Innocent Spouse Relief - Your Spouse is Responsible for the Tax Liability

woman looking tax paperwork

There are three kinds of relief available for taxpayers who qualify under the Innocent Spouse provisions.

If you filed joint returns with your spouse you are equally liable for the tax amount shown on the return, or any additional assessments made by the IRS. You may qualify to be relieved of the responsibility for paying your portion of the tax, penalties and interest on a deficiency if you meet all of the following conditions of Innocent Spouse Relief:

  1. You filed a joint return with your spouse.
  2. There is an understatement of tax on the return that is due to an erroneous item of your spouse, such as an omission of income or an incorrect claim for a deduction or credit.
  3. You can show that at the time you signed the return, you did not know or have reason to know that the understatement of tax existed.
  4. Taking into account all the facts and circumstances, it would be unfair to hold you accountable for the understatement.

If you are divorced or legally separated and not living in the same household as your spouse or former spouse, you may qualify for Separation of Liability Relief if you filed a joint return but are not responsible for a portion of the tax. This type of relief allows for an allocation of liability between you and your spouse or ex-spouse, holding each of you liable only for the portion of the tax for which you are responsible.

If you do not qualify for Innocent Spouse or Separation of Liability Relief, you may qualify for Equitable Relief. To qualify, you must be able to show that you meet all of the following conditions.
  1. You are not eligible for Innocent Spouse Relief, Separation of Liability Relief, or relief using community property rules.
  2. You have an understated or underpaid tax.
  3. You have not paid the tax.
  4. Taking into account all facts and circumstances, it would be unfair to hold you liable for the understatement or underpaid tax.
  5. You and your spouse did not transfer assets to another as part of a fraudulent scheme.
  6. Your spouse did not transfer property to you for the main purpose of avoiding tax or the payment of tax.
  7. You did not file or fail to file your return with intent to commit fraud.
  8. The income tax liability that you seek to relieve is attributable to an item of the spouse with whom you filed a joint return (exceptions apply).

Knowing which type of debt relief to pursue can be difficult. Our tax professionals can help you determine if you meet the requirements for Innocent Spouse Relief, Separation of Liability Relief, or Equitable Relief and advise you on which option would be the best course of action for you.

Schedule Your Free Tax Debt Relief Consultation

During your appointment, a licensed tax professional will answer your initial questions and determine if we can help based on your financial situation.


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