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IRS Eases Innocent Spouse Eligibility Requirements

Submitted by admin on Wed, 8/3/2011 - 12:00 am

The IRS has announced a few new items regarding the eligibility requirements surrounding the filing of an Innocent Spouse claim for relief from a joint tax liability. The IRS has stated that they are eliminating the 2-year time limit that now applies to file the claim, along with easing the evaluation of claims. The IRS commissioner Doug Shulman has said, “In recent months, it became clear to me that we need to make significant changes involving innocent spouse relief, this change is a dramatic step to improve our process to make it fairer for an important group of taxpayers. We know these are difficult situations for people to face, and today’s change will help innocent spouses victimized in the past, present, and the future.”

Under the law, taxpayers who file joint returns are generally liable for the tax debt of their partners. However, spouses may qualify for relief if they didn’t know their partner was cheating on their taxes, or didn’t participate in the scam. In some cases, spouses can elude the responsibility if they can prove they were in an abusive relationship, and did not believe they had an option not to sign a return.

In the past, obtaining tax relief for innocent spouses was likened to moving mountains with the IRS, so hopefully this acknowledgement by the commissioner will have meaning through the depths the IRS staff, and not just be ear candy.