Can I claim ‘innocent spouse relief’ if I am being audited?

Dynamics between spouses who have a troubled marriage can be incredibly negative, especially if one spouse lies to their partner about money. Specifically, lies on a jointly filed tax return can lead to actions by the Internal Revenue Service that could have a significant financial impact on middle class individuals in Texas.

Understanding joint and several liability

When a couples files a joint tax return, both spouses are jointly and severally liable for any penalties arising from a problematic claim, even if the couple later divorces. This means that both spouses will be held responsible for all taxes due, even if only one partner was the income earner in the family or unlawfully claimed deductions or tax credits. However, there are some forms of relief from joint and several liability, including “innocent spouse relief.”

Qualifying for innocent spouse relief

To qualify for innocent spouse relief, the following elements must be met. First, the joint tax return must contain an understatement of tax that is solely attributed to your partner’s omissions, improper deductions or improper credits. Second, you must have no knowledge of the understatement of tax and no reason to know of said understatement. Finally, given all the facts and circumstances surrounding your case, holding you liable for these indiscretions must be unfair.

When to seek help with your tax problems

Ultimately, this post is for informational purposes only and does not contain legal advice on the topic of innocent spouse relief. Attorneys in the Austin area may be a useful resource to those with major tax problems. When comes to issues with the IRS, it is important to understand that these problems will not go away on their own. “Tax relief services” are often scams that could lead to financial disaster. Experienced tax law attorneys have the knowledge necessary to challenge the IRS and can be a zealous advocate.