Have you filed a joint tax return with a former spouse that lists an unpaid liability that you still owe?
Do you believe that you should not be held liable for the tax listed on that tax return?
Under the Doctrine of Innocent Spouse, one spouse can seek to absolve themselves of a joint liability, if appropriate. However, and as expected, there are a series of criteria that must first be met before the IRS will grant Innocent Spouse relief.
In a recent Tax Court case that specifically addressed equitable relief under the Innocent Spouse guidelines, a husband filed a joint tax return without his wife’s permission or signature. The tax return as filed listed a refund, but did not include the wife’s income. The IRS subsequently assessed additional tax liability against both husband and wife, and the wife subsequently filed a request for relief under the Innocent Spouse guidelines. The United States Tax Court refused to grant equitable relief to the wife because the unpaid liability was attributable to her income, income that was not reported on the joint tax return. Although the husband filed a tax return without the permission of the wife, she later learned that the joint tax return did not include her income and she took no steps to correct the problem.
The United States Tax Court stated that it was her responsibility to correct any errors on the joint tax return and that she must bear the consequences of her inaction.
Do you have unpaid tax liability on a joint tax return?
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