Married taxpayers generally choose to file a joint tax return because of certain tax benefits this filing status confers. If the taxes on that joint income tax return go unpaid, however, both taxpayers are jointly and individually responsible for the tax and any interest or penalty due, even if they later divorce. This is true even if a divorce decree states that a former spouse will be responsible for any amounts due on previously filed joint returns. One spouse may be held responsible for the entire tax liability even if all the income was earned by the other spouse.Section 6015 of the Internal Revenue Code provides that in certain cases a spouse may be relieved of the tax, interest, and penalties on a joint tax return. Three types of relief are available.
- Innocent spouse relief under IRC § 6015(b);
- Allocation of liability under IRC § 6015(c); and
- Equitable relief under IRC § 6015(f)
The analysis of whether you are entitled to one of the three forms of innocent spouse relief is complicated. Our attorneys possess required knowledge of tax laws and IRS procedures to determine if you qualify for the relief. We can represent you in all stages of the administrative proceedings, from making an innocent spouse claim on your behalf through litigating your case in front of the Tax Court. If you owe a tax liability which may be attributable to your former or present spouse, contact MJP for evaluation of your case.