Innocent Spouse Relief is a form of tax relief that can relieve you of your tax liabilities, interest and penalties as a result of filing a joint tax return with your current or ex-spouse.
Filing your taxes jointly can provide many benefits – and sometimes it can create problems. When you are married and file a joint return together it means that both individuals are jointly and individually responsible for the taxes that are owed, even if one spouse made the majority or the entire amount of taxable income. If the IRS determines that there was a deficiency in your tax return, the IRS is authorized to collect the whole amount owed from each spouse individually.
The IRS created the innocent spouse relief program because situations arise where it would be unfair to hold a spouse liable for a tax liability that was caused entirely by the other spouse. There are three types of relief available under the innocent spouse rules. If the qualifications for one type are not met, it is possible to qualify for the other two. These mechanisms can relieve you from being responsible for unpaid back taxes, penalties and interest incurred as a result of the joint tax return filed with your ex-spouse.