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Proposed Guidelines to Ease Restrictions on Innocent Spouse Relief

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    The Internal Revenue Service released proposed guidelines which would officially give spouses filing for equitable innocent spouse relief more time to do so.

    Currently, innocent spouse protection is available to spouses who filed a joint-return during the tax year in question. Innocent spouse relief may be appropriate if one spouse, who is typically “in charge” of the family’s finances, omits income or overstates deductions on the tax return filed jointly between the two spouses. The innocent spouse must show that they did not know or have any reason to question the validity of the tax return.

    Sections 6015(a)-(c) of the Internal Revenue Code provide requirements which must be met in order to be granted innocent spouse relief. Among other requirements, in order to be statutorily granted relief, a innocent spouse must request such relief within 2 years of the first collection activity by the IRS.

    If a taxpayer does not meet one of the requirements of the statutory relief, they can request equitable relief under Section 6015(f). Until recently, the IRS took the position that because the statute of limitations for statutory relief was 2 years, a taxpayer requesting equitable relief must file within the same time-frame.

    Under REG-132251-11, innocent spouses would have the full ten-year collection period to file for equitable relief. This shift in procedure at the IRS further demonstrates a more accommodating stance for innocent spouses.


    The law and regulations concerning innocent spouse relief can be complex and difficult to decipher. Seek experienced representation in order to avoid being left on the hook for your spouse’s tax liabilities. At the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing, we have the knowledge and experience to best represent your interests before the IRS.

    To learn more about the various types of innocent spouse protection and the requirements that must be met in order to qualify, please contact us today.


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