Getting a tax bill can be frightening, especially when it’s unexpected. Sometimes a request for payment comes as a result of a minor miscalculation on your part or even an error made on behalf of the IRS. But sometimes a tax liability is so large and out of left field that you might be left reeling. If you’re recently divorce and find yourself in this position, then you might want to consider whether you have any legal options at your disposal that could help you escape this very real financial burden.
What is innocent spouse relief?
Innocent spouse relief might be one option for you. This relief is given when the IRS determines that an individual should not be held responsible for unpaid taxes, interests, and penalties based on inaccurate or false reporting made by that individual’s spouse. For those who have significant income, this relief can save a person tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yet, this relief isn’t freely given. Instead, to succeed in claiming it you’ll have to meet certain requirements.
Qualifying for innocent spouse relief
There are several things you must show to be relieved of tax obligations under innocent spouse relief. Your taxes due must have been underreported and at the time you signed the tax return you lacked actual knowledge and had no reason to know that the tax return was erroneous. You also have to demonstrate that it would be unfair to hold you responsible for the tax liabilities and that you and your spouse haven’t transferred property in a fraudulent manner to escape taxes.
Each of these elements carry nuances that have to be fully understood before proceeding with a claim for innocent spouse relief. For example, when deciding whether it would be unfair to hold you responsible for the tax liabilities in question, the government might look to see if you benefitted from the false return in some way. Recent divorce, separation, or abandonment can play to your favor when it comes to this determination. But those are just a few of the surrounding facts that could be pivotal in your case.
Get the legal help you need to protect yourself
With your claim going under the microscope, you need to make sure that you’re being detailed and making arguments that are aimed at satisfying the legalities involved. If you think that you could benefit from assistance in assessing your situation and taking the appropriate legs action, then it might be time to discuss your situation with an attorney who is experienced in tax law.