Suspecting that your spouse was not truthful on your taxes can add even more worry to a process that can be terrifying. It only seems natural to consult a tax attorney for advice. But, it may not be a wise idea to bring your spouse along. Tax lawyers and IRS authorized practitioners are not allowed to represent two clients who have interests which are adverse to each other without obtaining the consent of both of the clients involved (Tax Court Rules 24(g)). If you feel like you are an innocent spouse and will allege that your spouse went behind your back and fraudulently prepared your jointly-filed taxes, the two of you have interests that are clearly adverse to each other.
Is there any harm in being represented by the same attorney as my spouse?
Though there may not be any immediate negative impact when bundling your representation, there can be long term consequences. If a taxpayer is aware that a spouse understated income on their taxes andthen “meaningfully participates” in the Tax Court process, they could potentially lose their ability to claim innocent spouse relief.
A spouse that claims innocence may not be able to successfully raise a claim for innocent spouse relief if:
The Tax Court has made a final decision as to the taxable year in question;
the issue of innocent spouse relief was decided in the final decision; and
the taxpayer requesting innocent spouse relief participated meaningfully in the prior proceeding. (IRC § 6015(g)(2))
Deciding when to seek your own tax attorney can be a difficult. I am David W. Klasing a Tax Attorney and CPA with over 20 years of combined experience. You don’t have to go through this alone. I can assist you from notification of an audit all the way through to United States Tax Court, if necessary. I am well versed in both civil and criminal tax defense.