Skilled Paradise Valley Innocent Spouse Relief Lawyers Ready To Serve You
Each year, thousands of people are shocked to find out that they are legally responsible for taxes, IRS penalties, and interest due to errors contained in jointly filed tax returns that they did not prepare. While the IRS provides a system for innocent spouse relief, obtaining such relief can often be challenging, and the assistance of a knowledgeable Paradise Valley innocent spouse relief attorney may be invaluable.
At the Paradise Valley tax law firm of Kaczmarek & Jojola PLLC, our skilled tax controversy lawyers help clients apply for and obtain innocent spouse relief. We understand that unpaid tax issues may not be the only burden you are facing right now, and we take every step to ensure that we make the process as straightforward for you as possible. We start by explaining the process in detail so you know what to expect. From there, we will help you complete the application for innocent spouse relief, ensuring your application is correctly filled out and includes all necessary documentation.
When Is Innocent Spouse Relief Available?
Generally, spouses who file a joint tax return are “jointly and severally” liable for the couple’s tax liabilities. This is even the case if a return was prepared while the couple was married but have since gotten divorced. As a result, the IRS can come after either spouse or former spouse to collect unpaid taxes, penalties, and interest. It does not matter who filed the return or who earned the income.
Under the innocent-spouse rule, the IRS may provide tax relief to a spouse whose current or former partner completed and filed the couple’s tax return. To qualify for innocent spouse relief in Paradise Valley, a person must meet each of the following criteria:
- The taxpayer must have filed a joint return with an erroneous understatement of tax responsibility that related directly to their spouse;
- They must have not known about the error or errors;
- The taxpayer must apply for innocent spouse relief within two years of the IRS notifying them of the collection; and
- The IRS must agree that it is fair to relieve the taxpayer of the tax in question.
One of the major challenges in obtaining innocent spouse relief is getting the IRS to agree that a taxpayer was not aware of the errors on their tax return. When reviewing an application for relief, the IRS will not only consider whether a spouse actually knew about the errors in the return, but also whether they should have known of the errors. Thus, well-educated taxpayers, as well as those who have accounting, tax, or business experience, may seem to be held to a higher standard. When determining whether a spouse knew or should have known about an error on a tax return, the IRS considers the following:
- The nature of the erroneous item;
- The amount of the erroneous item in relation to the other items contained in the return;
- The applying spouse’s education and business experience;
- The applying spouse’s involvement in the business or activity related to the erroneous item or items; and
- Whether the applying spouse intentionally did not ask questions of their spouse when a reasonable person may have done so.
Those seeking innocent spouse relief can also face hurdles when attempting to show that it would be unfair for the IRS to impose liability against the taxpayer. For example, the IRS will consider whether the applying spouse received a benefit from the erroneously filed return as well as the couple’s current relationship status. If a couple remains married, it will be much more difficult for the applying spouse to obtain relief.
Finally, it is important to note that innocent spouse relief is not available for all types of tax. Innocent spouse relief applies to individual income and self-employment taxes. However, a spouse cannot obtain relief from business taxes, trust fund recovery penalties for employment taxes, household employment taxes, and individual shared responsibility payments.
Contact a Highly-Skilled Innocent Spouse Relief Attorney for Assistance
If you recently received a letter from the IRS related to a tax return that you did not file, citing errors you were not aware of, you may be eligible for innocent spouse relief. However, the process of applying for innocent spouse relief can be confusing, especially for those without a tax or accounting background. At Kaczmarek & Jojola PLLC, we are here to help you successfully prepare and present your case for tax relief. Our knowledgeable Paradise Valley innocent spouse relief lawyers can assist you in developing and submitting comprehensive and compelling applications for innocent spouse relief. To learn more, give us a call and let us help you work through this process. You can also reach us through our online form.