Innocent Spouse

Innocent Spouse Relief is one of the most commonly misunderstood claims for relief available with the IRS due to the strict legal elements that must be proven by the requesting taxpayer. A taxpayer generally qualifies for Innocent Spouse Relief when tax due from a tax return filed jointly with their spouse (or former spouse) was understated, the taxpayer had no knowledge of the understatement, it would be unfair to hold the taxpayer liable, and the taxpayer and spouse did not transfer property in a fraudulent scheme. If the IRS grants Innocent Spouse Relief, the spouse (or former spouse) is solely held liable and the taxpayer who requested relief is no longer liable for the tax. Even if a taxpayer does not qualify for Innocent Spouse Relief, they may qualify for similar relief through a claim for Equitable Relief.

Innocent Spouse Relief and Equitable Relief are rarely granted, largely due to the complexity and high burden taxpayers face in successfully proving they qualify for relief. Because of the fact-intensive nature of Innocent Spouse and Equitable Relief cases, taxpayers are often forced to litigate their claims in U.S. Tax Court.

If you think you may qualify under either form of relief, we invite you to request a consultation with a tax attorney experienced with Innocent Spouse Relief and Equitable Relief claims who can evaluate your case.


We are committed to delivering results for our clients. We invite you to review a sample of Innocent Spouse Relief, Equitable Relief, and divorce-related tax cases we have resolved for our clients. All cases are different and the summaries below should not be interpreted as a prediction or guarantee of success or specific results.

  • Innocent Spouse Claim Granted
    Client's ex-spouse claimed bogus deductions on three years of federal income tax returns filed jointly with Client. The ex-spouse used an accountant to prepare the tax returns and the ex-spouse forged Client's signature on the tax returns. The tax returns were examined through a field audit, resulting in a nearly $500,000 tax assessment. DeWitt Law filed a claim for Innocent Spouse Relief, which was granted by the IRS.
  • Ex-Spouse Ordered by State Court to Pay Client's Federal Tax Obligations
    Client's ex-spouse did not pay federal income taxes he was required to pay under the terms of a divorce decree with Client, resulting in federal tax liens being filed against Client. DeWitt Law filed suit in Davidson County (Tennessee) Circuit Court. Judgment was entered in favor of Client, ordering the ex-spouse to pay Client over $50,000.

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Tyler H. DeWitt, Esq., CPA
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