Under the current federal tax law, married people in Washington can choose to either file their taxes separately or jointly. This decision is critical because if your spouse makes an error, you can both suffer if you file together, but if you file separately, you might miss out on some tax benefits. If you’ve decided to file jointly, there are cases where the IRS can hold you liable for your spouse’s mistakes and situations where you could be innocent.
Innocent spouse relief
Innocent spouse relief is a form of relief that is available to taxpayers who have filed joint tax returns with a spouse or former spouse. This relief can help taxpayers who did not know and had no reason to know that an error was made on their tax returns.
Qualifying for innocent spouse relief
You must meet three requirements to qualify for innocent spouse relief: first, you must have filed a joint tax return; second, an understatement of the tax liability must exist on the joint tax return; and lastly, you must prove that you did not know and had no reason to know that your spouse made an error when you filed your taxes together. It is also important to note that if you are divorced or separated from your spouse, you may still qualify for relief as long as the understatement occurred when you were still married.
How to apply
If you believe that you are eligible for innocent spouse relief, you can apply by filing Form 8857 with the IRS. According to the federal tax law, you must file this form within two years from the date you paid the tax.
You will need to provide information about your marriage, including the date of your marriage and divorce (if applicable), as well as information about your joint tax return. You may also be required to explain why you believe you qualify for innocent spouse relief. The IRS will then review your case and determine whether or not you are eligible for relief.
Requesting an innocent spouse relief in Washington can help you avoid the penalties for mistakes your current spouse or ex made. Sometimes you can qualify for partial relief, but if your case is strong enough, you could get total relief.