Many taxpayers are well aware of the benefits of marriage. Married taxpayers can file joint federal income tax returns, and generally those partnerships can enjoy a lower tax rate. But, it’s important to remember that when you file together, each spouse takes on everything due that year – including penalties and interest!
As a reminder, “joint and several” means that the IRS can collect all the liability from one spouse, the other spouse, or from both. Now, if one member of the marriage isn’t responsible for the penalties in question, that member can ask the IRS for innocent spouse relief.
Innocent spouse relief can clear the requesting spouse from the other’s tax liability. This relief can come in many forms, including allocation of liability and fair relief. If you file a joint tax return that has an unpaid liability, the innocent spouse can only seek equal relief.
In a recent US Tax Court case, Jeffrey Heedram sought relief for a liability from his joint tax return for 2014 that he had filed with his then-wife. Mr. Heedram argued that he knew there was a liability on the joint tax return, but he believed his wife would set up an installment plan to pay the liability. Whether this happened was not under Mr. Heedram’s control.
The Court held in favor of Mr. Heedram and granted him innocent spouse relief. The liability was now fully his ex-wife’s responsibility.
Do you have unpaid joint liability with a spouse, and are contemplating divorce or divorced from your spouse? Call IRS Trouble Solvers today, at 630-832-6500…we can help!