects to file their tax return jointly, there are several IRS Code provisions that will restrict or even prohibit the couple from getting applicable tax benefits.
Therefore, the standard recommendation is often to file a tax return jointly to ensure that you get these benefits. With that being said, filing a tax return jointly when married may have unforeseen disadvantages.
According to Internal Revenue Code Article 6013(d)(3), if both parties submit a tax return jointly regardless of the year, both parties shall be liable for all tax liabilities related to the joint tax return.
Basically, this translates to the IRS having the right to pursue any additional taxes (as well as unpaid taxes on the tax return) from either spouse.
It is easy to see how this rule may result in unfairness. For instance, let’s assume for a moment that one spouse commits an illegal act, but the other spouse has no knowledge of it. The criminal spouse, therefore, does not report income related to their illegal act on their jointly filed tax return.
In such cases, if a joint return has been filed, the IRS is allowed to (and often does) seek from both spouses those unpaid taxes that are related to illegal income.
In an effort to relieve these kinds of injustices, the IRS Code has been amended by Congress on numerous occasions in the past few decades.
Congress even went so far as to pass the first “Innocent Spouse Act” back in 1971. Fast-forward several years, and Congress went on to pass the 1998 Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act, which serves to strengthen the protection of innocent spouses.
An IRS Insight (revised, read-friendly summation) starts out by discussing innocent spouse relief and its history. It goes on to discuss today’s requirements for innocent spouse relief (as per Section 6015 of the Code).
The Insight offers guidance and direction on the various factors that the Federal Court and the IRS consider when determining whether innocent spouse relief should be granted. And lastly, Insight summarizes the typical situations where innocent spouse relief can be filed through administrative or judicial means.
Requesting Innocent Spouse Relief
There are many ways to request innocent spouse relief. Perhaps the most common method is for the requesting spouse to submit Form 8857 to the corresponding IRS office to request innocent spouse relief. IRS Form 8857 serves to elicit a response and information associated with many of the mitigating factors and requirements discussed above. There is no doubt that the most important part of Form 8857 is the sixth part (Part VI).
This part allows the requesting spouse to petition the IRS why they should be given innocent spouse relief. Conveying a solid narrative will help to incorporate specific and proven facts and relevant factors needed for relief. Even if the IRS refuses relief after filing a standalone Form 8857, you (the requesting spouse) can submit a petition to the U.S. Tax Court in an effort to get them to reconsider granting relief.
If you received a deficiency notice from the IRS, another way to request relief is to use it as an affirmative defense in the Tax Court petition. If you were issued a proposed levy or a federal tax lien notice by the IRS, you can request innocent spouse relief during the collection stage. Specifically, if you are the requesting spouse, you can claim it following collection actions during your CDP (Collection Due Process) hearing.
The guidance and direction of a qualified tax lawyer can assist you in making sure that you follow the proper course of action when requesting innocent spouse relief. As such, we encourage you to contact the Law Offices of Mary E. King. With years of experience dealing with all matters of tax law, you can trust that you will receive expert legal counsel to help resolve your tax concerns.
The Law Office of Mary King deals with the IRS on a regular basis. As such, it is equipped to assist you with all of your tax-related needs. Whether you are an individual or a business owner, Mary E. King can assist you in overcoming your tax concerns and will work toward helping you gain your financial freedom.
Secure the Services of the Law Offices of Mary E. King
We invite you to contact tax lawyer Mary E. King if you have questions or need assistance concerning innocent spouse relief. The Law Offices of Mary King have extensive experience dealing with IRS and tax matters such as this. In fact, if you have any tax-related issues, you should contact tax lawyer Mary King.
As an experienced tax lawyer and tax specialist, Mary King can guide you through your tax problems to get the outcome you desire. Moreover, the Law Offices of Mary E. King strive to resolve all tax matters quickly, efficiently, and at an affordable price. To get started, please fill out our online contact form or call us directly at 941-906-7585.
The information in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. You should not make a decision whether or not to contact an attorney based upon the information in this blog post. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. If you require legal advice, please consult with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.