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Innocent Spouse Relief

More Innocent Spouses Qualify for Relief Under New IRS Guidelines

By January 30, 2012No Comments

When you file a joint income tax return, the law makes both you and your spouse responsible for the entire tax liability. If one of the spouses who signs the joint tax return does not believe he or she should be liable for the full amount of the taxes, that spouse may seek relief from liability under the innocent spouse rules.

The Internal Revenue Service released new proposed guidelines designed to provide relief to more innocent spouses requesting equitable relief from income tax liability.

The proposed guidelines revise the threshold requirements for requesting equitable relief and revise the factors used by the IRS in evaluating these requests. The factors have been revised to ensure that requests for innocent spouse relief are granted when the facts and circumstances warrant and that, when appropriate, requests are granted in the initial stage of the administrative process. The new guidelines are available immediately and will remain available until the finalized procedure is published.

The IRS will immediately begin using these new guidelines when evaluating equitable relief requests.

“The IRS is significantly changing the way we determine innocent spouse relief,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “These improvements should dramatically enhance our process to make it fairer for victimized taxpayers facing difficult situations.”

This is the second major change made to the innocent spouse program. In July, the IRS extended help to more innocent spouses by eliminating the two-year time limit that previously applied to requests seeking equitable relief.

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