If your spouse owes taxes, there are two types of relief considered: innocent spouse and injured spouse tax relief. Innocent spouse relief may free you from the responsibilities of paying taxes, interest, and penalties if your spouse made mistakes or improperly reported items on your joint tax return. Injured spouse relief may be available if your spouse is responsible for past due federal or state tax, or child or spousal support.
To be considered for injured spouse relief, your reported tax payments must have been made. There are also applicable laws, depending on whether you live in a community property state. You may also be entitled to a tax refund if you’re not responsible for your spouse’s debt. No doubt, there are numerous forms to consider, all rather complex.
There is also a factor of needing to file within a certain time period after the first collection activity to qualify for innocent or injured spouse tax relief. Collection activity would of course refer to the IRS’s attempt to collect your taxes. This could include the filing of a tax lien, or a notification that a portion of your refund has been held back, etc. The reality is that the only way to navigate the IRS tax maze and to understand where you stand is to hire a qualified tax attorney.