When a husband and wife file a joint tax return, they are jointly and severally liable for the entire tax. This means that both husband and wife are responsible for the entire tax bill. There are situations that arise where one of the partners can absolve themselves of their responsibility. This is called innocent spouse relief. Let’s go over some possible scenarios where this might be a possibility.
An abusive spouse handles the finances and prevents the abused partner from knowing anything about their financial situation. Eventually, the abused partner escapes, but the IRS comes to them asking for past taxes from a mismanaged tax return.
A divorce decree states that their ex is responsible for all tax liabilities leftover from a marriage, but they don’t know that the IRS isn’t bound by divorce decrees and starts receiving notices for unpaid taxes from their previous marriage.
One spouse is arrested for fraudulent behavior that the other one was unaware of. Later, they find out that the lying spouse, now in prison, also lied on their joint tax return and they’re stuck with the bill.
One spouse dies with unpaid tax liabilities. After all the final expenses are paid, the IRS contacts the surviving spouse with information about unpaid tax liabilities that the survivor cannot pay for anymore.
Often these spouses are completely unaware that there is a problem with unpaid taxes until they hear from the IRS. Innocent spouse relief has gotten some heat from lawmakers over the past few years due to a rule, still in effect, that says anyone who wants to claim innocent spouse relief has to do so within two years of the first attempt to claim the tax. It is possible to fight for relief even after this deadline, but it is expensive and will require going to court.?
If innocent spouse relief is granted, the responsibility for paying the unpaid taxes will shift entirely to the other partner. But the burden of proof is high. You must prove that you didn’t know or have reason to know that your spouse misrepresented income amounts on their tax returns. Also, if you benefit from the misrepresented income then your chances of success are lower. Roughly 50% of the applicants are successful. Having a tax attorney on your side with experience in innocent spouse relief claims is important to maximize your chances of a successful result or to advise you of other options to handle the problem.
If you live in South Florida, the tax attorney team to call is the team at Zuckerman Law, L.L.C. We have helped many people obtain innocent spouse relief. Each innocent spouse relief case is unique, which is why it’s so important to have someone on your side with great experience in handling these sorts of cases. Speak with one of our attorneys today so we can assess your chances of obtaining a successful innocent spouse relief claim. Our firm serves the entire South Florida region. If you need an innocent spouse relief lawyer in Sunny Isles, Hollywood, Aventura, or anywhere else in South Florida, call us today.
Zuckerman Law, L.L.C.
Phone: (954) 280-8292