Many married taxpayers choose to file a joint income tax revenues due to certain benefits this filing status of the declaration gives the taxpayer. By filing a joint return, both taxpayers are jointly and severally liable for such taxes and any tax, interest or additional penalties resulting from the joint statement, even if subsequently divorced.
What does joint and several liability mean for taxes?
The joint and several liability means that each taxpayer is legally responsible for any taxes owed.Therefore, both partners usually are held responsible for any taxes owed, even if one spouse earned all income or improperly claimed deductions or credits. This is also true even if a divorce decree states that a former spouse will be responsible for the entire amount owed on previously filed joint returns. In some cases, however, a spouse can get relief from this joint and several liability.
There are currently three types of relief joint and several liability for spouses joint statements:
- Innocent Spouse Relief provides you relief in situations that have assessed additional taxes if your spouse or former spouse stated income, stated incorrectly or improperly claimed deductions or credits.
- Relief for Separation of Duty owed additional taxes prorated between you and your former spouse, or current spouse from whom you are separated because some item was not declared correctly in the joint statement. The amount of taxes that is assigned to you is the amount of which you are responsible.
- Equitable Relief may apply if you do not qualify for innocent spouse relief or separation of liability due to any stated incorrectly in the joint statement and is generally attributable to your spouse heading. You might also qualify for equitable relief if declared the correct amount of tax on the joint return, but no tax is paid with the statement.
Requesting Innocent Spouse Relief
Note: You must request innocent spouse relief or relief of separation required no later than 2 years after the date the IRS first attempted charge you taxes owed. For equitable relief, you have to apply for relief during the time the IRS has to charge you the tax.
How to Request Innocent Spouse Relief
If you wish to request a refund of the tax paid, then your application must be made within the period of time that is given to you to claim a refund, which is generally three years after the date on which the statement or two presents years after payment of the tax, whichever is later. To see additional restrictions on redemptions available under the innocent spouse relief, equitable relief, and based on the laws of relief community property, see Publication 971, Innocent Spouse Relief (Innocent Spouse Relief) in English . No refunds are available under the relief by separation of liability.