Innocent Spouse Relief – Whats That?

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Darrin Mish: Hi, today we are going to talk about innocent spouse. Innocent spouse relief is what it’s technically called; there are three types of different innocent spouse reliefs. The first, and they are going to be handled in this order of analysis by the way, I believe innocent spouse is a very tough hurdle. When Congress passed the law, they made a big deal out of what help they were giving to innocent taxpayers.

They made a big deal out of it like it was going to help a lot of people. In my opinion, it’s a very tough hurdle, it’s very fact specific and it’s actually pretty hard to get. There are three types of innocent spouse. The first type we call classic innocent spouse. It’s covered in Internal Revenue Code 6015, subsection B.

I’m not a big code guy, and I’m not going to make a lot of code citations, usually. It’s important in an innocent spouse arena, because it is so factually based. The first is called classic innocent spouse, and we will go over the elements in a later blog post of blog cast post.

The second is called the separate liability election. That’s basically, where two spouses have filed a joint return and under certain circumstances, that joint return can be split. Only the innocent spouse’s tax liability will have to be paid if they in fact prevail in an innocent spouse claim.

The last type of innocent spouse relief is called equitable relief. It’s basically a catch all. It goes for the type of situation where… it’s just not fair to hold the so called innocent spouse liable for the misdeeds of the so called guilty spouse, and essentially the IRS, if you can show hardship; the IRS may in fact grant you equitable relief.

The cool thing about innocent spouse, though, is it’s basically of all three prongs to go ahead and try to prevail. It’s like a stepladder, you keep stepping up until you run out of options. As I said, innocent spouse is complicated, it is difficult to obtain, but it has worked for a lot of people in the United States, a lot of taxpayers.

By all means, we should always consider it as a possibility if you have a married couple, one of whom, was responsible for the lion’s share of the debts.

OK, that’s it for now. We are going to be going over the technical details of all three types in the future. So I…

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