Innocent Spouse Relief

What to do when your spouse or ex messed up on taxes

Innocent spouse relief absolves you of blame and responsibility if your spouse or former spouse messed up on income or self-employment tax returns tied to you.

Perhaps they reported income incorrectly or simply didn’t pay the taxes due. If you qualify for innocent spouse relief, you can be fully or partially absolved from the debt.

Get help from a Chicago Tax Lawyer

Typically, parties that apply and qualify for innocent spouse relief don’t have to pay the tax, interest, or penalties in question. In some cases the spouse may be relieved in full, in other cases in part.

You cannot seek innocent spouse relief for sales and excise tax, household employment tax, trust fund recovery, or individual shared responsibility payments.

Qualifying for Innocent Spouse Relief

To qualify for innocent spouse relief, you must:

  • Have filed a joint return, which includes errors that resulted in an understatement of income, with your current or former spouse
  • Prove that when you signed the tax filing in question, you had no idea about the error
  • Establish that it would be unreasonable to hold you liable for the mistake and subsequent understatement
  • Prove that you and the other party haven’t engaged in property swapping as part of a larger scheme

What counts as an “erroneous item” in terms of innocent spouse relief?

  • Unreported income
  • Improper deductions, credits, or property claims

Actual Knowledge vs. Reason to Know

People with “actual knowledge” or “reason to know” about the erroneous claim don’t qualify for innocent spouse relief. Actual knowledge is fairly straight forward, but reason to know is nuanced.

Theoretically, if your business or educational background is impressive, the IRS could deny your innocent spouse claim on the premise that you “should” have known.

Ignorance, or not asking about certain items on a return, may also not be a good excuse in the eyes of the IRS.

Find Out If You Qualify for Innocent Spouse Relief

Gordon Law Group has helped countless people qualify for innocent spouse tax relief. We have the experience and knowledge you need to get the job done right.

It may be tempting to go it alone, but doing so demolishes your chances, because a single misstep can knock you out of contention.