When it comes to taxes and marriage, things can get messy — unintentionally or otherwise. Many times, handling the household finances is a job left to one spouse alone, which can leave the other spouse completely in the dark about the contents and method of preparation relating to the couple’s tax filing.
When filing taxes jointly, as a couple, the law treats both partners as equally liable for all taxes and penalties accrued as a result of the filing. But what if only one spouse was the earning spouse, or one spouse earned the vast majority of the married couple’s income? It doesn’t matter. In the IRS’ eyes, both parties are still equally responsible.
As you can see from this arrangement, there is the potential for serious abuse where one spouse incurs devastating tax liability despite having no awareness of the tax preparations or ability to pay in the event of divorce, etc. This is why the law makes is possible to seek innocent spouse relief, separation of liability relief, and equitable relief.
Additionally, be aware that innocent spouse relief is also appropriate for pre-marital liabilities that the IRS is trying to collect from the wages or income of a non-liable spouse in a community property state.
Are you concerned about a joint filing and want to know more about innocent spouse relief? Contact Abajian Law as soon as possible for a consultation with a qualified tax relief attorney at 818-396-5059.
If your spouse failed to report income or made improper deductions, you can shield your own liability by employing innocent spouse relief within 2 years of IRS tax collection efforts. If you genuinely were not aware of the understatement of tax at the time of filing and did not benefit from it, you can seek innocent spouse relief. Be aware the innocent spouse relief rule states that the improper filing must be solely the responsibility of the other spouse in order for you to qualify.
Sometimes, this system is taken advantage of from the opposite end: that is, a spouse who was well aware of an improper filing attempts to portray themselves as unknowing and not liable for the deficiency. In this case, Abajian Law can represent the filing spouse to help you prove that both parties were involved and aware of the nature of their filing. This prevents a partner from unfairly shirking their responsibility or attempting to shift the blame from themselves.
If you have questions about innocent spouse relief, or the related options of separation of liability relief or equitable relief, you can contact Abajian Law for a no-obligation conversation regarding your rights and options at 818-396-5059.
Professional Tax Representative
September 23, 2022