Understanding the Difference Between Innocent and Injured Spouse Relief

Innocent and injured spouse tax relief are two different avenues that can be pursued by couples filing joint tax returns if one party faces tax consequences due to the actions of their partner. Although the two scenarios are fairly different, they are both meant to release the innocent spouse from income tax liabilities that arise from joint tax filing. Before you request the IRS to consider you for innocent spouse relief or injured spouse relief, it is imperative to understand the differences between the two. We cover the basic differences in the blog post.

Must Read: Innocent Spouse Relief : What You Need to Know

What is Innocent Spouse Relief?

If a person files a joint return and is unaware that their spouse has deliberately under-reported their tax liability, the innocent spouse can get protection from paying additional taxes and penalties by filing form 8857. They need to prove that they did not know about the error in the joint return.

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

What is Injured Spouse Relief?

An injured spouse is the one who files a joint tax return and all or certain portions of the refund is applied to the spouse’s past due financial obligations. You may fill form 8379, if you are not responsible for the debt and entitled for a refund by the government.

Innocent Spouse Relief vs Injured Spouse Relief

To determine which status applies to your situation, you need to understand the differences and review the concerned joint tax return.

Accuracy in Filing Return

An injured spouse must have accurate details of all aspects of the tax return and information on the amounts filed; including credits and deductions. An innocent spouse on the other hand, needs to prove that all the information in the return is inaccurate. The IRS should believe that the innocent spouse was unaware of the false entries.

Reported Taxable Income

While only one spouse needs to file a return in the event of an innocent spouse, the scenario is entirely different when it comes to injured spouse relief. Both spouses must file a joint return, even if one spouse is not responsible for the debt (that the other spouse owes), and is entitled to a refund.

Review Findings

If you file for injured spouse relief, the tax liability of your spouse will remain, but you will be eligible for a refund based on your income and tax payments. An innocent spouse on the other hand, is released from all or part of any responsibility to pay tax, fines, and penalties to the IRS.

Final Words

Before you apply for innocent or injured spouse tax relief status, it is essential to know the basic criteria to qualify. To get a better understanding of tax law and the best help navigating the procedure, it is advisable to consult a tax attorney. The Law Offices of Nick Nemeth has a team of seasoned professionals to help clients with their IRS tax debt issues. To seek guidance on IRS tax troubles or filing for innocent or injured spouse relief, fill out our inquiries form, and one of our consultants will get back to you shortly. You can also call us at 972-627-4580.

Understanding the Difference Between Innocent and Injured Spouse Relief
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