If the IRS held your refund to pay your spouse's debt, you might qualify for relief

If so, let's see if you we can get the money you deserve back for you from the IRS. 

Filing a joint return with your spouse can provide benefits, but come at a cost...

Married people have options about how they file taxes.  Like many others, you may find that ‘married joint’ status provides greater tax benefits, but you should understand a hidden consequence - joint and several liability.   Joint and several liability is a legal term used in the tax world.  It means that you and your spouse are each individually liable for 100% of any tax liability.  This is true regardless of whether the debt was created by only one of you or both equally.  And the IRS can collect from one or both of you until the debt is satisfied.

Spousal Tax Relief Programs

Hard as it might be to believe, sometimes people are not honest on their tax returns – they hide income or take deductions that they aren’t eligible for.  When the IRS finds that additional taxes are due, a tax liability is created which often consist of back taxes, interest, and penalties.  

Over the years, measures have been put in place to help people who are innocent of the acts of their spouses.  Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for debt relief under one of the provisions.  

Innocent Spouse Relief

The IRS relieves you of the responsibility to pay an outstanding tax liability due to your spouse either improperly reporting or omitting items on your joint tax return.  Any debt you are relieved of is normally collected from your spouse.  It is granted after you show that you did not know about what your spouse did, had no reason to know and that it would be unfair to hold you responsible for collection.  The burden of proof is 100% on you.

Separation of Liability Relief

This is normally claimed by taxpayers who are divorced or legally separated from the spouse with whom they filed their joint return.  So, you are requesting not to be held liable for a tax liability for someone with whom you are no longer in a legal relationship.  Getting relief under this provision for means an allocation of the understated tax between you and your former spouse.  You will no longer be jointly responsible for the liability, rather you will be responsible for paying the liability that is allocated to you, which may well be little or none

Equitable Relief

If you don’t qualify for innocent spouse relief or separation of liability, all is not lost.  There is another option called ‘equitable relief’.  It allows relief from understated or unpaid tax if, after reviewing the facts and circumstances of your case, it is deemed “inequitable” (unfair) to hold you liable.  You can look at it as a broader type of relief in that you can benefit if you did not file a joint return and even if you cannot get relief from community income.

How I Canhelp

My work with Innocent Spouses consists of:

  • Getting you the IRS information as needed and assisting you to build your case,
  • Helping you get the allocation correct so you can get the money you deserve,
  • Monitoring the IRS and tracking the progress on your case so it doesn't "slip through the cracks"