Innocent Spouse Relief

Taxpayers often find themselves in trouble with serious IRS or state tax problems because of the actions of their current or former spouse. The IRS realizes that these situations do in fact occur and therefore offer Innocent Spouse Relief and other spousal relief programs.

What is Innocent Spouse Relief?

In order to help taxpayers that are being subjected to tax problems because of their current or former spouse’s actions, the IRS has allowed for different types of spousal relief. This means that if your situation fits within the guidelines, you may not be responsible for the tax problems caused by your current or former spouse.

Innocent Spouse is one of the 3 available IRS Spousal Relief programs. Innocent Spouse Relief is a common term used when you owe taxes because you filed jointly with a spouse, and that spouse underreported their tax on your joint return. While it is a common term, there are different rules and results for each Spousal Relief program that could fit the best for you.


What are the Spousal Relief rules?

There are 3 different types of relief available to you if you have outstanding tax issues because of your current or former spouse.

Innocent Spouse Relief

  • Applies when there is an understatement of tax due to a spouse’s unreported income or incorrect deduction, credit, or basis. As a result, the innocent spouse may not owe the additional tax.

Relief by Separation of Liability

  • Applies when there is an understatement of tax on the joint tax return. As a result, the understatement of tax is allocated between the spouses.

Equitable Relief

  • Can be used if you do not qualify for Innocent Spouse, Relief by Separation of Liability, or if you have tax liability arising from community property law. Applies when there is an understatement or underpayment of tax. As a result, the Equitable Relief can provide relief from owing the additional tax or paying the tax liability.

Innocent Spouse and other Spousal Relief programs can be difficult to navigate on your own. Call us at (855) 529-3214 to see if any of the above Spousal Tax Relief is applicable for your situation.


If you meet certain criteria for Spousal Relief, you may qualify for relief from liability arising from community property law. You will need to speak to a licensed tax professional to determine if you qualify.

Innocent Spouse relief must be filed within 2 years from the first IRS attempt to collect the tax. Equitable Relief must be filed within the Collection Statute Expiration Date or Refund Statute Expiration Date, depending on the type of relief requested.

Yes, by law they are required to notify the other party once you file your relief request.