The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released Publication 971 on Innocent Spouse relief pursuant to Internal Revenue Code § 6015. Generally, individuals who sign joint tax returns with their spouses are both jointly and severally liable for any taxes not paid with the return without regard to which spouse created the tax problem. Under the provisions of Internal Revenue Code § 6015, however, some spouses may be able to get out from under their tax problems. Publication 971 gives the IRS take on innocent spouse relief. If you want to read the opinions of our tax lawyers on innocent spouse relief you can see the innocent spouse articles on our website.
Publication 971 points out the time periods for filing for innocent spouse relief. Requests for innocent spouse relief must be filed on IRS Form 8857 no later than two years from the date the IRS first attempts to collect the tax due. IRS attempts to collect the tax due are limited to:
• The filing of a claim for by the IRS in a court proceeding, including a proof of claim in a bankruptcy proceeding.
• An IRS offset of a refund claim for a different year, as long as the IRS notified the taxpayer about her right to file for innocent spouse relief.
• The filing of a lawsuit by the IRS to collect the tax due • The issuance by the IRS of a collection due process (CDP) notice pursuant to Internal Revenue Code §6330.
The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) has similar rules to the Internal Revenue Service for taxpayers who are requesting innocent spouse relief for taxes owed to the State of California.