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Innocent Spouse

Innocent Spouse Relief

Are you the Victim of your Spouse Or Ex-Spouse being Charged With Tax Fraud?


When you file a joint return, the law makes both you and your spouse responsible for the entire tax liability.  By selecting "Married Filing Jointly" you have now entered into the realm of Joint and Several liabilities. This means that you are responsible for the tax liability on the return, along with any additional liability the IRS determines is due despite the liability being associated with your spouse and even if you later divorce. The IRS does not absolve you of the liability even if the divorce decree states your spouse is solely responsible for the entire tax. IRC Section 6015 provides for relief from this liability under certain circumstances but, proving your is often extremely difficult and for many taxpayers, relief is denied.

The three types of relief that are available for taxpayers are:

  • Innocent Spouse Relief.
  • Separation of Liability Relief.
  • Equitable Relief.

At Marini & Associates Law Offices, we have the knowledge and experience to provide clients with the information needed in order to win their claim. Unlike most, our firm doesn't take your case hoping that you can obtain relief, we make sure your odds for relief are favorable before wasting your time and money!

To Qualify for Innocent Spouse Relief you must meet ALL of the following conditions:

  • You filed a Joint Return
  • There is an understated tax on the return that is due to erroneous items of your spouse or former spouse.
  • You can show that when you signed the Joint Return you did not know, and had no reason to know, that the understated tax existed.
  • Taking into account all the circumstances, it would be unfair to hold you liable for the understated tax.
  • No property was transferred between spouses as part of a fraudulent scheme


There are three types of relief from joint and several liability for spouses who filed joint returns, which are set forth in IRC section 6015.

1. Innocent spouse relief under §6015(b). This relief is available for understatements and is dependent upon what you did or did not know at the time the return was signed. You may obtain relief from your joint tax liability if you can show that you did not know or had no reason to know of the erroneous item causing the understatement. You must also demonstrate, considering all the facts and circumstances, that it would be inequitable to hold you liable for the deficiency.

Innocent Spouse Relief, if granted, would relieve you of any responsibility for paying the tax, interest and penalties. However, this type of relief can be the most difficult to prove because you must demonstrate to the IRS that, at the time of filing, you did not know and had no reason to know, of the erroneous item and that it is solely attributable to your spouse. Innocent spouse relief is available for any tax deficiency resulting from your spouse or former spouse's failure to report income or if he or she reported income improperly or claimed improper deductions or credits.

2. Separation of liability relief under §6015(c). This relief is available for understatements and is based on your marital status. If you are no longer married to the spouse with whom you filed the disputed return, or are widowed, legally separated or living apart from that individual for the 12 months prior to the date your request is filed, you may qualify for separation of liability relief. Under §6015(c) Separation of Liability Relief, the tax deficiency is allocated in the same way as if you had filed a separate return, which severs your liability from your spouse's.

If you qualify for separation of liability relief, the IRS allows you to pay for the portion of taxes that you are responsible for and then seeks payment from the culpable spouse for his or her understated taxes, interest and penalties. In order to qualify for the allocation, there must have been erroneous item(s) giving rise to an understatement on the joint return and you must be either divorced or separated for at least one year. The tax allocated to you is the amount for which you are responsible, had you initially filed separately.

3. Equitable relief under §6015(f). This relief may be an option even if you are not eligible for relief under the first two provisions — innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief. In other words, Section 6015(f) provides for "equitable relief" from understatements and underpayments when relief is not available under subsections (b) or (c). An understatement is income that was not reported or underreported due to a reporting error and generally attributable to your spouse.

You may also qualify for equitable relief if the correct amount of tax was reported on your joint return, but the tax remains unpaid. Equitable relief is based on the grounds that it would be inequitable, when taking into account your marital status, economic hardship, previous compliance with income tax laws, level of knowledge and benefit, and safety and/or any possible abuse occurring at the time of the filing, to hold you responsible for the understatement or underpayment of tax. In determining whether you qualify for equitable relief, the IRS will take into account all circumstances surrounding the dispute.

Don't deal with the IRS on your own!!

Call an experienced tax attorney from Marini & Associates Law Offices to set up a consultation. We will discuss your needs and determine if you qualify for innocent spouse relief.

If you believe your current spouse or former spouse has understated your tax liability or not paid the tax owed with your jointly filed return, Marini & Associates Law Offices can help. Our experienced tax attorneys will analyze your case to determine if you are able to file for the protections of innocent spouse relief for your IRS tax problems.

Our experienced tax attorneys have been representing taxpayers for more than 30 years. We can help you evaluate your qualifications under each of the three grounds for relief.

To schedule a consultation, call us in Miami at (305) 374-4424 or toll free at (888) 882 9243 or contact us online.

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