July 18, 2017

If you file a claim for innocent spouse relief, you will know the status of your claim when the IRS issues you a Notice of Preliminary Determination. This notice contains information regarding the decision of the IRS, as well as the basis for their decision. If you disagree with this initial determination, you are entitled to file one or several appeals.

You are only given 30 days to file your objection with the IRS Appeals Division. Within this timeframe, you must complete a Statement of Disagreement and explain why you disagree with their determination.

As with your initial filing, your spouse will be informed that you are appealing the decision of the IRS. The non-requesting spouse is given the opportunity to be heard in court, and can present evidence that could refute your claims. This is the case even when domestic violence or spousal abuse is involved. After all, the IRS determination on your status as an innocent spouse will directly affect the non-requesting spouse. The non-requesting spouse will be informed of both the preliminary and final determinations on your request for relief.

If you are successful, your spouse will be left solely liable for a part of or the entire tax debt from your joint returns. If your request for relief is denied and a letter of final determination is issued, the IRS will only reconsider their decision based on specific circumstances, one of which is your ability to provide additional documentation that was not previously considered.

When it comes to decisions on innocent spouse relief, the ruling of the IRS is final. However, it is sometimes possible for the U.S. Tax Court to decide on the matter. You may, for instance, use your innocent spouse claim as a defense to a Notice of Deficiency or 90-day letter. If you have not yet received a final determination notice from the IRS, you may also petition the court after you have requested innocent spouse relief but before a final determination has been issued by the IRS. You must file this petition within six months from the date you filed the request.

Note that the non-requesting spouse has the right to appeal a preliminary determination letter granting you partial or full innocent spouse relief. However, he or she may not appeal the Tax Court from the final determination letter.

When you appeal a tax decision, your case is treated as if it were new. The court may opt to consider new evidence which were not available or excluded from the earlier proceedings. The Tax Court will also not consider the determination made by the IRS regarding your petition or claims. Instead, the matter will be decided on independently.

If you have filed an innocent spouse relief in the past and your request was denied, you may choose to file another claim if you have new information. However, you will not be granted rights to Tax Court for this reconsideration.

If you appeal the decision and fail to request for innocent spouse relief, you may be banned permanently from asserting this type of claim.

To protect your best interests, it is recommended that you consult with a qualified tax attorney even before applying for innocent spouse relief. Hiring a tax professional may increase the chances of your request being accepted.

Categories: Tax Appeals