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How to Qualify for Innocent Spouse Tax Relief

If you filed a joint tax return and the IRS accuses you and your spouse of back tax fraud, you can qualify for innocent spouse tax relief to avoid paying IRS back taxes, penalties and interest, not to mention doing hard time in federal prison on criminal tax fraud and tax evasion charges. In the tax relief game, innocent spouse tax relief is as close as you'll get to that invaluable "get out of jail free" card. But you have to act fast to qualify since a recent treasury ruling has upheld the 2-year deadline for taxpayers who must claim innocent spouse tax relief within 2 years of the IRS's commencement of collection action.
If you've got a tax-cheating spouse (or ex-spouse), the IRS demands an immediate response on your part to defuse a deadly back tax bomb before it explodes. If you're an innocent spouse, here are expert tips to help you qualify for vital tax relief.

Protect yourself and your family assets. When you and your spouse file a joint tax return, both you and your spouse are "jointly and severally" liable for any taxes due. Many married taxpayers do this because of certain benefits this filing status allows. If you did so, you may be held responsible for monies due, even if your spouse earned all of the income. And this is true even if a divorce decree states that your spouse will be responsible for any amounts due on previously filed joint returns.

However, if you qualify for innocent spouse tax relief, you may not have to pay the tax, interest, and penalties related to your spouse (or former spouse). For example, if it is later shown that one spouse had unreported income, the other spouse may try to escape civil and/or criminal liability for the tax on that unreported income under the "innocent spouse" rule. To claim this protection, the innocent spouse must neither have known about the understated income (or other tax) nor could have reasonably known about it.
Innocent spouse tax relief not only protects the individual innocent spouse, but it can also provide a safe harbor for the family assets.

Innocent Spouse Back Tax Relief Action Step: A tax attorney or a Certified Tax Resolution Specialist can explain all the benefits innocent spouse tax relief can bring to your unique situation. The rewards are high to get innocent spouse tax relief but there is a high degree of difficulty to perform this maneuver. Let a seasoned professional tax attorney or Certified Tax Resolution Specialist with a proven track record help you qualify for innocent spouse back tax relief.

Get expert help understanding and meeting IRS guidelines. If you had no idea about the financial activity of your spouse and how your spouse was manipulating the books, you can qualify for innocent spouse tax relief. This means:

• You did not share bank accounts—you had no access to his/her account activity
• Your spouse had a separate business that he/she operated independently
• You did not benefit in lifestyle from the extra money that was a result of tax manipulation

To claim innocent spouse protection, it's wise to consult with an experienced tax attorney or Certified Tax Resolution Specialist who can help you qualify for tax relief by showing the IRS that you meet all of the following conditions:

• You must have filed a joint return which has an understatement of tax.
• The understatement of tax must be due to erroneous items of your spouse.
• You must establish that at the time you signed the joint return, you did not know, and had no reason to know, that there was an understatement of tax.
• Taking into account all of the facts and circumstances, it would be unfair to hold you liable for the understatement of tax.
• You must request IRS innocent spouse relief within 2 years after the date on which the IRS first began collection activity.

Innocent Spouse Back Tax Relief Action Step:

If you are worried that the law might consider you a culpable party and you're in need of tax relief, you need to take action now. An expert tax attorney or Certified Tax Resolution Specialist can help increase your chances of qualifying for innocent spouse tax relief. Once you file for an Innocent Spouse Claim, the IRS will send you a questionnaire for the purpose of verifying the validity of your story. A tax attorney or Certified Tax Resolution Specialist can help you through the process of sharing your financial information in innocent spouse cases.

You can prove your innocence, but you need to act fast. The clock is ticking so don't hesitate get a specialized tax attorney or Certified Tax Resolution Specialist on your side to dramatically improve your chances of getting the innocent spouse tax relief you deserve.

Helpful articles for obtaining innocent spouse tax relief:

Innocent Spouse Frequently Asked Questions and IRS Guidelines.

How to Qualify For Innocent Spouse Relief to Resolve Your IRS Problems

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About the Author

Michael Rozbruch is one of the nation's leading tax experts. A Certified Tax Resolution Specialist (CTRS), licensed CPA and the founder of Tax Resolution Services. He helps individuals and small businesses solve their IRS problems and is dedicated to educating the public on tax planning and other strategies for managing their personal and business finances.

For more information on how to resolve your back taxes and other IRS problems, visit for a free tax relief consultation or call 866-IRS-PROBLEMS.