Filing a joint tax return has certain benefits, making it a popular filing status among many married taxpayers. Each taxpayer is responsible, both jointly and individually, for the tax and any interest or penalty due on the joint return; even if they divorce later. Even if a divorce decree states that a former spouse is responsible for the amount due on previous filed joint returns, both parties are still responsible. Even if all the income was earned by the one spouse, the other may be held responsible.

There are cases in which a spouse will be relieved of the tax, interest, and penalties on a joint tax return. There are three types of relief available:

Innocent Spouse Relief – provides you relief from additional tax you owe if your spouse or former spouse failed to report income, reported income improperly or claimed improper deductions or credits.

Separation of Liability Relief – provides for the allocation of additional tax owed between you and your former spouse or your current spouse from whom you are separated when an item was not reported properly on a joint return. The tax allocated to you is the amount for which you are responsible.

Equitable Relief – may apply when you do not qualify for innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief for something not reported properly on a joint return and generally attributable to your spouse. You may also qualify for equitable relief if the amount of tax reported is correct on your joint return but the tax was not paid with the return.

Each of these options can relieve you from being responsible for unpaid back taxes, penalties, and interest incurred as a result of a joint tax return that was filed; therefore avoiding unwanted liens and levies. Each one of these three relief programs have different and specific requirements that need to be bet in order to qualify for that type of relief.

Innocent spouse relief can be a bit more difficult to obtain from the IRS. Cases are usually denied because of mistakes made during the filing process. Spectrum Tax Relief can assist with that process. We have the experience and professional team needed to help with Innocent Spouse Relief.