FAQ on Innocent Spouse and Equitable Relief: Part III

Taxes are stressful enough, but dealing with the IRS is a lot worse when harsh consequences aren’t even your fault. Hence, the importance of innocent spouse and equitable relief, which take your partner’s actions into account. Unfortunately, obtaining this relief is far from easy.

We’ve already touched on basic definitions and eligibility standards in parts I and II of this blog series — but now, we’ll dive in with specifics about filing, as well as factors that might play into your ability to get the IRS on your side.

How do I file for innocent spouse relief?

Your path to obtaining innocent spouse relief begins with IRS Form 8857. Before you file this form, take a close look at the official IRS instructions.

The IRS provides a thorough list of situations in which you should not file Form 8857. Don’t let these stipulations cause you to delay, however, if you suspect that you’re eligible. Form 8857 should be filed within two years of the IRS attempting to collect the tax in question.

How do I file for equitable relief?

While equitable and innocent spouse relief hold major differences, the filing process actually looks similar: complete IRS Form 8857. From there, equitable relief may be granted upon failure to qualify for innocent spouse relief.

As mentioned in the technical provisions of IRC 6015(f), this program gives the IRS “discretion to grant equitable relief from deficiencies and underpayments,” but only when other options such as innocent spouse relief do not apply.

In other words: you won’t actively try for equitable relief, but you might receive it if your efforts to secure innocent spouse relief fall short. Unfortunately, you will be at the mercy of the IRS.

If you’re ready to file for innocent spouse or equitable relief, be sure to get help from the team at the Highland Tax Group. We’ll guide you every step of the way. Reach out today to get started.