Innocent Spouse Relief
Why do I need a defense attorney?
According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), many married couples in
the United States file their taxes together. Yes, filing a joint tax return
with your spouse has its benefits, but it may also require you to assume
partial responsibility for errors made by your spouse - whether inadvertent
or unintentional. If you and your spouse are under investigation by the
IRS because of a mistake on your tax return that you didn't know about,
you need an attorney to stand up for your rights against aggressive IRS
criminal investigators. Without a top-notch attorney fighting for you,
it may be difficult to demonstrate your innocence during the investigation.
There are three defenses used by innocent spouses to avoid tax crime penalties:
- Innocent spouse relief
- Separation liability
- Equitable relief
Each defense has different qualifications. In short, you may be eligible
to receive innocent spouse relief if you had no knowledge or reason to
know about the error. To qualify for separation liability, you and your
spouse must be divorced, legally separated or members of a separate household.
If you are not eligible for innocent spouse relief or separation liability
relief, you may qualify for equitable relief. If you are still married
but had no knowledge or reason to know about the mistake on your tax return
and you can demonstrate that the mistake was not made as part of a fraudulent
tax evasion scheme, you may be granted equitable relief.
Understanding Innocent Spouse Defense
In order to qualify for innocent spouse defense, you must have filed a
joint tax return with your spouse. The return must contain an erroneous
item and you must be able to show the IRS that, when you signed the return,
you had no knowledge or reason to know about the mistake. According to
the IRS, an erroneous item may be any form of unreported income, an incorrect
deduction or incorrect credit.
Actual knowledge refers to whether or not you were award of the mistake.
If you signed the return knowing that it was in error, you will not qualify
for innocent spouse relief. If a hypothetical, reasonable person in the
same situation wouldn't have known about the mistake, then you may
still qualify. However, if you claim that you didn't' know about
the mistake but a reasonable individual in your situation probably would
have, the IRS may not accept your petition for innocent spouse relief.
Other factors that the IRS may take into consideration include:
- The type of erroneous information on your tax return
- Your financial situation and your spouse's financial situation
- Your education background
- Whether or not you have any business experience
- Whether or not you asked your spouse if there was a mistake on the return
Once the IRS takes all of these factors into consideration, it will determine
whether or not you qualify for innocent spouse relief.
Get Help from Okabe & Haushalter
If you need help filing for innocent spouse relief, talk to an attorney
from Okabe & Haushalter today. We are ready to help you understand
your legal circumstances and stand up for your rights in court. Just because
your spouse's tax return were deficient doesn't meant that you
should have to pay the price -
schedule a case evaluation with a lawyer from the firm today.