Taxes and Domestic Abuse

11/1/2017 | Written by: Selena R. Quintanilla

When dealing with the devastating challenges of domestic abuse, taxes are likely the furthest thing from your mind. However, if you find yourself in this type of situation, it is important to understand your rights as a taxpayer so that you can safeguard your finances for the future.

As a taxpayer, you have the option to: 
 

  • File a separate return from your abuser, even if legally married.
  • Review the entire tax return before signing it.
  • Evaluate all supporting documents to ensure accuracy of your joint return.
  • File for an extension to allow yourself additional time to submit your tax return.
  • Request copies of prior year tax returns from the IRS for comparison.
  • Solicit independent legal advice.
  • Refuse to sign the joint return altogether.

The IRS also offers Innocent Spouse Relief, which can alleviate a domestic abuse victim from having to pay certain tax liabilities should their estranged spouse report incorrect information on a joint tax return.

For more information on how to safeguard yourself or someone you know against tax liability due to domestic abuse situations, please stop by a local IRS office, or visit IRS.gov.