How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Richard Your Own Question
Richard, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 55459
Experience:  Attorney with 29 years of experience.
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Richard is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

This is a tax law question: I would like to know how if I qualify

Customer Question

This is a tax law question: I would like to know how if I qualify for innocent spouse and what steps I need to take to protect myself? I'm currently in a divorce and my husband filed for divorce and our only source of income was our company that he controls. He left on March 2011 and filed for divorce on Jan 2012. I've learned he has threats of a lien on the company for 2012 payroll taxes by the IRS and is in the process of working out a repayment. What concerns me most is our personal taxes for 2010 and 2011. I believe he filed both married/joint though we were not together and I see he has forged my signature on both. I need counsel on how to proceed because we owe approx. $20,000.00 personal taxes and he owes approx. $145,000. payroll.
I'd like to note I was locked out of the company early 2011 and he filed 2010 with an extension. I look forward to your response and help. I'm desperate and our court date for getting all of our divorce settled before a judge is Oct. 10th. My Ex is playing hard ball and has full control of the company and the only source of income to pay for an Attorney. I'm living with family to make it and what little spousal support he's given me, he decreased claiming poor (IRS) $1,800.00 thereby putting him in contempt and that too will be dealt with on Oct. 10th. Thank you, XXXXX
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Richard replied 3 years ago.
Hi Cindy! My name is Richard and I look forward to helping you!

To qualify for innocent spouse relief, the IRS requires that you must meet all of the following conditions: 1) You must have filed a joint return which has an understatement of tax; 2) The understatement of tax must be due to erroneous items of your spouse; 3) You must establish that at the time you signed the joint return, you did not know, and had no reason to know, that there was an understatement of tax; 4) Taking into account all of the facts and circumstances, it would be unfair to hold you liable for the understatement of tax; and 5_ You must request relief within 2 years after the date on which the IRS first began collection activity against you after July 22, 1998. Given your fact narrative, you would be a very good candidate for the innocent spouse rule.

To apply for innocent spouse relief, you will need to file Form 8857 with the IRS. You should file Form 8857 as soon as you become aware of a tax liability for which you believe only your spouse or former spouse should be held. The IRS determines that you become aware of such a liability when: 1) The IRS is examining your tax return and proposing to increase your tax liability. 2) The IRS sends you a notice.
You generally must file Form 8857 no later than 2 years after the first IRS attempt to collect the tax from you that occurs after July 22, 1998.

You can find a good summary of the frequent Q&A's regarding the innocent spouse rule at the following IRS website:

Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which fully addresses your question. If have any follow up questions, please ask! If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service as OK, Good or Excellent (hopefully Good or Excellent). I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!