Tax Dictionary – Innocent Spouse

IRS Definition

Innocent spouse relief provides you relief from additional tax you owe if your spouse or former spouse failed to report income, reported income improperly or claimed improper deductions or credits.

More from H&R Block

When you file a joint tax return with your spouse, you and your spouse are liable jointly and individually for the taxes owed. Basically, this means you’re responsible as a couple and as individuals for the entire tax bill.

If you believe that only your spouse should be responsible for the taxes, you can request innocent spouse relief from the IRS. Most of the time, people request innocent spouse relief when the IRS has assessed additional taxes because of an audit or CP2000 notice.

Generally, you must prove to the IRS that the taxes you owe on your joint return resulted from actions your spouse was responsible for. You also need to show that when you signed the return, you didn’t know, and had no reason to know, about the tax you should have owed. In addition, you must show that, considering all the facts and circumstances, it would be unfair to hold you responsible.

There are multiple versions of innocent spouse relief, and it can be complicated to request. It’s a good idea to get expert help. Learn about H&R Block Tax Audit & Tax Notice Services or make an appointment for a free consultation.

Related Topics

Related Resources

Tax Dictionary – Treasury Offset Program

If you owe tax debt for another tax year, your refund can be taken to pay the tax debt. Learn more about the Treasury Offset Program from H&R Block.

IRS Letter 3279C – Final Determination Letter

The IRS made a final determination on your innocent spouse claim. Learn more about IRS letter 3279C and your options to address it from the experts at H&R Block.

IRS Letter 4527C – Why We Are Returning Your Form

Receive an IRS 4527C letter? Learn more about letter 4527C, why you received it, and how to handle it with help from the tax experts at H&R Block.

IRS Notice CP13 – Changes to Your Form 1040

The IRS made changes to your return. Learn more about notice CP13 and how to handle an IRS CP13 notice with help from the tax experts at H&R Block.