Alabama Innocent Spouse Relief Lawyers
In the state of Alabama, married couples are considered to share all property they acquire during the marriage with very few exceptions. It makes sense, then, that many people make the decision to file a joint tax return every year. This makes the situation easier as only a single tax return must be completed and returned to the IRS rather than each spouse filing separately. It is important to understand, however, filing a joint return means that both individuals involved are responsible for any assessments levied against the return as well as liable for the tax itself.
Each spouse on a joint return is, in general, liable for the entirety of the tax due, even if one of them earned all income or made the decision to claim improper credits or claims. This holds true even if the couple has divorced and the decree states that one of the parties was to be held responsible for amounts due on any joint returns filed prior to the dissolution of the marriage. If you are facing the daunting experience of being held responsible for tax debt that your partner incurred, however, you might be in luck. There are certain situations in which spouses are able to seek relief from several and joint liability.
Innocent Spouse Relief
The IRS has developed three separate kinds of relief from several and joint liability for spouses who have filed joint returns.
These include the following:
- Innocent Spouse Relief. This kind of relief provides spouses with relief from the additional taxes you might owe if your former spouse or current spouse failed to accurately report all income, reported their income improperly, or made the decision to claim improper credits or deductions.
- Separation of Liability Relief. This relief essentially seeks to charge you only what you owe from a previously filed joint tax return should a particular item have been reported improperly. That means that your spouse or ex-spouse is responsible for the bulk of the penalties incurred if they were the ones to improperly file or claim something on your return.
- Equitable Relief. This kind of relief is sometimes applicable when you do not qualify for either of the two previous kinds of relief. If the tax item giving you trouble is generally able to be attributed to your spouse or ex-spouse, then you might qualify for this kind of relief.
How do I get innocent spouse relief?
In order to receive innocent spouse relief, the spouse in question must request it within two years of the date upon which the IRS first tried to collect. If you are hoping to obtain equitable relief, they must request relief while still during a time period where the IRS is able to collect the taxes in question from you. This is, if the tax is unpaid, generally ten years from the date of the assessment.
In order to quality for innocent spouse relief, there are certain conditions you must meet. Failing to meet even one of them can disqualify you from receiving this kind of aid. The three conditions you must meet are:
- The taxpayer was part of a joint tax return that included an understatement of tax that is attributable in its entirety to the other spouse’s inclusion of an erroneous item. These items include credits, deductions, and property basis as well as income that was received by the spouse in question but excluded from the return.
- The taxpayer has established that at the time they signed the return, they were not aware of the erroneous item and had no reason to suspect an understatement of tax.
- It would be unfair, given all circumstances and facts, to hold the taxpayer liable given that they meet the above two conditions.
If you are being held responsible for errors that your spouse or ex-spouse made on a jointly filed tax return, it is important that you reach out to an experienced attorney who understands tax law. Do not hesitate – the sooner you contact a skilled lawyer, the sooner you can start moving towards receiving innocent spouse relief.
If you are being held accountable for tax issues committed by your spouse or ex-spouse, you should reach out to attorneys who can help ensure that your rights are upheld. Lloyd & Hogan, Attorneys at Law, can help. We offer free consultations and are ready and willing to hear about your case. Contact us today for more information.