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What is innocent spouse relief relating to a joint tax return?

| May 18, 2020 | Tax Controversies |

When filing their taxes, most married couples in New York choose to file jointly. This common practice can offer benefits when it comes to utilizing credits and deductions available for specific couples. However, if one spouse or a former spouse omits information or improperly claims deductions on a joint return, the IRS may flag a problem with the return. Often, this means that the couple is liable for the taxes, interest and penalties that result. Fortunately, some parties may qualify for innocent spouse relief.

Some people may feel it is unfair for both parties to be held liable for the consequences of one spouse’s mistakes. Innocent spouse relief may help parties if they believe that the errors on their joint tax return are the sole responsibility of their spouse or ex-spouse. This relief could help remove liability for at least a portion of the penalties, if the person qualifies.

It is important to keep in mind that this relief only applies to individual income or self-employment taxes. Additionally, the spouse applying for relief must not have had knowledge of the mistakes at the time of filing the return. If the spouse had actual knowledge of the issue or had reason to know about the issue, he or she will likely not qualify.

No one wants to end up having to handle the tax-related repercussions of someone else’s filing mistakes, even a spouse. If New York residents believe that innocent spouse relief could help them, they may want to gain more information on this option. Because it can be difficult to understand and to apply for this relief, interested parties may want to gain advice from knowledgeable tax attorneys.