When two people file a joint tax return and the amount of taxes owed is not accurate or correctly remitted, there may be a justifiable "innocent spouse" defense. This form of tax penalty or interest relief may be granted to the spouse or party that may be innocent for a variety of reasons.
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Innocent Spouse Relief- Know Your Legal Rights and Options
There are three basic types of innocent spouse relief that apply:
Innocent Spouse Relief
- If you filed a joint return, you may be entitled to relief by separation of liability if you are no longer married, or are legally separated or; if you were not a member of the same household, that is you are living separately or estranged from the spouse with which you filed the joint return.
Relief by Separation of Liability
- The innocent party may be relieved of responsibility for paying tax, penalties, and interest if the other party was the guilty party in doing something improper or wrong on the innocent party's tax return - and the innocent party had no way of knowing the information submitted was improper or incorrect.
- If you do not qualify for innocent spouse relief or relief by separation of liability, you may still be eligible for innocent spouse relief through equitable relief. As an example, equitable relief might apply for the innocent spouse when the other spouse took money intended for paying taxes and used it for other purposes.
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