irs innocent spouse relief
  • February 27, 2017
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When couples file a joint return, they are jointly and severally liable for the tax, interest, or penalties that arise from the joint return, even if after they decide to go their separate ways. In the event of a delinquent spouse, the innocent spouse can file for three different types of tax relief from the IRS – innocent spouse relief, separation of liability relief, and equitable relief. You need to carefully determine which relief applies to your situation by thoroughly reviewing all three definitions given below and taking a close look at your joint income tax return. It is recommended to get legal help to enhance chances of getting a favorable outcome.The Law Office of Nick Nemeth provide expert help to spouse’s seeking IRS innocent spouse relief. Let’s take a look at all three types of tax relief and the conditions required to qualify.

Must Read:  Not Liable for Your Spouse’s Taxes? File for Innocent Spouse Tax Relief

Innocent Spouse Relief

The IRS innocent spouse rules provide unaware spouses relief from additional tax, if their spouse or ex failed to report income, reported it improperly, or claimed improper deductions or credits. If it is established that the joint return has been filed under duress, you are eligible for a tax exemption. Even couples who are still married can apply for an innocent spouse relief. Let’s take a look at other instances wherein you are eligible for innocent spouse tax relief.

  1. The understatement of tax on your joint return is solely attributable to your spouse’s erroneous item. An erroneous item includes income received by your spouse but omitted from the joint return. Deductions, credits, and property basis also constitute erroneous items if they are incorrectly reported on the joint return.
  2. If you can establish that at the time of signing the joint return, you had no possible knowledge of an understatement of tax, you may be eligible for innocent spouse relief.
  3. The IRS takes into account all the circumstances and facts surrounding the fraud, and after thoughtful consideration, may find it unfair to hold you liable for the understatement of tax.

Separation of Liability Relief

If a couple becomes legally separated, divorced, or no longer live together, one may apply for a separation of liability relief in the event of an understatement of tax by a delinquent partner. Unlike innocent or injured spouse relief, separation of liability can only be valid if the couple is separated or divorced. Here are a few requirements that the applying spouse must fulfill to avail separation of liability relief.

  1. As mentioned above, one of the most important requirements is that you must be divorced or legally separated. You need to provide proper documents stating that the mentioned conditions are true. If you are widowed, it makes you unmarried in the eyes of the law and also eligible for relief in the event of an understatement of tax.
  2. You need to provide proof that you and your spouse were not members of the same household at any time during the twelve month period ending prior to the date of filing for tax relief.


If you are unable to meet all requirements for any of the tax relief options mentioned above, you may still qualify for equitable relief. You will need to provide proof and substantial evidence supporting the fact that it would be unfair to hold you liable for your spouse’s taxes. It is always advisable  to hire an experienced IRS attorney to help you craft your case.  Nick Nemeth has years of experience handling diverse IRS tax issues and will help you gather relevant evidence and align all the required paperwork for your tax relief application. If you are applying for innocent spouse tax relief, or facing any legal issues with the IRS, you can contact the Law Office of Nick Nemeth by filling out our contact form, and we will get in touch with you. You can also call us at (972) 426-2553to schedule your free, no-obligation, consultation with Nick Nemeth.

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What Our Clients Have to Say

Susan WilsonSusan Wilson
03:27 25 Jan 23
I have been very pleased with the solid counsel and guidance that Nick Nemeth has provided me regarding my tax issue. I found him to be honest and straightforward which I appreciated. I was impressed with his relevant experience and knowledge . He has definitely brought me peace of mind during a difficult and stressful time.
Sarah HowardSarah Howard
03:44 14 Nov 22
I would like to thank Mr. Nick and his staff for the superb help that I received from them. My IRS problem was resolved quickly and efficiently. It took 2 visits to convince me that I was over my head. I thought that I could call the IRS, appeal my tax notices and settle on a payment plan on my own. After many phone calls to the IRS, waiting sometimes more than 4 hours with no resolution to speak of, it proved to be extremely difficult and stressful. Revisiting Mr. Nick was a huge wake up call. My account was reviewed, and a payment plan was established with the IRS within a week. I will be forever grateful to the staff who worked on my case and especially to Lorna who listened to me vent while going through this painful process.
00:33 07 Aug 22
I cannot say enough good things about Nick and his team. When I first met with Nick he was up front, honest, friendly and efficient. When I worked with one of his attorneys, Eric B, I was just as pleased. All of the staff there are nice and very helpful. I wish I hadn't waited so long to get help with my issue. Over 6yrs I tried getting through and getting anywhere with the IRS and hardly made any progress. I know this may not be the case for all, and even I thought it would take longer than it did, but 3mos and they had my situation straightened out. I still can't believe it. Thank you thank you THANK YOU for all that you did for me. This is a huge burden gone out of my life now thanks to you. If anyone needs help out there, I know you may not want to shell out more money to get their help but it may just save you in the long run.
Spoilly GirlSpoilly Girl
23:49 03 Aug 22
The Nemeth Law team is exceptional. They treat their clients like a family member who is in crisis. They want you to get the best possible outcome. I really appreciate everything that they did for me. Jake and Ashley had the greatest role in my case and it all turned out for the best for me. Thank you Nick and team for easing my fears and getting me through the long process. I'm truly grateful.
Eddie WaltEddie Walt
19:44 12 Jul 22
During a time in which competent, professional service at a fair price seems to have disappeared, Mr. Nemeth and his team are a refreshing breath of fresh air.From my first phone call to the final settlement of our case with a non-responsive IRS, they under-promised, over-delivered and were in constant courteous contact to make sure we knew exactly what was happening and where we stood.I hope to never need their services again, but, should I receive another friendly letter from the IRS...I know who to call!
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