Where can I get INNOCENT more SPOUSE information? RELIEF Publication 971, Innocent Spouse Relief, explains the rules to qualify What If . . . for and claim relief from tax liability. This publication can be downloaded You signed a joint return with your from the Internet at: HOW TO spouse and . . . REQUEST RELIEF You thought your spouse had paid www.irs.gov the taxes due, or . . . You can file Form 8857 The IRS increased your taxes You also can order free forms and because of your spouse’ s Request for Innocent Spouse Relief publications from the IRS at unreported income or disallowed 800-829-3676. (One form will cover multiple years) deductions and . . . You knew nothing about your If you have access to TTY/TDD spouse’s unreported or erroneous equipment, you can call 800-829- items when you signed the return. 4059 to ask tax questions or to order forms and publications. Now the IRS is asking you to pay the tax owed on this joint return. The IRS Mission What tax relief may be Provide America’s taxpayers available to you? top quality service by helping them understand and meet IRS Call the Department of the Treasury their tax responsibilities and Internal Revenue Service Internal Revenue Service by applying the tax law with w w w . i r s . g o v Toll-Free at integrity and fairness to all. Publication 3512 (Rev. 03-2001) Catalog Number 28669X (800) 829-1040 q If you meet the conditions for KEY POINTS innocent spouse relief, you will EXAMPLE (Additional Tax from an not be responsible for the tax At the time the joint return was Audit): Mark and Carol Smith filed a joint due on the return or any return in 1996. In 1998, the IRS audited their filed, did you believe the tax penalties and interest. return and discovered that Carol did not owed was, or would be, paid? report $12,500 in wages. This resulted in additional tax of $3000, plus $675 in q You may be eligible for partial Did your spouse’s income cause penalties and interest. Mark did not know relief based on the facts and about Carol’s unreported wage income. Mark the unpaid tax? circumstances of your and Carol had separated in 1996 and Carol situation. If the additional tax due is never told Mark about her second job. IRS allowed Mark’s request for relief. The because of an audit, did you q You must file Form 8857 no additional taxes, penalties and interest due later than 2 years after the date know about the unreported on the unreported $12,500 of wages will be collectible from Carol only. Mark will be the IRS first attempts to collect income or erroneous items? relieved of the additional taxes, penalties and the tax from you. interest. EXAMPLE (Taxes not Paid When Return Filed): Bill and Karen Green filed a 1998 q If you prefer, the IRS will figure joint return showing $4000 in taxes owed, but In this example, the key factor the amounts for you if we allow not paid. The tax resulted from Bill’s wages. in the determination is that Mark relief. You can always verify this Karen did not receive any income in 1998. did not know or have reason to amount yourself or with a tax Both Bill and Karen knew the taxes were know of unreported wage advisor. owed but did not know how they were going income. to pay them. In 2000, Karen filed Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, for the q In order to process your claim, See if you qualify by using the unpaid balance of $4000. IRS did not allow you must attach a statement as Innocent Spouse Tax Relief Eligibility Karen relief. The unpaid tax, penalties and Explorer at: www.irs.gov /individuals/ to why you believe you qualify interest are collectible from both Bill and article/0,,id=96727,00.html for relief. Karen. In this example, although the tax If you believe you may qualify for relief, q Being divorced or separated resulted from Bill’s income, file Form 8857, Request for Innocent does not automatically qualify Spouse Relief. IRS will consider all the Karen knew the tax was not paid facts and circumstances of your case, you for relief, but is a factor that when the return was filed and did including your knowledge and whether IRS considers. not have a reasonable belief it you received a significant benefit, and would be paid. determine your eligibility for relief.
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