What to Do When Your Spouse Lies on Your Joint Tax Returns
Filing a joint tax return with your spouse can be a fantastic idea on some levels, but can also lead to a whole new world of problems if things go wrong. How well do you really know your spouse’s financial affairs? That’s not to suggest that they may be acting unethically or illegally, but remember that “jointly and severally liable” means you’ll also be responsible for any less-than-accurate reporting. If you genuinely had no idea that false reporting was going on, you may be eligible for Innocent Spouse Relief.
Do I Qualify for Innocent Spouse Relief?
If your spouse has lied on your joint tax returns, there are three ways in which you can apply for Innocent Spouse Relief. The first step, whichever method you choose, is to file Form 8857 – Request for Innocent Spouse Relief within two years of the IRS’ first attempting to collect the tax involved in the claim. An experienced Fort Lauderdale Innocent Spouse Relief lawyer can help you to make sure this is done correctly, as any errors or missed deadlines could mean that the IRS deny your appeal.
To apply for Innocent Spouse Relief, the following four criteria must be met:
- A joint tax return must have been filed for the period in question
- The other spouse must have misrepresented their income or deductions, directly resulting in the understated tax
- Proof that the appealing spouse did not have any knowledge of the false reporting, and could not be reasonably expected to have known
- After considering all facts and evidence which you provide, the IRS must believe that it would unfair to hold you liable for the outstanding tax payment
Partial Relief & The Equitable Relief Provision
If you were legally separated or divorced from your spouse during the year when the income in question was earned, you may be entitled to partial relief. This can also apply if you lived in a different household. The understated tax must also have been allocated between both spouses, whether in proportion to your incomes or otherwise.
The third method of claiming Innocent Spouse Relief, as you will be advised by your Fort Lauderdale lawyer, is the equitable relief provision. This route can be used only when neither of the first two methods is available, but the IRS agrees that it would be unfair to enforce the “jointly and severally liable” condition. Some of the criteria required for equitable relief include:
- No transfer of assets must have taken place between the spouses during the year in question
- No transfer of assets to a business intended to defraud the IRS must have been made
- You must be able to prove you were unaware of the understated calculations
- The understated tax must have arisen due to your spouse’s income and/or deductions
How Can a Fort Lauderdale Innocent Spouse Relief Lawyer Help?
If your spouse, or former spouse, has lied on a joint tax return and you’re considering applying for Innocent Spouse Relief, an experienced tax attorney can help you achieve the best possible -outcome. To learn more, and to discuss your case, contact us on 754-201-3536 today.