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. If the IRS grants Innocent Spouse Relief, 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. A taxpayer generally must satisfy four criteria to qualify for Innocent Spouse Relief:

  1. Tax due from a jointly filed tax return was understated,
  2. The taxpayer had no knowledge of the understatement,
  3. It would be unfair to hold the taxpayer liable, and
  4. The taxpayer and spouse did not transfer property in a fraudulent scheme.

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. 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.

See IRS Publication 971.

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We are committed to delivering results for our clients. We invite you to review a sample of Innocent/Equitable Spouse cases that we have successfully 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 Relief Granted

The Taxpayer's ex-spouse claimed bogus deductions on three years of jointly-filed federal income tax returns. The ex-spouse used an accountant to prepare the tax returns and the ex-spouse forged the Taxpayer's signature on the returns. The IRS initiated a field audit and proposed a nearly $500,000 tax assessment. DeWitt Law represented the Taxpayer before the IRS and filed a claim for Innocent Spouse Relief, which was granted. The Taxpayer was not held liable for the tax attributable to the ex-spouse. View Document.


Tax Court Grants Equitable Spouse Relief

The Taxpayer's former spouse was self-employed and did not make estimated payments, resulting in a significant tax liability. The Taxpayer had no involvement with the former spouse's business. DeWitt Law represented the Taxpayer before the IRS and filed a claim for equitable spouse relief. The IRS denied the claim and DeWitt Law filed a Petition in U.S. Tax Court. The court granted the Taxpayer's claim for equitable spouse relief and the tax assessment was reversed.


Ex-Spouse Ordered by State Court to Pay Client's Federal Tax Obligations

The Taxpayer's ex-spouse was required to pay federal income taxes under the terms of their divorce decree. The ex-spouse did not pay the taxes and failed to disclose to the Taxpayer that the IRS had filed federal tax liens against the ex-spouse. The Taxpayer was unable to sell her home due to the existence of the tax liens. DeWitt Law represented the Taxpayer and filed suit against the ex-spouse in Davidson County (Tennessee) Circuit Court. Judgment was entered in favor of the Taxpayer and the Court ordered the ex-spouse to pay the Taxpayer damages equal to the amount of tax owed. View Court Order.

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Tyler H. DeWitt, Esq., CPA
Managing Attorney

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