Many married couples opt to file a joint tax return due to the benefits made available to them by this particular filing status, such as lower income taxes. If you sign a jointly filed tax return with your spouse or ex-spouse, however, then the IRS will be able to hold you liable for any tax, penalties, or interest owed to the agency, regardless of whether or not you have any knowledge or control over the family’s finances.Denver Tax Attorney   Innocent Spouse Relief

In many marriages, one spouse—usually the primary breadwinner—has complete control over the household’s financial decisions, and may act fraudulently or recklessly without the other spouse knowing. These dishonest acts include the person’s spouse or ex-spouse failing to report income, improperly reporting income, or claiming improper credits or deductions.

When it comes to such tax situations, the innocent spouse may also be subject to assertive collection activity from the IRS, including attachment of a bank account wage garnishment, a tax lien, or a subsequent tax levy. Further aggravating the situation, the fraudulent spouse may even file for either chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy in order to discharge his or her tax debt.

Innocent spouse relief, under Internal Revenue Code Section 6015, is designed to relieve one spouse from an unjust situation stemming from fraud committed by his or her spouse or ex-spouse.

All collection activity on the part of the IRS will stop if you are granted innocent spouse relief, and it will be very possible to partially or fully get out of tax debt due to the fraud or offenses committed by your spouse. You may also be granted comparable relief from all Colorado tax, penalties, and interest stemming from the tax issue.

Before qualifying for innocent spouse relief, numerous factors will first be taken into serious consideration. Among the factors that will make you a good candidate include:

  • Your suffering economic hardship if relief were not granted;
  • Living apart, being divorced, or being legally separated from your spouse or ex-spouse during the tax year in question;
  • Being physically or emotionally abused by your spouse or ex-spouse;
  • You were not knowledgeable of the items that caused the deficiency or that the reported liability was unpaid;
  • The liability being entirely attributable to your spouse or ex-spouse.

The IRS will also check for other factors in determining whether Innocent Spouse Relief is appropriate for your situation. Examples of these are:

  • Income earned from gambling or other illegal means;
  • Your spouse overstating tax deductions or underreporting taxable income;
  • History of emotional or physical abuse;
  • If your signature was forged; and
  • Financial benefit you may have gained from your spouse or ex-spouse’s fraud.

If you believe the IRS is unjustified in collecting a tax debt against you and that you qualify for Innocent Spouse Relief, consult with an experienced tax attorney as soon as possible. A competent tax attorney may be able to negotiate aggressively with the IRS to protect your rights and reduce or eliminate your tax debt.