Being Married and Filing Taxes

Plenty of taxpayers who are Married choose to file a joint tax return because of the many benefits this status will provide them. When filing a Married filing joint return, The IRS holds both taxpayers jointly and evenly at fault for the tax liability.This will also include additional tax, penalties and interest that may become due, even if later in life the married couple ends up filing for divorce.

This rule also applies to situations in which you have a judge signed divorce decree and it states that one party is responsible for the entire debt. The IRS will still look to collect the tax that is due from both parties. There are many cases where a spouse or former spouse may be innocent of the other spouse’s tax debt. There may be relief if special qualifying events are determined.

Differences Between Innocent Spouse And Injured Spouse Relief

Innocent Spouse Relief
Innocent Spouse Relief

When Can You File A Joint Return With Your Spouse?

Both spouses will remain liable to pay the tax unless it can be proven that you didn’t know nor had any reason to know about the tax due. A common case may be because of unreported income or an understatement of tax on the joint return. Unreported income is income that your spouse or former spouse received during the tax filing year that was never told to the IRS. Understatement of tax is the difference between the total amount of tax that should have been on the return compared to what was reported.

 For example, a married couple filed and signed the joint return but, in the future, receives a letter from the IRS stating that there was $10,000.00 in income that was never disclosed. If you become aware that this income was related to only your former spouse during the marriage, you wouldn’t have reasonably known anything about it. 

Joint Return

What is Incorrect Deduction Credit

Innocent Spouse relief can also be a result of an incorrect deduction credit or claim made by you For your ex-spouse. For Example, an expense is listed on the joint return but only relates to your former spouses’ business. On their Schedule C, an expense of $5,500 for Office Supplies was taken. The expense for Office supplies was never actually paid and therefore this deduction was claimed wrongly. If either one of these events happens, you will qualify for the innocent Spouse Relief. Most of the time a request for Innocent Spouse is common for taxpayers who are no longer married. This request must be made within two years after the date of when the IRS first began their collection action against you. To apply for relief, you must file a Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief.
Innocent Spouse Relief
Innocent Spouse Relief
Victim Of Domestic Violence.

Signature Under Duress

It may take up to six months before an answer is figured out. During the review time, the IRS will request current and prior tax records. The IRS will also contact the non-requesting spouse. It is a requirement of the law for the non-requesting spouse to be involved. This rule applies to all applications and there are no exceptions. The only exception, for which you had knowledge of the inaccurate information but still qualify for Innocent Spouse Relief, is if you can prove that you were a victim of domestic violence.

Being a victim of domestic violence and proving that you signed the return without questioning any items reported due to the fact you were in fear that your ex-spouse would strike back against you would make you a prime candidate for Innocent Spouse Relief. If you were a victim and signed the return in fear, then the IRS will not count the return as a joint return. You may become responsible to file your own return for that year, upon determination. 

Getting a Tax Refund Back

In contrast, an Injured Spouse Relief claim would apply to taxpayers that are still married. You would qualify as an Injured Spouse if you filed and signed the joint tax return and your part of the tax refund was applied to your spouse’s valid past federal debt. Past debt would include federal tax debt, state tax debt, child support payments, student loans or alimony payments. You may be able to get your part of the tax refund back by filing an Injured Spouse Allocation. To qualify for an Injured Spouse relief there are two factors that must be true for yourself.

What Forms Do I Need?

The Forms That Are Needed To File

You must have earned income and reported it on your tax return as well as had income tax withheld from your pay or made your required estimated tax deposits for the year. To make this request a Form 8379, Injured Spouse must be filed with the IRS. You must file Form 8379 for each year in which you are requesting your portion of the tax refund to be returned and meet all conditions. Within three years from the due date of the original return (including any extensions of time to file) or within 2 years from the date you paid the tax that was later captured, is when Form 8379 must be filed. Whichever is the later date.
Innocent Spouse Relief

In order to ensure timely sort out of Form 8379 you must attach a copy of all income information (W-2’s, 1099’s) and make sure that it shows your portion of the federal income tax that was withheld. The handling of Form 8379 may be delayed if these forms are not attached or should the form be incomplete when filed. This form can be filed along with your joint tax return or filed by itself after the joint return is submitted. Given all the facts of an Innocent and Injured Spouse relief, it would be unfair to hold you liable for the tax that is due related to a former spouse.

Innocent Spouse Relief

Currently Married, Divorced or Legally Separated

If it is determined that you qualify for the Innocent Spouse relief options, then you may also request for relief by separation of Liability. You must be divorced, separated or widowed from your ex-spouse. You can not live with your former spouse for at least 12 months before filing this request. For Example, once a Separation of Liability request is made, the IRS will assess a certain amount of tax liability to you and then a certain amount of tax liability to your former spouse.

The separation is based on a calculation and takes the amounts of income from each spouse into thought. You will only become responsible for your portion of the tax debt, along with any added penalties and interest. Each case is considered on an individual level and based on supported information.