Many married taxpayers choose to file joint tax returns because of certain benefits this filing status allows. Both taxpayers are jointly and severally liable for the tax, and any additions to tax, interest or penalties that arise as a result of the joint return — even if they later divorce.
Joint and several liability means that each taxpayer is legally responsible for the entire liability. Thus, both spouses are generally held responsible for all the tax due, even if one spouse earned all the income or claimed improper deductions or credits.
This is also true even if a divorce decree states that a former spouse will be responsible for any amounts due on previously filed joint returns. In some cases, however, a spouse can get relief from joint and several liability.
There are three types of relief from joint and several liability for spouses who filed joint returns:
- Innocent spouse relief provides you relief from additional tax you owe if your spouse or former spouse failed to report income, reported income improperly or claimed improper deductions or credits.
- Separation of liability relief provides for the allocation of additional tax owed between you and your former spouse or your current spouse from whom you are separated because an item was not reported properly on a joint return. The tax allocated to you is the amount for which you are responsible.
- Equitable relief may apply when you do not qualify for innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief for something not reported properly on a joint return and generally attributable to your spouse. You may also qualify for equitable relief if the correct amount of tax was reported on your joint return but the tax remains unpaid.
At The Gartzman Law Firm, P.C., in Atlanta, we have been representing clients throughout the state of Georgia since 1988 and are dedicated to achieving the best possible results for couples facing tax problems. Led by attorney and CPA Jeffrey Gartzman, our firm uses years of experience and in-depth tax legal and financial knowledge to reclaim unfairly captured refunds for our clients.
IRS Injured Spouse Claims
Relief from joint and several liability should not be confused with an injured spouse claim. You are an “injured spouse” if you file a joint return and all or part of your share of the refund was, or will be, applied against the separate past-due federal tax, state tax, child support or federal non-tax debt (such as a student loan) of your spouse with whom you filed the joint return. If you are an injured spouse, you may be entitled to recoup your share of the refund.
Contact an Atlanta IRS Innocent Spouse Relief Attorney
Knowing your rights as a spouse is the first step. Get the answers you need to help resolve IRS or state tax problems, find tax relief and settle tax debt. Contact The Gartzman Law Firm, P.C., today, your IRS Tax Relief Team. We aim for success in representation in avoiding unnecessary taxation, handling your appeal or settling your tax debt. Our goal is to settle your tax matter for the lowest amount possible while remaining in full compliance with the tax laws.